Should our future lie with NATO?

Written By: - Date published: 3:23 pm, June 21st, 2022 - 62 comments
Categories: capitalism, China, climate change, defence, Europe, Pacific, Peace, Russia, Ukraine, uncategorized, us politics, war - Tags:

Not content to stay in the North Atlantic, a NATO conference in Madrid is shortly about to reveal its next ten-year plan to contain China. Jacinda Ardern will be there, who knows why. Are we nailing our colours to a flag at half-mast?

Politik’s Monday newsletter reports:

Asked at her weekly press conference yesterday if her presence at the summit indicated New Zealand was moving closer to NATO, Ardern said: “No, it means we have been for the last roughly ten years a NATO partner. We’ve worked alongside NATO in other areas before, and of course, in this current war in Ukraine, you’ll have seen that New Zealand has, through the NATO trust fund, supported the distribution of aid and support. But again, we maintain the status that we’ve had for the last ten years.”

That is not quite how NATO sees it. We are in NATO’s sights, as shown by  a preparatory document commissioned by Stoltenberg:

NATO should deepen consultation and cooperation with Indo-Pacific partners – Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea. This could be done using the existing NATO+4 Format or the NATO-Pacific Partnership Council, or through NATO engagement with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, potentially including other regional states such as India, as appropriate. Such a format would seek to heighten coordination on managing the strategic and political implications of China’s rise

There has been very little discussion about the wisdom of this move. The question is, are we backing a lame horse, or even the wrong horse? What does this mean for our vaunted “independent foreign policy?’

The world is at an inflection point, economically as well as geopolitically. The so-called ‘liberal international order,’ oxymoronic in its terms, is changing fast. US hegemony is being replaced by a multi-polar world. This has been obvious economically for some time. NATO has been described as the military guardian of the neo-liberal order, explicitly recognised as under threat in the 2018 US Defense Strategy which designated China, Russia, Iran and North Korea as its competitors.

NATO was set up after WW2 to contain Soviet Russia; in the words of the UK’s Lord Ismay, its first Secretary-General, to keep the “United States in, Russia out, and Germany down.” In the light of recent events, it could be said to have failed in the second objective and over-achieved in the third. The US is not only in NATO but runs it and the UK now just follows along.

Russia’s challenge has come because it is  fed up with the lack of any acknowledgment of the threat posed by NATO’s short-range missiles encroaching their borders after the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the INF treaty. The Special Military Operation is the promised ‘military-technical’ response to the lack of response to their security concerns. But in the West, history began on the 24th of February. Everything prior to that is cancelled.

If the main purpose of NATO has been to contain the Russian Federation, the successor of the Soviet Union, it is not doing a very good job.  President Biden has wisely ruled out NATO intervention in Ukraine, preferring to fight the Russian incursion to the last Ukrainian with mostly obsolescent and cast-off equipment. NATO has been training Ukrainian forces since the 2014 Maidan coup, but they are proving to be no match for Russia’s strategy, even while heavily dug in to positions fortified over several years.

The NATO strategy now may be to try to string out the war for years, but this may in fact work to Russia’s advantage. As former Indian diplomat M. K. Bhadrakumar writes at Indian Punchline:

Ukraine is a test to destruction of both NATO and the EU, and the wider, western-dominated multilateral system they are both part of. NATO, in particular, has just been confronted by exactly the kind of situation that its founders expected—the exercise of Russian military power—and it did effectively nothing. No amount of hand-waving, no amount of sanctions or arms deliveries, can change that fact, which in turn changes everything. NATO and the EU can prolong the war, cause more suffering, and destroy many economies, including their own. But they can’t fundamentally affect the result, and the nature of their responses, beneath the surface posturing, demonstrates that they know this.

And another  writing under the pseudonym Aurelian:

Fundamentally, the Western economies are facing a systemic crisis. The complacency that the reserve-currency-based US economy is impervious to ballooning debt; that the petrodollar system compels the entire world to purchase dollars to finance their needs; that the flood of cheap Chinese consumer goods and cheap energy from Russia and Gulf States would keep inflation at bay; that interest rate hikes will cure structural inflation; and, above all, that the consequences of taking a trade-war hammer to a complex network system in the world economy can be managed — these notions stand exposed.

Russia of course is well aware of these factors, as President Putin laid out in his speech to the St Petersburg International Economic Forum last week. NATO’s options in Europe do not look good, and there is evidence that behind the scenes some of the Europeans understand that and are trying to urge Zelensky to negotiate. Boris Johnson continues to bluster.

