So the US military/diplomats has decided that we should be friends again after nearly 30 years. Whooptee do! Who really gives a pigs arse?
Since the USA decided that our domestic policy of banning the use of our territorial waters to vessels carrying nuclear weapons and being propelled by nuclear engines interfered with their domestic military policy of neither confirming nor denying if a vessel is carrying nuclear weapons, we have been spared the bloody stupid ideological wars of their war-hungry republic. Their policy not to grant permission for our military to train with them has, almost by accident, spared us from getting heavily involved in some of the more stupid wars in recent history. The second Iraq war in search of mythic weapons of mass destruction and in an apparent vendetta by the Bush dynasty being the prime example.
Instead we, including the military members of my wider family, have been involved in a series of multilateral military and policing operations mostly mandated by the UN. They have largely been effective in their limited objectives. Some like some of the reconstruction operations in the Iraq war are of dubious value and appear to have been undertaken for reasons of national advantage. But at least they were done with our national advantage in mind rather than out of some stupid knee jerk loyalty to overseas empires.
Of course there are supine members of the National party would probably prefer to change that – as depicted in this cartoon by Emmerson in the NZ Herald below. However there is little support amongst either the civilians in the public or even ex-military like myself.
But the official reasons for this increased cooperation are
In a joint statement Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman and US Secretary of defence Chuck Hagel said the increased cooperation will see the defence forces of both countries come together for peacekeeping initiatives, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the Asia-Pacific, as well as joint training exercises.
Of course we should be quite wary of the actual meaning of these categories because they often have rather different meaning to the US diplomatic corp than they do to anyone else. Our participation in the war in Vietnam was initially a humanitarian/peace keeping mission for instance until Holyoake was pressured by Johnson into providing combat troops to a war that was viewed with skepticism even by a National government.
Quite simply, the interests of New Zealand do not appear to coincide with the rather chaotic government of the republic of the United States of America. Rather than doing things for pragmatic common interests, they have a tendency to try to drag us into conflicts of dubious ideological stupidity. It is something for our diplomats and government to be aware that the public isn’t exactly enthusiastic about.
I’d also point out for the supporters of a change to the constitutional system in New Zealand, that the example of the republic in the USA is one of the largest disincentives I know to adopting a republican form of government.