Hamish Rutherfurd writes that Winston Peters’ trip to the US to secure a trade deal is far-fetched and a waste of time. I agree. But if Peters has his agenda, so will Pompeo, Pence, John Bolton and Dan Coats have theirs. He was scheduled to meet them all. No wonder the 9th floor are worried.
While Peters set out his stall for a free trade agreement with New Zealand in his keynote speech to the Council of Foreign Relations, the US’s top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, does not appear on the list of those he is scheduled to meet.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been most recently preoccupied with Iran and the Middle East, aiming to establish a naval coalition of the willing in the Gulf of Oman. National Security Adviser John Bolton has been the lead in the US campaign for regime change in Venezuela, through recognition of pretender Juan Guiado as President. New Zealand did not follow Australia on this, calling instead for the matter to be resolved through elections. Vice-President Mike Pence has recently been sent to the Mexican border to observe the caged refugee detainees.
The US approach to diplomacy has changed for the worst since Peters was last Foreign Minister and established a good relationship with Condoleeza Rice. Now it is all one way, to make America great by population-squeezing sanctions and bullying sabre-rattling. Rather than the rule-based order New Zealand seeks, the US view is that the rules are Donald Trump’s orders. (Or John Bolton’s, or Mike Pompeo’s, or Mike Pence’s).
Hopefully Winston Peters’ eagerness to secure the remote prize of a free trade agreement with the US does not lure him into complying with the US’ more immediate “diplomatic” demands – further demonising China and Russia, regime change in Venezuela, legitimising Israel’s takeover of the Golan Heights, or joining the latest “coalition of the willing” in the Persian G and sanctioning Iran.
As for Pence, Pompeo and the Rapture, read this. Scary stuff.