Lest we forget

Written By: - Date published: 5:45 pm, September 14th, 2007 - 1 comment
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Earlier this week I posted on National’s attempted inoculation of the “nuclear issue”. Chris Trotter’s just written a related analysis of Key’s comments to the NZ/US Partnership Forum. In it Key states:

“I have little interest in debates, either economic or political, that simply relitigate events of a quarter of a century ago… I realise that history shapes the present, but I am interested in looking forward and taking New Zealand forward.”

The danger in relitigation, Trotter notes, is that:

… by participating in such debates, they would very quickly reveal that, when it comes to all those economic and political “events” they no longer wish to discuss, their attitudes haven’t changed one iota.

Read the full article here.

One comment on “Lest we forget”

  1. AncientGeek 1

    I never really understood the Nat’s stance on nuclear weapons and NZ policy. It always seemed irrational to me, even though I am more of a hawk than a dove (had just finished doing my voluntary stint in the armed forces).

    You have to remember that we didn’t ban nuclear energy, nuclear powered ships, or most uses of nuclear technology (there are constraints on all of those – ie safety requirements). What we banned was bringing nuclear weapons into the country. Doesn’t matter from what country or organisation.

    We did it because as a society, we viewed at such weapons of mass destruction as being a major part of the problem with conflict worldwide. It is hard to see them as part of a solution. That wasn’t just the perogative of the left – it was an opinion shared throughout much of society. It was more of a generational issue.

    WMD are inherently confrontational with a built-in escalation dynamic, just as we are currently seeing in the middle east.

    US policy these days is essentially the same as ours about WMD, with the caveat of ‘except for responsible people’. The decision to go into Iraq over WMD raises a lot of questions about the decision makers in the US and the UK. BTW: I fully supported going into Afghanistan, Solomons, and East Timor – I think that failed states are dangerous to everyone.

    Because the US, UK, and other nuclear powers had and still have policies of neither confirming or denying the presence of nuclear weapons on their vessels; we reserved the right to make our own determination if we thought they were likely to be present. That is the issue that the US got wound up about in such an irrational manner.

    That is a question of self-determination. Do we have the ‘right’ to make our own decisions, right or wrong, as a society. The US stance was that they appeared to think that NZ didn’t. So we agreed to disagree, and we started following our own policies.

    Frankly the only reason that I think it really got raised as an issue in NZ was because of the colonial mentality of the country in the much of the 20th century. People were trained to expect and want a protector – the UK, then the US. I grew up with that around me, but the propaganda was dying down when I grew up. As far as I can see, that mentality is pretty much confined to the older sections of the Nat’s as a knee-jerk level of conditioning these days. Eventually it will die out.

    What the whole incident has left in NZ is a quietly fierce level of what in another era would be called ‘patriotism’ or a commitment to make our own decisions. Doesn’t involve flag-waving, chanting the anthem at every available opportunity, and surely doesn’t involve supporting my government right or wrong. It just shows as a singular lack of dissension about what are the right places to intervene in other countries – people just go and do it.

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