NATO’s strategy for the last ten years, doing nothing in Europe and failing in Afghanistan is not stellar. Calling up the same club that is sanctioning Russia, and as is widely noted is white, colonial or occupied does not augur well for its next iteration.  It does not include the global south. As another commentator Graham Fuller, former Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council at CIA, writes:

Indeed the West may come to look back at this moment as the final argument against following Washington’s quest for global dominance into ever newer and more dangerous and damaging confrontations with Eurasia. And most of the rest of the world–Latin America, India, the Middle East and Africa– find few national interests in this fundamentally American war against Russia.

Confronting Eurasia does not represent the future, and it should not represent our future. The NATO conference is clearly not business as usual, as Jacinda Ardern argues. NATO is not doing well at containing Russia, and it has no hope of containing China.

And of course our invitation to the party comes with a price. More money for useless weaponry that we are never going to use.

Instead, we should seek co-operation with all the countries in our region for the development of our economy and for the safety of our planet. We share enough issues with the south and east, starting with climate change.

62 comments on “Should our future lie with NATO? ”

  1. Ad 1

    Depends how dark things get for us and how fast.

    Waaaay back in the day in the early 1970s Gough Whitlam set out a resolutely independent – indeed non-aligned – foreign policy for Australia. Barely 2 decades after WW2 and only a few years after the US nuclear tests and the setting up of the US spy base at Pine Gap, Whitlam's non-aligned policy was one element that pushed the then-Governor General of Australia to sack the government.

    If Whitlam had survived, indeed if our Kirk had survived and continued protesting against French nuclear testing, well we would have had a quite different future.

    But we didn't.

    Whitlam was rolled, Kirk died. Independent foreign policy died. The Non Aligned Movement was choked to death in the 1980s by World Bank and IMF conditionalities, the CIA, by 2000s Belt and Road loan diplomacy, and by bloc trade deals.

    The Cold War got far worse. The War on Terror. And on.

    If democracies keep rapidly shrinking and world trade keeps collapsing, New Zealand, Australia, and all our Pacific Island allies going to need more formal military alliances, not less.

    SO if things do get dark, answer is YES.

  2. barry 2

    NATO sucks and we should keep our distance.

    The anti-China focus (whenever they say Indopacific it means"around China") is to maintain relevance as they don't really see Russia as a threat any more. What is happening in Ukraine is exactly the same as all the other proxy wars of the last 70+ years. Fighting Russia in a 3rd country the same as they did the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and all the rest fits their playbook perfectly. Russia is not the SU nor Nazi Germany. So long as NATO keeps Ukraine afloat Russia can only keep losing.

    We shouldn't be playing their games. Joining the playground's biggest bully gang may get you a few sweets and marbles, but you stay dirty. Staying neutral and being friendly with all sides means you can live with yourself after you leave school.

    • GreenBus 2.1

      Agree Barry Nato sucks, and so does USA and the UK.

      Failed warmongering imperialists causing mayhem around the globe.

      Lets stay out of it. Or align with the new order – Russia/Chine/India who want

      peace and to share the world without constant wars. Everyone is sick of the USA hedgemoney and it's Nato battering ram.

      • Populuxe1 2.1.1

        Russia/Chine/India

        Russia is currently grabbing bits and shelling the cities of its neighbours.

        China keeps making noises about Taiwan, when it's not arresting and disappearing people in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

        India is in a permanent military standoff with Pakistan and China.

        • GreenBus 2.1.1.1

          Germany is re-commissioning their old old brown coal plants! Ha!

        • Steve Bradley 2.1.1.2

          It is internationally recognized – including by the USA, China, Japan, Taiwan – that Taiwan is an integral part of China. China does not need to attack Taiwan. What is in dispute is the legitimate government of China. What all the above states, except China, want is regime-change in China. Simple stuff.

      • SPC 2.1.2

        China supplanted the USA in using the most carbon and India will supplant them. Russia will burn carbon till the frozen tundra releases its methane.

        • solkta 2.1.2.1

          The per capita emissions of the US are twice that of China.

          • Populuxe1 2.1.2.1.1

            China hasn't even begun. It's largely undeveloped in the interior.

            • RedLogix 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Yeah – the tedious old 'per capita' excuse. What matters is carbon intensity 'per unit of GDP'.

              In this measure China and Russia are by far the worst offenders. And given their total size – by far the worst contributors to the carbon crisis of all. Effectively they have been committing ecocide against the rest of humanity for decades.

