The release of 400,000 classified documents on the Iraq war today highlights a much broader issue for New Zealand. As the world moves into uncertainty, some commentators call it a ‘new new world order’, New Zealand must establish itself definitively, cementing the values we wish to hold true for the coming century.
Clearly Helen Clark made a commendable decision to stay out of the Iraq War. Further atrocities have emerged surrounding coalition actions, or in some cases inaction, during the Second Gulf War. The international media is saturated by coverage, so it seems a little nonsensical to patronise you with the details. However, when we recall the period leading up to the invasion, and the pressure on our Government to decide its position, we realise how close our country came to being another party to these atrocities.
A new global climate of security threats and fear is developing. The socialisation process behind finding a new ‘Western enemy’ to replace terrorism has begun, and this will gain momentum over the coming decades. New Zealand needs to assert its position in this emerging climate, ensuring it holds firm the commitment of international human rights when deciding foreign policy.
Yet at the same time as considering this thought, we must consider the international economic climate, and it’s constantly changing nature. China and Brazil are standing up to the big boys, and the world is walking into a currency war. In Europe, millions of average citizens are taking a stand against the greed of the few, demanding answers as to why they must carry the burden created from risk and excess. Commentators around the world are questioning whether the worst is yet to come in this economic climate, and there seems to be little commentary on what the likely affects of these austerity cuts will be.
The internet is becoming the newest battlefield of global dominance. The U.S. Administration has almost created a ‘kill switch’, which is a worrying sign for us and potentially a powerful political tool in the coming decades. Stuxnet could be called the first move on the chessboard of state cyber warfare, with further attacks seemingly only a matter of time. How this will play out is anyone’s guess, however the implications for New Zealand should be considered now, because as time goes on, the problem becomes more than just a second page story in our local paper.
Closer to home, we have Chinese interests attempting to capture any and all primary industry they can. They’re smart, they know the system and they know how to play it. We’re losing more and more control of our own decision making power, and if we want to grasp the reins of this escaping horse, we have to act now. Our own financial system is attached by a single thread hanging off a huge international financial web. If anyone were to come along and swipe this web away, we’d be one of the first things to fall.
We also have the environment to consider, our greatest international asset. There seems to be much international conflict over how to deal with environmental issues and global warming, and even our own political parties seem to disagree on how to deal with it. We should do future generations a favour on this issue and begin the process of becoming a global leader in environmental policies, as I’ll mention in a moment, small steps now can lead to giant leaps in the future.
Essentially what I’m trying to argue is that there is a massive tornado ripping across the globe, severely affecting political/economic/social and environmental aspects of the current environment. New Zealand needs to set itself a direction and ensure when this tornado passes across our landscape, we’ll come out with minimal damage.
How to set this direction is a harder task, yet we can make small steps, and we can make them now. It seems Labours discussion of New Zealand becoming a Republic could be a good start, for often when a Republic has been created in the past, so too has a true nation of united people with a united direction emerged. There seems to be no better time than now.