Tuesday 16 December 2014

Sitting On Our Hands

"We Nailed It!" New Zealand's representative to the United Nations, Jim McClay, takes a moment as his country's election to the UN Security Council is announced. Prime Minister Key told reporters that New Zealand got there on the strength of its reputation for being "someone that stands up for what's right". Why then did we, just a few weeks later, refuse to support a resolution condemning neo-Nazism?
NEW ZEALANDERS experienced a justifiable surge of national pride when their country was elected to the United Nations Security Council. New Zealand’s UN ambassador (and former Deputy Prime Minister) Jim McClay buried his face in his hands with heartfelt relief. Our foreign minister, Murray McCully, exclaimed “We nailed it!”
Speaking outside his Parnell residence, a clearly delighted Prime Minister told reporters that: “It’s a very good result. There’s a lot of responsibility over the next two years. I think it will be quite a challenging time to be on the Security Council. There are some very big issues – as we see in the Middle East at the moment – and it will be a demanding time for New Zealand.
Commenting on the outstanding success of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s six-year-long campaign, Mr Key observed: “We put on display the credentials of New Zealand. Which is seen as an honest broker. Someone who stands up for what’s right.”
That’s certainly how most Kiwis regard their country. From the very beginnings of the United Nations, New Zealand has stood up for the rights of smaller countries. We made ourselves their champion in the unsuccessful fight to locate the international organisation’s ultimate authority in the General Assembly.
In the aftermath of the most destructive war in human history, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, argued passionately (but unavailingly) against vesting veto power in the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. He had more success in ensuring that economic and social rights were included alongside civil and political rights in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Why then did New Zealand, the “honest broker”; the country which always “stands up for what’s right”; fail to support a resolution sponsored by the Russian Federation condemning the “glorification of Nazism” and declaring the “inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”?
If ever there was a “no brainer” for New Zealand diplomacy – this was it. Who on earth, apart from the extremist political hoodlums it identifies, could fail to support such a resolution?
Well, apparently, we could. When the Russian Federation’s resolution was put to the General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee on 26 November 2014, New Zealand, along with 56 other UN members, abstained. Included among the abstainers were every member of the European Union (EU). Not even Germany, Nazism’s birthplace and the nation state responsible for the most horrific manifestations of race hatred in human history, was prepared to join the 120 other UN members who voted in favour of the resolution.
Only three UN members could be found among neither the supporters nor the abstainers. Canada, Ukraine and the United States of America had voted against the resolution.
Why? What could possibly persuade the democratic nations of Europe, North America and Australasia to refrain from declaring their alarm at “the spread in many parts of the world of various extremist political parties, movements and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups, as well as similar extremist ideological movements”? Or, for that matter, from expressing deep concern at “all recent manifestations of violence and terrorism incited by violent nationalism, racism, xenophobia and related intolerance”?
Beating The Tin Drum: Members of the Patriot of the Ukraine party marching to the beat of a neo-Nazi revival in Eastern Europe that New Zealand refuses to condemn.
The answer, of course, is to be found in the well-documented involvement of the US State Department and the governments of the EU in the February 2014 overthrow, by armed neo-Nazi demonstrators, of the democratically-elected government of Ukraine. That both the USA and the EU were prepared to recognise, for the first time since World War II, a European government which included openly fascist and neo-Nazi politicians, rendered support for the Russian Federation’s resolution diplomatically implausible.
Accordingly, the Western democracies argued strongly that supporting the Russian Federation’s resolution would be tantamount to endorsing the latter’s annexation of Crimea, and ignoring its ongoing military and economic support for the breakaway Russian-speaking provinces of Eastern Ukraine.
Utter foolishness.
President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is prey to the very same fascistic and neo-Nazi forces that its UN anti-racist resolution condemns. The uncomplicated endorsement of its content would, therefore, have allowed the democratic countries to serve notice on both the Russian Federation and Ukraine that violent racist xenophobia remains totally unacceptable to the United Nations’ membership.
Sadly, the United States refused to tolerate even implied criticism of its hard-won Ukrainian protectorate. Canada cravenly concurred. And the EU, rather than alienate the Americans, abstained.
As an “honest broker” who “always stands up for what’s right”, New Zealand was gifted an early opportunity to show the 145 UN members who voted for her that their support had not been misplaced. Reminding the world of Nazism’s 20 million Russian victims, and reconfirming its unalterably evil nature would, surely, have done more for international understanding – and our reputation – than sitting on our hands?
This essay was originally published by The Press of Tuesday, 16 December 2014.


jh said...

NEW ZEALANDERS experienced a justifiable surge of national pride when their country was elected to the United Nations Security Council.
I just yawned.

jh said...