              • Subliminal

                Tedious for you I guess RL because a focus on per capita use doesnt allow for a continuation of the extreme lopsidedness of resource allocation. Anything that is scarce should and must be allocated on a per capita basis. Anything else just exacerbates inequality.

                • Populuxe1

                  If resources were allocated on a per-capita basis I really don't think you'd be enjoying the results – you know, given we struggle now with energy production and have the same population as Costa Rica.

                  • Subliminal

                    I think you misunderstand what per capita means. It means everyome gets an equal share so the amount allocated to Costa Rica would significantly increase.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Oh I understand what per capita means. Our rather tenuous existence here is offset by our disproportionate first world allocation of resources. Ideals are nice but they don't get you through pandemics.

      • Joe90 2.1.3

        Of course, only in tankie twerp land do they want to share the world without constant wars.

        China has been throwing it's weight around for years in border disputes with Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore, Brunei, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Tibet and most recently, India.

        Since partition in 1947 thousands have died during India's nasty, ongoing sectararian border disputes with Pakistan.

        And Russia. Yup peaceful AF if you ignore their bloodthirsty fuckery in Georgia, Chechnya, Syria and of course, Ukraine.

        /

        • GreenBus 2.1.3.1

          Uncle Sam has his smelly armpits all through Syria. USA is backing ISIS!

          USA is backing NAZIs in Ukraine. American and French howitzers are being used to shell Doneskt city full of civilians. That's a war crime. Good old uncle sam, what a guy, huh.

          • joe90 2.1.3.1.1

            Insensate septage, sport.

            /

          • SPC 2.1.3.1.2

            You do not even understand the difference between Islamic State and the rebels in Syria.

            Islamic State was originally Al Qaeda in Iraq and the USA fought them there and drove them into Syria. When they attacked Iraq – the USA, Kurds (in both Syria and Iraq), Iraq and Shia militias and Iran (talk about a broad alliance) fought them until Islamic State was defeated. The ones who did nothing about Islamic State were Syria, Russia and Turkey.

            Your understanding of the events in Europe is as unhinged.

      • barry 2.1.4

        Fuck off! The USA & UK are not worse than China or Russia.

        China may be slightly better than USA as they don't want the whole world, they only want half of it. But they still want it!

        Russia under Putin is clearly expansionist, and oppressive to its neighbours. Whether it will become more peaceful after Putin goes is not clear.

        India is also not nice to have as a neighbour.

        We are better off aligning with none of them. The UN is our friend (with some reform, even better). As a small nation we are better to rely on international institutions, rather than allying with ANY of the bullies.

  3. Populuxe1 3

    NATO’s strategy for the last ten years, doing nothing in Europe and failing in Afghanistan is not stellar.

    Why should it have done anything in Europe in the last ten years? Europe has been at peace for the last ten years. Have any NATO members been attacked in the last ten years? No. And if they had you'd be complaining about imperialism. Russia didn't do much better in Afghanistan, nor indeed did Afghanistan itself.

    Calling up the same club that is sanctioning Russia, and as is widely noted is white, colonial or occupied does not augur well for its next iteration.

    Russia is also white and colonial. The thing that currently has NATO occupied is one of the main reasons to pay attention to our relationship with NATO.

    It does not include the global south.

    Aside from the fact it does contain a number of our important trade partners and liberal democracies like ours, actually it does include the global south insofar as France, the US, UK and Norway have Pacific territories, some of which have significant populations. Then again, there are many who would argue that Australia and New Zealand are only part of the "global south" in geographical terms.

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    The difficulty with shit-canning Nato, is what options we are left with.

    Not only do Nato countries feature high in the trade wishlist that has outweighed local policy considerations since jolly Roger conducted his unprecedented bit of barratry, but the relationships available with other large players require becoming nodding dogs for not even remotely free or democratic states. NZ is bad enough under neo-liberalism with mass low-wage migration driving down living conditions – the addition of a corrupt foreign despot vetoing everything they choose would not be an improvement.

    • GreenBus 4.1

      Nato is doing it's utmost to prolong the Ukrainian genocide of it's military, for the benefit of Ukraine? Nope. Nato western bloc is sucking Ukraine dry AND leaving themselves almost cleaned out of their own war toys, for the benefit of uncle sam.

      What a guy! The shameless yanks do all this to win the mid terms.

      So Nato is quickly becoming a toothless old has-been, while Russia shows them all, for a 2nd time how to deal with Nazi scum.

  5. SPC 5

    The down with NATO, all hail Eurasia, East Asia and Oceania thread.

