Saturday 21 July 2018

Balancing Fake American Friends Against Real Chinese Interests.

Interesting Times: Henry Kissinger warned that the United States had no friends – only interests. Attempting to curry America’s friendship at the expense of New Zealand’s vital interest in preserving productive diplomatic and economic relationships with China is exceptionally poor foreign policy.

WHAT HAS CHINA DONE to warrant such a public and insulting shift in the tone of New Zealand diplomacy? Well, according to our foreign and defence ministries, she has outstripped New Zealand and Australia in the delivery of aid and investment to the nations of the South Pacific. A heinous crime, obviously. But that is not all China has done. In the South China Sea she has reclaimed land, constructed an airfield and built other facilities on islands she has long claimed as her own. Outrageous!

It is on account of these “crimes” that New Zealand’s hitherto excellent diplomatic relationship with the Peoples Republic of China has been put at risk. Diplomacy is not, however, the only relationship facing disruption. The Labour-NZF coalition government is also testing the tolerance of New Zealand’s largest trading partner. (That’s China by the way.)

Putting at risk their country’s diplomatic and economic relationship with the rising global power. What (or who) could have persuaded our Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, to behave in so reckless a fashion? Were Federated Farmers, whose members’ primary products are exported mostly to China, consulted prior to the release of New Zealand’s new defence strategy? Were the importers of the goods that make it possible for New Zealand’s notoriously low-paid workers to make ends meet? Were the unions who represent those workers? Doubtful.

What may be speculated upon with considerably more confidence is that the dramatic disruption of New Zealand-Chinese relations has be executed at the behest of the Australians. And, since Canberra does nothing without first seeking the approval of its masters in Washington, this disruption is American-inspired.

Ah, yes, the Americans. The people who have, in the 73 years since the end of World War II, twice dispatched combat troops to the mainland of East Asia (Korea and Vietnam). The people whose military bases extend in a great arc from the Bering Sea to the tiny Pacific island of Guam. Inherited from the Empire of Japan, these bases are situated not hundreds, but thousands, of miles from the continental United States.

Are these island bases stacked high with the most deadly military hardware available to humankind? Of course they are! Much higher than China’s. That being the case, does the Government’s defence white paper raise objections to the USA’s imperialistic power-projection into New Zealand’s Pacific backyard? Does it complain that the East and South China Seas are provocatively patrolled by American aircraft carriers and their accompanying support vessels? No, of course it doesn’t!

And we all know the reason why – don’t we? Because, between 1945 and 1985, New Zealand had been perfectly content to attach itself to the meanest sonofabitch in the imperial valley – the United States. Unsurprising, really, since before World War II we had been the willing colonial accomplices of that other mean imperial sonofabitch, Great Britain. In both instances, our entire defence force was configured to fit seamlessly into our imperial masters’ war machines. New Zealand diplomacy, throughout the period of the Cold War, amounted essentially to asking the Americans exactly how high they would like us to jump.

Then along came David Lange, who took issue with the uranium on America’s breath; and Helen Clark, who looked at China’s expanding middle class and persuaded its government to open China’s borders to the finest agricultural produce on the planet.

And it’s just as well she did. Otherwise, when the global financial crisis struck in 2008, New Zealand’s economy would have suffered much more acutely than it did. Indeed, had the Chinese government not embarked on the most colossal stimulatory spending programme in human history, the entire global economy would probably have collapsed.

That China is being repaid by being vilified and attacked by a faltering American empire and its risible “deputy-sheriff”, Australia, is bad enough. That the New Zealand government is lending its support to this dangerous reassertion of old and bad ideas is unforgiveable. How many tons of milk powder are the Americans offering to take off our hands? How many affordable products can we expect from Uncle Sam’s American-based factories?

Henry Kissinger warned that the United States had no friends – only interests. Attempting to curry America’s friendship at the expense of New Zealand’s vital interest in preserving productive diplomatic and economic relationships with China is exceptionally poor foreign policy.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 20 July 2018.


John Hurley said...

The issue here is nationalism and national identity. On RNZ's Smart Talk at the Auckland Museum - Immigration Noelle McCarthy notes to the grovelling panel of sycophants that a talk back host (Mark Sainsbury) can have a full board all afternoon if the issue is a Chinese person buying a significant asset.

This is the view that it doesn't matter; that it is small minded to worry that "Chinese are buying up this and that", after all we are all citizens of the world.

Except that there is a risk in that. The risk is that while we identify as world citizens they don't.

The left detest evolutionary psychology (Chris said it was based on "just so stories"). Ethnocentrism works with a release of oxytocin, it has been shown over and over in computer modelling to be the dominant group adaptive strategy (not mindless altruism). The Chinese are very ethnocentric. We are constantly reminded about our poll taxes but when (on any of our mainstream networks) has anyone heard that it is virtually impossible to become a Chinese citizen. A mere 1848 in the 2010 census.