Those neonazi groups aren't the issue, they are just a minority. The issue is that a largish chunk of society are concerned about their national identity.
Socialists have been mad keen to dissolve national identity believing we are all the same under our skin and that racism and a bias for our in-group is learned.
In NZ The immigration policy review in 1986 was part of a much larger
agenda for change in New Zealand (Bedford 1996). It was not essentially a change in state policy with a primary focus on one region of the world, as Parr (2000:329) suggests, although clearly through the 1980s and 1990s immigration from countries in Asia was a highly topical issue for both politicians and the public. The attitudes of New Zealanders in the mid-1990s towards immigration may not have reflected the positive perspective on the value of diversity in our society that is contained in the Review of Immigration Policy August 1986. But this does not mean that the globalisation of immigration to New Zealand was an “unintended consequence of policy changes in 1986”. It was a deliberate strategy, based on a premise that the
“infusion of new elements to New Zealand life has been of immense value to the development of this country to date and will, as a result of this
Government’s review of immigration policy, become even more important in
the future” (Burke 1986:330).
The data on arrivals, departures, approvals, refugee flows and net migration gains and losses reported in this paper indicates that “the infusion of new elements” into New Zealand society is proceeding apace. There is no suggestion in immigration policy in 2002 that this will not “become even more important in the future”, as Burke (1986) assumed in the mid-1980s.

The Globalisation of International Migration
in New Zealand: Contribution to a Debate

jh said...

The ideology of multiculturalism (popular amongst progressives) holds that people no longer need assimilate and that no culture should dominate. a respondent on Public Address lamented: "The reality is that in NZ, the hegemony of Anglo Saxon culture refuses to die."

aj said...

I had been waiting for any media comment on our abstension in this matter, and I thank you Chris for such clarity of thought.
Our government will only have two rules for New Zealand's stance while on the Security Council.
1/ Do not upset the USA
2/ Go to Rule 1

Don Robertson said...

What is it worth the lefts sport of Putin? Is it just old habits refuse to die? Like turning a blind eye to Russian persecution its own citizens -such as gays and the non-religious - and it's expansionist policies? Is it a habit that's too hard to break?

The enemy of your enemy isn't always your friend, and if you are reduced to using Putin to support of your views on, I would suggest you need to take a closer look at your position.

David said...

I was really hoping we wouldn't get the seat, given the government we have. I felt it would only work against our long term interests.
On the other hand, it is bringing the international community up to speed with the fact that we are not an independent liberal country as they all suppose we are (and we like to think we are) but actually a conservative right wing country.

Jamie said...

Het Trotter it's worse than that.

Have you seen the movement with oil prices???

Check it Brotha


We are already well down the road to WW3

Jamie said...

"Pakistan has begun three days of mourning for the 132 children and nine school staff massacred by the Taliban in the country’s deadliest ever terror attack"


You're a smart cookie Trotter

Read the reports and put the pieces of the puzzle together

NZ has work to do!!!

I fear NZ and the world in its current state of weakness, corruption and apathy will fail


Jamie said...

"What is it worth the lefts sport of Putin? Is it just old habits refuse to die? Like turning a blind eye to Russian persecution its own citizens -such as gays and the non-religious - and it's expansionist policies? Is it a habit that's too hard to break"
Don Robertson

I don't for one second think Putin has forgotten the many insults of his Sochi Games - remember the MSM beat-up over the toothpaste bombs


Or the murky business happening in the Ukraine.

Food for thought...

I am not talking up Putin, but you do not make it to the top of the Russian system without possessing certain qualities

Jamie said...

***Do Not Publish***


Starring John Key as Monterro


The best I can do - Time is of the essence!!!

I got your back all the way Brotha

Jamie said...


Victor said...


I confess to feeling conflicted over this issue.

The resolution’s text is unexceptional and all the points it makes are valid and correct.

Yet there’s more than the usual whiff of hypocrisy surrounding its sponsors, which include not just nationalist, authoritarian Russia, which has strident ethnophobes in very high places, but also such dubious exemplars of humanitarian values as North Korea, Belarus, Syria and Sudan.

The whiff becomes something closer to a stench when you consider the Russian Federation’s current role as friend, inspiration, sponsor and sometime funder of hard right, racist and fascist movements across Europe.

Putin’s mutual admiration society with Marine Le Pen is just one comparatively mild example of this phenomenon. Marine, you might recall, has hailed the Karate Kid from St Petersburg as a defender of “the Christian heritage of European Civilization”!

But Moscow’s friends also include the openly Neo-Nazi “Golden Dawn” movement in Greece, Jobbik’s strutting wannabe “Arrow Cross” revivalists in Hungary (the country’s third largest political party!), the now toned-down but still hard right Vlaams Belang in Belgium, the tendentiously misnamed Austrian Freedom Party, Bulgarian ultranationalists, Serb irredentists etc. etc.

