The prime minister stated in his speech last week our objective in the war in Ukraine was to aid Ukraine “to defeat Russia.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – that’s a declaration of nuclear World War III! Even the US neocons think its time to back off.
Writing in the premier US foreign policy journal Foreign Affairs, in an article titled “Don’t let Ukraine join NATO – the costs of expanding the Alliance outweigh the benefits, Justin Logan and Joshua Shifrinson write:
…strategy is about choice, and the United States’ choices today are stark. For much of the post–Cold War period, the United States could expand its international commitments at relatively low cost and risk. Those circumstances no longer exist. With fiscal pressures at home, a grave challenge to its position in Asia, and the prospect of escalation and an erosion of credibility vis-à-vis Moscow, keeping Ukraine out of NATO simply reflects U.S. interests. Instead of making a questionable promise that poses great dangers but would yield little in return, the United States should accept that it is high time to close NATO’s door to Ukraine.
This reflects the reality on the front line. The much-vaunted Ukrainian summer counter-offensive has ground to a halt, with the latest tranche of Western wunderwaffen such as German Leopard tanks and US Bradley fighting vehicles so mauled that they have been withdrawn to the rear and the offense is now undertaken by small groups of soldiers with no air cover or armour protection. They are being slaughtered.
The Prime Minister’s segues in his speech are extraordinary. His resolve is “absolute” to supply support to Ukraine in order to defeat Russia, but in the same sentence the necessity to avoid armed conflict wherever we can is “absolute.”
It was humbling to be in the presence of these recent civilians who had joined the army to defend their country. Some of the men I met that day may now no longer be with us. Lawyers, teachers, builders. Husbands, fathers and sons. Innocents in a war not of their making. We will keep making targeted contributions where they can make the greatest difference.
But alongside that we must continue to fly the flag for peace, conflict resolution and disarmament. In a world rushing to take sides on a range of conflicts it’s essential New Zealand plays a role in avoiding polarisation – it’s what we’re good at and known for.
I have written months earlier about the dangers of a drive for victory against Russia in Ukraine, and of the impossible situations in which these young Ukrainians are being sent to their death. I still feel that same as I wrote then:
In my opinion the truly moral position on Ukraine is to bend every effort to put stop to the killing and begin to negotiate an acceptable outcome for peace. That is what New Zealand should be calling for.
But its worse than that. Because they have run out of standard 155mm artillery ammunition, the US is now reduced to supplying Ukraine with cluster munitions, all of that calibre they have left in store. New Zealand is a party to the Convention against their use, and has protested to the United States through diplomatic channels. One hopes, to use the current mot du jour of our diplomacy, that this was done “robustly.” I expect however they will be waved through.
New Zealand’s so-called independent voice could be much louder and clearer – forget about victory over Russia, just stop the killing.