    The promotion of NATO defeat and the need for Oceania to appease Russian hegemony in Eurasia and Chinese hegemony in East Asia.

    The advocacy that Oceania abandon nations to this hegemony, rather than stand by the collective security of nations is amoral. And to associate Russia and China with leadership in regard to global warming, or overfishing, or the The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is nonsense.

    • Populuxe1 5.1

      But we have always been at war with Eastasia!

      • SPC 5.1.1

        Not while Oceania is containing Eurasia. Oceania fights only one war at a time. With one war, with the other diplomacy (and all past war forgotten). This has been policy since this new world order began.

  6. Tony 6

    Thank you Mike, you are always a voice of reason on here. We need to stay away as far as we can from the completely corrupt murderous NATO and associated acronyms, evil minded people, Asia is our future. Russia just put paid to the illusion of American dominance and it, with China herald a multi polar moment. bring it on ..

    • Populuxe1 6.1

      The sun on the meadow is summery warm
      The stag in the forest runs free
      But gather together to greet the storm
      Tomorrow belongs to me…

  7. Sanctuary 7

    Our defence policy is set in Canberra, since it is impossible to imagine a peer or near peer conflict involving Australia not also being a casus belli for us. On the wider point, I'd rather fight alongside all the other shitty liberal democracies than alongside Xi and the Butchers of Beijing or the mad murderous man who wants to be Tsar Putin I.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      When reading these treasonous tankies weasel on about how wonderful Putin and Xinping are – I truly wonder why they still live here in the democratic west. Clearly they place very low value on the democratic world, so why not migrate to these much better peace loving utopias they love so much?

      Alternatively whether they would openly say such things if they lived in Ukraine right now. They are at heart cowards sweated by vengeful fantasies.

      • GreenBus 7.1.1

        Russia is a Democarcy, get your head out of that aussie dessert.

        Poots has 85% support of Russia. What's Bidens support? Or Boris?

        You obviously know zero about non western countries except for the rubbish

        endlessly spewing out of the MSM.

        • RedLogix 7.1.1.1

          Unlike you I have lived and worked in Russia on two separate occasions. Once in 2001 for six months and again in 2017 for four months. I have made reference to these periods a number of times here at TS going years back.

          Similarly I have lived and worked in a fairly decent list of non-Western nations in this past decade. Also openly mentioned here on the infrequent occasion.

          This does not make me an expert on any of these places, but generally informed enough to know your claims are delusional bullshit. Otherwise what joe90 said.

        • Populuxe1 7.1.1.2

          That's how real "democarcies" work. Sic semper tyrannis, sweetie.

        • foreign waka 7.1.1.3

          Russia is a Federal Republic with and lower and upper house, democratic yeah nah.

          One has to look at context. Firstly, the people of Russia originate from a vast stretch of land. We are talking about between the Ural and the pacific spanning Eurocentric to Asian genetics and history. I mean who has the Mongols as their good neighbor sharing butter tea?

          This has influenced their style of government once the country has been "united" Similar as the difficult undertaking of the Chinese emporer Qin Shi Huang (BC). The USA are still working through their issues as we have seen spilling to the surface recently with just some 200 years in the making. All of those transformations have been brutal experiences.

          As long we all don't stop and acknowledge that there are different cultures, concepts of government, history in the making etc. and trying to have a one size fits all, every state has to be the same approach we will never see peace.

          As for NATO – personally I find it a warmongering society, but again. If they would not exist who would take their place? There is never a vacuum in nature or power structure. The question as always is, for those who have a vote how to use it to reign in the power, corruption and misuse of funds. As for influencing foreign countries, clearly aggression is not the way to go. Sometimes though, deliberate provocation is put in place to have a certain scenario set up. I belief that this is the case with the war in Ukraine.

  8. Just Saying 8

    Red, I went back to check because I thought I must have seriously misread, but no, this:

    …When reading these treasonous tankies weasel on about how wonderful Putin and Xinping are….

    Is false.

    The reason it matters is the idea of allegiance to one and an enemy status regarding the other, is coming from you and projected onto other writers. Which leaves you arguing with an imaginary adversary. There may be some exceptions but most are arguing against this kind of policy, as I see it.

    The leadership of the US gets up my nose, but leadership throughout the world does. We need a different model. 'Service' to and accountable to the people' would be a good start IMHO. Right across the board.