I’m not sure whether or not to include Nigel Farage, chortling over his pint of Bitter, amongst this noxiously merry band. But he’s certainly amongst Putin’s admirers, as is both that latter-day, would-be Duce, Silvio Berlusconi, and the pigment-obsessed Northern League.

Does all this matter? I think it does because the rise of nationalism, ethno-centrism and EU-rejectionism across Europe matters.

For all its manifold faults, the EU remains a uniquely free, enlightened, democratic, socially responsible and environmentally conscious community of nations. The world would be a poorer and more dangerous place if, under the stress of economic dysfunction, Europe now reverted to a morass of competing nationalisms and if authoritarianism, racism and homophobia became part of the mainstream there, as they have become n Russia.

Yes, I can hear you say, granted all that but why not vote for this resolution and then use it to hold Russia to account? Well, the fact is that motions of this sort are a regular occurrence at the committee in question. And, thus far, they’ve had zilch impact on Russian policies and alignments, either at home, in the “near abroad” or anywhere else.

.....more to come

Victor said...

.....concluding previous post

“But”, I can also hear you demand, “what about the involvement of Fascist groups in the Maidan rising and its aftermath and what about US and EU involvement in these events?”

Well the Ukrainian hard right, although still uncomfortably prominent, lost ground in both the presidential and parliamentary elections. Moreover, Ukrainian Fascism might be a threat to the country’s large Russophone minority. But it doesn’t, as far as I can make out, threaten anyone outside Ukraine’s internationally-recognised boundaries.

In contrast, Russia is increasingly acting as godfather to a range of dangerous hard right movements, with which it shares a remarkable synergy of values and antipathies. In addition, of course, two wrongs have never made a right.

Meanwhile, I agree with you that the US and EU have behaved irresponsibly over the Ukraine, have ignored constitutional propriety and have helped stoke what looks increasingly and incredibly like a new Cold War.

But, to my mind, western actions in this particular corner of the globe pall into insignificance compared to the forcible alteration of frontiers in blatant disregard of the UN’s Charter.

Again, it’s Russia’s actions that are reminiscent of some of the earlier foreign adventures of Hitler and Mussolini, adding to the sensation of its overwhelming hypocrisy with respect to this resolution. Not that other nations (and least of all the United States)have been strangers to hypocrisy these last several years.

May I add that I write as a pronounced Russophile, who is always mindful of the horrendous sacrifices of the Russian people and of the Soviet armed forces in the great struggle against Fascism.

I most earnestly hope that 2015 brings all the parties back to their senses and an end to the ongoing carnage in Ukraine’s eastern borderlands.

Davo Stevens said...

I agree in the most part Victor. It was Russia that won WW II not the western Allies. They did so at a terrible cost too, 20 million died as a result.

The up-rising in Kiev would not have happened if the Ukrainians were not so pissed off with all the corruption of the Yanukovich bunch. An example, not reported here but was in the Ukrainian news, that $15 million was sent from Kiev to Donetsk to upgrade the coal mine there and not one dollar arrived, it was all milked off by Yanukovich's mates.

The CIA poured millions of $'s into the Right Sector and Svoboda to stir up the trouble in Maidan. They were the ones who were shooting at the Police not the ordinary Ukrainians.

Remember you can not trust the Yanks, they lie, they cheat and they never keep a deal.

Roger Annis said...

Thanks for this important article. Here is my view on the UN vote from a North American perspective: http://rogerannis.com/western-media-turns-blind-eye-to-shameful-vote-at-un-on-nazism-by-u-s-canada-and-europe/. And there is a new website devoted to news and analysis of Ukraine: http://newcoldwar.org/.

Roger Annis
Vancouver, Canada

Roger Annis said...

Regarding Russia's exagerated relations to the far right parties in Europe: http://newcoldwar.org/european-far-right-really-acting-russias-trojan-horse-european-union/

Robert Miles said...