In fact the Chinese have an internet insult baizuo (白左) = the white left. "Hypocritical humanitarians who think they are better than everyone else"; "white saviour"; "holy mother" - Merkel; "no experience of the real world"

Anonymous said...

When you are right you are very very right but when you are wrong you are very very wrong.

The "imperialist history" of the West is now another tool in an ancient trade war and you are using it.

There may be some truth to what you write but to deny that other powers will not act in exactly the same ways as Western ones is the ultimate arrogance, a bizarre setting apart of Western states into their own category casting every other non-Western state as relatively innocent (sick? less powerful? more naiive?).

It is well-intentioned but wrong and that will be seen in time. Whatever you think of the West's "crimes" no other non-Western state will look after the interests of the West if Western states do not themselves look after their own interests.

Sanctuary said...

The Butchers of Beijing, with their casual disregard for the value of human life, Orwellian authoritarianism and dismissal of the rule of law are not welcome in our sphere of influence. The sooner the ANZAC powers establish our own version of the Munroe doctrine in the South Pacific the safer we will be.

Geoff Fischer said...

"'Sanctuary' said: The sooner the ANZAC powers establish our own version of the Munroe doctrine in the South Pacific the safer we will be."
The ANZAC powers? Meaning that the Realm of New Zealand is going to tell all world powers to stay out of the South Pacific, and dictate the foreign policy of Fiji, PNG and all the other South Pacific states? Has the "New Zealand intelligence community" finally lost its marbles? Is the Labour/NZ First government mad enough to entertain this sort of nonsense?

Exkiwiforces said...

I fully agree with your comments Sanctuary and this comment from Peter Jennings from Australian as well-

“We need to accept that Australia can lead or lose the Pacific Island States. We are losing to an influx of Chinese money that is aimed at corrupting elites. In return for residency rights we should look to formalise our role as the defence and security guarantor of Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu and other microstates. That will mean stationing Navy Patrol vessels in some locations and lifting our active defence presence.
If we don’t acknowledge the reality that the Pacific is uniquely our security challenge, the region will turn into a de facto Chinese lake with the decade.”

This is so true for NZ as well in which we now realising what is happening in our backyard. We should worrying about the bloody Middle East Region.

Nick J said...

Sanctuary, it's a fine idea to have a version of the Monroe doctrine here, there are two issues I see that preclude it currently. First is the 5 eyes arrangement that ties us to the U.S. intelligence community, I doubt the buggers will let us go without serious resistance. Second is our uncertain relationship with Australia, we are no longer culturally homogeneous, nor do we have greatly aligned interests. That's more of a concern for us as they would be the senior partner. Still, times change, who can predict the future?

David Stone said...

@ John Hurley
But we are so large and they are so insignificant in comparison. We can afford the largess of allowing them complete access to our land and resources irrespective of the fact that they don't reciprocate. Where is your spirit of generosity?

Geoff Fischer said...

John Hurley: "The issue here is nationalism and national identity." Actually that is the issue that we are missing. Or should I say that is the issue that is being missed by the generally anonymous commenters who are adding their two cents worth to the security chiefs' anti-China campaign.
They are rarely forthcoming about what "nationalism" and "national identity" actually means for them, but I suspect that for most it means the preservation of an oppressive, murderous, duplicitous British colonial regime beholden to the British monarchy and serving as a client state to the Anglo-Saxon regional and global powers.
That is all very well (or not, depending on one's point of view) except for the fact that the Anglo-centric New Zealand "nationalism" (British race nationalism) of the twentieth century has become unsustainable. Colonialism, and its alter ego imperialism, rely on the mass movement of peoples and resources across national boundaries to achieve their economic, political and military objectives. The colonial regime in New Zealand now depends on Chinese to sustain its property market and to fund infrastructure. It needs Indians to staff central and local government services, retail and service industries, and Filipinos, Pacific Islanders and others to work its orchards and dairy farms.
If the security chiefs succeed in drawing the regime into a US led showdown with the PRC there will inevitably be domestic consequences. The already extreme social inequalities under the colonial regime will be aggravated as economic tensions are heightened, and racial enmities will be re-asserted. I will not tolerate such a state of affairs, not least because I have Chinese and Indian as well as Pakeha mokopuna who play together, go to school together and are growing up to become young men and women together. My advice to the regime and its security chiefs is that they themselves should show respect for human life, abandon their Orwellian schemes, and follow the rule of law. If they force matters there will come a point where we, the peoples of Aotearoa, can no longer tolerate the prolongation of a regime which had no right to be here in the first place.

Unknown said...