    I think you've said that the world is in a kind of teenaged crisis, needing to grow up, not wanting to let go. But what the socio/political/environmental (etc.) crises, no longer impending but now upon us says is 'no more time to dither, time to start wearing those grown-up pants’.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      Indeed – and I have written on that theme on occasion for years. Mostly crickets.

      I think I quoted this article a few days ago, but the conclusion speaks directly to the very legitimate question you raise:

      More broadly, the reason why we have collective security organisations is exactly because neutralisation and other similar practices were already discredited a century ago. They failed to prevent war back then and would fail to prevent it again. While it is true that our collective security system is largely defunct, the real solution is to fix it. Until then, the West must do what it can to help Ukraine defeat Russia on the battlefield. This is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, the best available security guarantee.

      Collective security is how individual citizens organise and implement their personal legal rights and personal safety. It is the very basis of the nation state, it is how we prevent the strong from always beating up on the weak.

      The same principle applies between the nation states. The post-WW2 era has seen the world benefit enormously from an uneven, patchy and deeply imperfect version of this principle in action as led by the US. It was of course a hegemony, often incompetent, sometimes ruthless and prone to venality – but nonetheless it was never a territorial empire as was all that came before it. It not only took war off the table between it's member states, it also encouraged and protected virtually unlimited trade and exchange between all of them. And as a result the world has seen an unprecedented explosion of human development. Even undertaken on this flawed, tentative and imperfect basis – this universality unleashed extraordinary outcomes.

      At this point most people completely misread me. I am emphatically not claiming the US is any kind of paragon. To the contrary, we are all aware of their failings. Nor was a world order dominated by just the one culture never going to persist, and the security order it created for the past 70 odd years is now lamentably defective. It was only ever going to be a transitionary phase on a path toward something better.

      Something genuinely universal.

      However the strong-man, revanchist ambitions of Putin and Xi Xinping do not qualify. They offer nothing but a great leap backwards into an era of medieval warlords, crossed with an industrial scaled tyranny.

      • aom 8.1.1

        You say, "Collective security is how individual citizens organise and implement their personal legal rights and personal safety. It is the very basis of the nation state, it is how we prevent the strong from always beating up on the weak."

        It seems you have a bit of a circular perspective to resolve here. You pose the notion that the strong need neutralizing by collectively becoming the strongest. Didn't Russia, China, North Korea, Iran et al expand their militaries in response to the US, fuelled by its MIC and alliances? Does that, in your view, now give licence for large collective gangs you don’t approve of to counter the likes of NATO?

      • Just Saying 8.1.2

        Thank you for the thoughtful reply.

        Sometimes it can be the themes that seem to bring out the crickets that have the most impact. I'm not saying this is the case with the idea of humanity in a critical stage of maturing, I've been thinking this for many years. But my experience through the years that it has turned out that important issues raised, that received no reply often turned out to have had more impact than those that bring voluminous response at the time.

        As to the issue of the post, firstly it seems to me that this proxy war strategy is strengthening Russia. It was always cruel to Ukraine to let them be destroyed for some apparently higher good that inevitably turned into a colonial 'snuff movie' for the West. I don't think this was what was intended by those believing that such an imperialist action was necessary due to the dangers posed by Russia.

        If Russia is the expansionist threat claimed, the time for NZ to consider its position is when that is proven while expressing disapproval for this invasion and keeping out of it.

        To say the provocation and the western sanctions were misjudged would be too generous. Apart from the extreme cruelty to Ukraine, and the ensuing severe global destabilisation, and leaving aside the increased threat of this going both global and nuclear, I'd like the muppets who advised about Russia being beatable by its small neighbour, and advised this strategy would bleed Russia rather than the west to come clean with the cereal packet they gleaned this nonsense from, and be held to account for war crimes along with Russia.

  9. Subliminal 9

    Great post Mike. The comments to this post show at least that there is significant support for a more independent foreign policy. As inflation ratchets up and energy becomes very pricey we will have a lot more to worry about.

    Its a pity that Ardern couldnt deliver more of her energy and focus to what will become an increasingly divided socio-economic future reality.

    Where are our plans for our wellbeing? Is everything to be taken care of by the central bank raising interest rates as though this will cure a lack of supply side energy? Pretending that all is good and going all in with the doddery colonialists isn't much of a plan.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      The only reason why NATO is not pushing a full-throated response in Ukraine is – as you know perfectly well but MS dishonestly omits – is that Putin has repeatedly threatened first strike nuclear response on Europe.

      Kremlin hawks and their state controlled media puppets go even further, routinely threatening to obliterate the UK and more. This is beyond irresponsible – it is unhinged warmongering lunacy.