The NZ Foreign Affairs department or MFAT is an unrepresentative elite in its personel, lifestyle and views, completely unrepresentative of New Zealand. The attitude of MFAT is everybody kicks together and theres no room for dissent or nonconformity in the academic community or media. NZ universities and law schools have had to restrict their studies and students so they not conflict with MFATs operational interests.
The actual truth is there is a very ugly side of MFAT which is closely linked to the security services, and I feel myself to be very much the victim as the chosen wipping horse to blame for the anti nuclear policy which was in truth very much the work of Ms Clark and her own group. Helen Clark alone created the anti nuclear policy and always intended to drive the wedge, it was not something she chanced on at the time, and exploited as the only left wing issue available to her. Since quite early in her student days Clark was a devoted anti nuclear anti Anzus person with strong links to the Soviets. These defence related issues were her main preoccupation since about 1972. I just happened to write a few reasonably accurate articles for NZIIA, NBR and the Timaru Herald in 1983-5 which pointed out that nuclear weapons were the basis of anti submarine defence for the USN and RN while simply banning nuclear powered ships would remove the visits of strategic relations vessels like nuclear hunter killer subs which hunt ballistic missiles subs and strike aircraft carriers which carry a large arsenal of nuclear weapons. Even the older steam power aircraft carriers in the case of the USN visitors to NZ the Intrepid, Shangri La and USS America ( Nat Library video showing the sailors of the USS America in Wellington bars in 1968) each carried 100-200 nuclear weapons. THe Enterprise tried to enter Wellington Harbour in 1964 but thought better of it and entertained the Cabinet off Kapiti Island although its nuclear powered orphan escort Long Beach and Bainbridge as usual tied up in Wellington for r and r. Inconvinently I pointed out that the US had stopped building nuclear cruisers and frigates in around 1980 and scrapped them at the end of the Cold War as too expensive. Imagine if the USS Cole had been nuclear powered when the terrorists mined it and rammed it. My own view and also that of Hyman Rickover is that nuclear power is very dangerous and only remotely safe with high quality crew or employees. Nuclear weapons remain necessary given the posture of Putin who still has a couple of nuclear powered battlecruisers and our numerical inferiority to China.
It has always been claimed that 'impassioned' nuclear activists misled Ms Clark into her nuclear activism. I have never actually been introduced to Clark and we have done nothing more than exchange a few letters, make a few phone calls and ask a question. I simply sent a few copies of early articles, and USN Proceedings papers on nuclear armament and a couple of Bear Class cutters, which I guess she concluded might be more useful than the Anzac frigates which she concluded would thereby be the better choice to fly the flag.In other words the Anzacs would waste a lot of defence budget and be too slow noisy and ill fitted to endanger anything.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Jesus Robert, I hope the letters you sent to the various newspapers about the nuclear ban were a bit better in the spelling and grammar Department than this one. It's now some years since we began the nuclear ban, and can you point to any particular evil that it has caused? Apart from the bar owners and prostitutes collective perhaps being a little out of pocket. The point is, as I pointed out some years ago in a letter to a newspaper, that the U.S. would defend New Zealand if it was in its interests to do so. Whether we wanted it or not :-). And if it wasn't in America's interest to do so, then they wouldn't. As Charles de Gaulle (and for that matter Lord Palmerston said about England) once said "France has no friends only interests." And we've certainly seen the result of that.

Oh God, criticising your grammar yet mine is not exactly brilliant. Oh well no time to change it now. :-)

Robert said...

Actually Guerilla they were paid articles, I think the rate for an article for the NBR in the 1980s and 1990s was about $250 an article which is all Matthew Hooton gets now for his missives,and I wrote about 30 for them.
With the UN their is a certain consistency in that they supported Mugabe and the Ukraine independent state because fair assessment of the votes and the population was that was the democratic verdict. For myself I'm not sure the democratic verdict is always correct, because in realpolitick terms I'm sceptical if its the right think to stand up to Putin unless he goes furthur than Ukraine, which had the bases and industry that the core of Soviet naval power and Im not sure it was right to judge Russia divisible to that extent and also because of pure democracy prevailed Auckland would just be a police state.
Also the articles in 83-85 I wrote for even the Timaru Herald in 1983- 86 as well as the NBR were paid articles which attracted worldwide interest. Some of them were rewritten by my mother and the editors of the TH and NBR probably three or four individuals with IQs of 134 because my syntax was shoddy but they conveyed exactly the view and angle I wanted. You should ask Micheal Vance and Barry Appelby they expected the articles while interesting but would pass without note, in fact they got a response from the Navies and Intelligence services allaround the globe, within a couple of days.
Dont get me wrong Im all for Jeb and Condi, I just dont think Czecoslovakia in 1938 or the Ukraine in 2014 were where you were justified in starting a war. Hitler went too far in March 1939.
My issue with Helen Clark is much the same as Roger Kerrs, I just couldnt believe she actually wanted to lower the standard of admission to the Police, Military and Nursing. I sort wanted an elite US Coastguard, I couldnt believe she was so stupid as to want to militarise ordinary men and that she wanted a large army and 105 lavs. I thought that was all politics. I couldnt believe she actually wanted a huge army. I just couldnt believe than women was so stupid.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Okay Jamie, I'll bite – give me a title or 2 and I'll read them. I'm pretty sure I have access.

aberfoyle said...

Its the narrative of our P.M.that those Kiwi humanitarians should be sceptical about 'we have shown we are a honet broker"or the other gem,"Murry,will ensure that they are more productive".

Both comments, board room speak that our present governance has placed its governance over us,no room for compassion only hard line retrenching our social services that do not show a return for the debt borrowed of shore.