I doubt that David Lange believed in nuclear free New Zealand. I suspect the anti-nuclear legislation was to distract the left-luvvies while Roger Douglas and his mates took a chainsaw to the New Zealand economy. Worked a charm.
Also I don't think that old codger Keith Holyoake gets enough credit for the way he handled insistent American requests for NZ military support in Vietnam. Give then f**k all to start with and gradually give them a bit more of f**k all.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"It needs Indians to staff central and local government services, retail and service industries, and Filipinos, Pacific Islanders and others to work its orchards and dairy farms."

No actually it doesn't. If there is a shortage of labour, wages should rise until people take up the jobs. This doesn't seem to work in New Zealand, because we simply import cheap labour instead. Of my son's friends, the only ones that are working in the area that they are qualified for are builders and him sort of. Some of the rest have been squeezed out by imported labour. Including many of his classmates who got IT qualifications. I don't care where they come from, it's the effect on the labour market here that pisses me off. If arguably – the government's job is to look after its citizens, they shouldn't be importing labour until we have a labour shortage. And there should be none of this fucking excuse about they can't afford to raise wages. But a lot of business people don't seem to realise is that the more we raise wages, the more people will buy their stuff. Not to mention as I have so frequently said on these pages, years ago we were promised a high wage high skill economy. Not one where we import skilled workers from overseas instead of training and employing our own.

greywarbler said...

@John Hurley
The main issue is that the rest of the world including China is large and we are small, and still in our depleted condition, precious. Naturally we have to watch out for large numbers of nouveau riche doing the intelligent thing and buying up pieces of the world while the money is still good.
But we are poorer in the end. Those who sell up to foreigners and even new immigrants may not invest the money in NZ, which is getting too poor to buy houses from our own people because of the upward price push from foreigners. It is not racism per se, it is just noticeable who looks Chinese and who doesn't. If the wealthy coming here and spending on housing dressed like Goths, we would be talking about those Goth immigrants.

sumsuch said...

The most important matter is climate change, the shit hitting the fan in 15 (likely) to 30 years. Worth 9 out of 10 columns. By which democracy would grow stronger by implication. Your budget responsibility rules articles I'll allow because of their democratic virtue. Your not coming in behind strike action beyond this govt's self-imposed budgetary limits, why? Where-else will the overthrow of the rule of the rich from '84 come from except on the streets? Not from the happy cursus-honorumed elite of Labour.

Geoff Fischer said...

Kia ora "Guerilla Surgeon". Your arguments are valid, but there is no evidence that the regime as a whole sees the problem of migrant labour as you do. In the early nineteenth century capital was handicapped by reliance on a Maori labour force which worked and bargained collectively. The solution was to import European labour, but European workers quickly adopted Maori methods by joining together to form small labour cooperatives (gangs) which provided their own foremen and leading hands and negotiated very favorable rates for the job, leaving little in hand for return to capital. At the same time the colonial regime faced a political threat from Maori nationalists in the Kingitanga, Kotahitanga, Ringatu and such like movements. The solution to these conjoint problems of state and capital was immigration, with the Premier Julius Vogel promising the colonial legislature that a hundred thousand immigrants would stabilize the regime more effectively than a regiment of British troops. The problem with the solution, however, is that with the passage of time immigrants become naturalized, and a million new immigrants are needed to counteract the hundred thousand in the earlier cohort who have "gone native". So it is not wrong to say that a colonial state "needs" and depends on a continuous and increasing flow of immigrants in order to survive. I think what you have in mind as a more desirable relationship between labour and capital can only come to pass under a very different political regime.

Unknown said...

In National's last five years in power 300,000 more people came to new Zealand than left. How does this benefit native New Zealanders ? Nothing will change in respect to immigration because National loves the appearance of economic growth and Labour are diehard multiculturalists. And let us remember that it was Roger Douglas who opened our borders to every Tom, Dick and Harry. The good thing about New Zealand First is that they have consistently opposed the New Right juggernaut for a quarter of a century. I will never forgive Labour for betraying New Zealand's working class. For the record the so-called left in this country has been completely colonised by limousine liberals, gays and greens.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Oh my God, the gays! The gays! We'll all be sodomised in our beds! What sort of puerile bloody argument is this? They're an extremely powerful group you know, and according to many responsible for all the floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and the like all over the world. (Well, part of it is due to abortion of course) They have an agenda you know!
And you forgot the feminists – or as we tend to call them these days "feminazis" Jesus wept, we'll all be feminised in our beds. This is where we need you Victor to give this guy a calm and collected and polite kicking, because this sort of bullshit is getting me angry again. And the doctor doesn't like it. :)

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Now that I've calmed down a bit, for the record if you happen to dislike the people in charge of the Labour Party, you are perfectly free to join it and agitate for people you think are more suitable. And I must say, I have a certain sympathy with the idea that it's time Labour had some MPs who'd actually done a real job. But as someone with gay friends, and a gay nephew I think they and many women are happier with the "limousine liberals" and some of the mouth breathers and knuckle draggers that have led all major parties in New Zealand in the past. And good on them, because it's time we got past the idea that women are second-class citizens, or that all their problems have been solved, and now they're just agitating for some sort of feminist "I want to ruin all men" agenda. And I'm pretty sure that "gays" were getting just a little tired of the jokes and the discrimination. So get out there and organise Shane I'm sure there are still a few people like you left.

