Forged under the pressure of the Second World War, the Five Eyes has linked together the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, Canada and New Zealand in unprecedented cooperation on intelligence sharing. The current international security backdrop, however, remains particularly salient in terms of great-power competition from authoritarian powers seeking to challenge the US-led liberal international order. For the Five Eyes to strengthen its security resilience, enhanced intelligence cooperation and alliance expansion will be vital to effectively thwart the malign behaviour of rogue powers on the international stage.
Australia has just become part of something momentous in the Indo-Pacific: a maritime super-region at the epicentre of strategic competition between the United States and China. The new tripartite security grouping between Australia, the UK and the US, called AUKUS, deepens the long-standing relationship between three of the world’s most multicultural democracies. While the creation of the newly-formed AUKUS is a significant development in the geopolitical environment of the Indo-Pacific, adding more power will be vital in building a balance against China’s power.
50 years after the then UK defence secretary Denis Healey announced Britain’s retreat from the Indo-Pacific in 1968, the UK is once again drawn into the geoeconomic and geostrategic challenges of the maritime region. This desire to extend Britain’s strategic horizon was accelerated by the vote to leave the EU in 2016. In particular, the decision to leave the European single market has forced Downing Street to strengthen its trading relationships with partners beyond the EU – a considerable number of which reside in the Indo-Pacific region.