Nick J said...

I think GS is quite correct in linking low wages with Labour availability.

The real problem is that economic orthodoxy only operates for growth. Treasury demands growth, so we import people. We mortgage our future with debt, growth pays for that...cynical me says we actually discount it by dilution aka inflation.

End result, too many workers for too few non housing sector jobs, a boom housing immigrants, huge housing sector debts, infrastructure chaos. Automation cutting jobs and wages, an IT sector that is subject to the law of diminishing returns, need we go on.

NZ, top place when we had 3 million, now going third world. Too many people all based upon perpetual growth.

Nick J said...

Shane, you run the risk over here of getting called any number of things for saying anything about immigration. Maybe because in the case of NZ its a highly charged issue as we are a migrant nation whose original migrants have had successive overlays of settlers with major impact and dislocations.

Laying my cards down I am a migrant (at 5), I no longer have another country. My marital family have been here 180 years. They have no other country. We are as they say all in the same canoe. As new immigrants arrive that to will be their experience. Which is why how we assimilate, and how we recognise the original settlers is so important.

Unknown said...

No Guerilla Surgeon, I do not believe that gays cause floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. All I did was pass my observation the what passes for the Left these days are three overlapping groups ; limousine liberals , gays and greens. But do not get me wrong GS, I do not miss the Boiler Makers Union, the Cooks and Stewards Union, Ken Douglas and other S.U.P. wankers. What I DO miss is a New Zealand where working class New Zealanders could afford to pay a mortgage and raise a family.

For over thirty years the New Zealand Left have shown themselves more interested in feel good bullshit causes like nuclear weapons free zones and same sex marriage than wages and conditions for working class Kiwis. We have very low wages, unaffordable house prices, creaking infrastructure but it all good because now Harry can marry Larry in a nuclear weapons free zone.

IT is a very similar picture in the other liberal democracies: A Right hell bent on turning First World nations into Third World nations, and an out of touch Left. Hence Brexit, hence Trump.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

As I said Shane, the answer is in your own hands.

Unknown said...

Why would I want to reinvent the wheel? There is already a major political party that has consistently opposed globalisation, transformative immigration, and the New Right Juggernaut. It is called New Zealand First. You may have heard of them.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Then stop bitching about the Labour Party. You have no dog in the fight. Just vote for Winston, keeping in mind of course that New Zealand 1st will probably be shit out of luck once he pops his clogs and will disappear as all those one-man band parties seem to eventually. Then you might have to cope with labour eh?

Unknown said...

People who comment in public forums should use their real names, not cower behind a nom-de-plume. People who use nom-de-plumes suffer from E.S.S - Empty Scrotum Syndrome. Labour Party do not represent labour, they represent the Land rights For Gay Whales crowd. They could at least have the decency to change their name because they are no longer the party of M.J. Savage and Norman Kirk. At least the Tories have decency to wear their true gang patches: The top rocker reads 'National' and the bottom rocker reads 'New Zealand'.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

People who comment in public forums can do what the hell away like within reason. I have already explained at length my reasons for "cowering" behind a nom de plume and I'm not interested in doing so again. And if you care to test the reaction of some of the general public, go post your details on the Whale oil site and say something controversial to them. Just include your Facebook page and what have you, and see what happens. Then you might have some indication of why people use a nom de plume. You might also Google "gamergate" and see what people have to put up with when they were doxxed. You might need to look up that word, being a New Zealand 1st voter but this is the modern world you know.
I would agree that the Labour Party is no longer the party of Mickey Savage and Norman Kirk. But then this is not the 1950s, where you can beat up "gay whales" with impunity, and women couldn't get a bank loan without their husband's permission. And I think both those groups are probably thankful for that. Because Mickey Savage, for all his good work would have had gay people in jail in a New York minute. And probably Norman Kirk as well. And I don't know about Big Norm, but I'm pretty sure Mickey Savage like most of his generation would have quite cheerfully killed the last whale on earth.

Unknown said...

Could care less about your reasons for cowering behind a nom-de-plume. Moral cowardice is moral cowardice. You need to call 0900 SOMEONEWHOGIVESASHIT. I have used my real name in public forums since 1980 - first letter to the editor was in the Listener and the topic was the Battle of Crete,1941. My full name and address are available on the electoral roll. My Facebook page is under my real name. And I do know what "doxxed" means.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Not surprised you don't know what doxxed means. As to the rest.