      And fuckers like you cannot wait for it to happen.

      • aom 9.1.1

        Sorry Red, What has your rant got to do with Subliminal's comment that you replied to?

        What is it that 'fucker's' like Subliminal can't wait to happen? What do you know about his/her sex life that you could share with us so we can't draw our own conclusions about being a 'fucker'?

      • Mike Smith 9.1.2

        Warning RedLogix! You will no doubt have more to say on future post of mine, but any more personal comments like this and you will be banned. You know the site tules

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    Well put Mike Smith.

    NZ is a Pacific country now, and needs to get out of 5 Eyes and the Anglosphere, and join the Non Aligned Movement imo. Mutually beneficial bilateral trade and cultural relations with other nations rather than imperialist trade and military blocs.

    Climate Disaster and other shit storms hitting or about to, indicate a strong case for re-establishment of NZ manufacturing including a basic pharmaceutical industry,
    and restoring full public ownership of power generation and supply and a Ministry of Works etc. Coastal shipping against the odds is being reinstated after years of effort by maritime unionists and several shipping companies. It is possible to roll back Rogernomics and the NZ neo liberal state with enough popular support from generations Rent & Student Loan.

    The neo blairite Labour Caucus cuddling up to NATO is a retrograde step for those that fought for a Nuke Free NZ and valued the longstanding reasonably independent foreign policy under Helen Clark.

    • Subliminal 10.1

      Well put TM. This is the type of vision we need. Looking forward with courage and confidence rather than forever herded by fear.

    • RedLogix 10.2

      The so called non aligned movement is nothing but a delusion. Neutrality agreements made in peacetime routinely fail when confronted with reality.

      This idea that some states could be neutralised by international agreement stems from the early 19th century. At the Congress of Vienna (1815), the European great powers imposed permanent neutrality on Switzerland, guaranteeing its territorial integrity in return for its pledge to remain neutral in all future wars on the continent. Later, the same happened with Belgium (1839), Luxembourg (1867) and Albania (1913).

      All these states were small, newly independent, and in danger of being invaded by more than one great power. They were also not credibly capable of self-defence, and there were no collective security organisations they could join. This made permanent neutrality their best hope for peace.

      Their neutralisation took place in peacetime (ongoing tensions notwithstanding) and was carried out by a Europe-wide club of great powers happy to make agreements over the heads of small states. Finally, what they all (except for Switzerland) also shared was that their neutrality did not stand the test of the First World War, in which the unity of the great powers broke down.

      That a similar war might happen again is perhaps not a great argument against the idea. More relevantly, however, it is not certain that unity exists in the first place. Will the members of the UN Security Council agree to neutralise Ukraine when they have failed to agree on most other issues of comparable importance? There are reasons to be sceptical, not least because Russia has turned itself into a pariah state that cannot be trusted to keep its word.

      Furthermore, the pre-First World War guarantors of neutrality never included powers that had already invaded the relevant country and occupied parts of its territory. In all cases, neutralisation was a way of averting war, not ending one. Clearly, an aggressor cannot credibly guarantee the neutrality of a country it has already invaded. This is Russia’s situation: it has gravely violated Ukrainian sovereignty, so it cannot be trusted to maintain it.

      Similarly if New Zealand became non-aligned – exactly who would guarantee our security? China?

      • joe90 10.2.1

        A movement chaired by Ilham Aliyev, the autocratic thug who cuddles up to NATO on the qt .

        • SPC 10.2.1.1

          While head of the NAM and the Turkic Council he, the President of Azerbaijan, (son of a former President) received help from NATO member Turkey to attack the Armenian enclave Nagorno-Karabakh.

          • joe90 10.2.1.1.1

            Hush…you'll spoil it…

            • Tiger Mountain 10.2.1.1.1.1

              Wank on joe, NAM is not a canned panacea, it is a potential alternative to being locked into “our” or “their” Imperialists.

              Working class internationalism–Neither Washington, Moscow or Beijing.

              • Populuxe1

                Working class internationalism

                HAHAHAHAHAHAH I think a little pee came out then…
                I'm curious, which of the 120 NAM states are actually NA? Because from where I'm sitting they're either looking very cozy with Washington or they're hooked up with the BRICS.

    • SPC 10.3

      Care to define the difference between mutually beneficial bilateral trade and imperialist trade blocs?

      • Tiger Mountain 10.3.1

        My take is nation to nation as they so desire.

        Say Cuba or India could offer expertise to Aotearoa NZ with setting up basic drug and vaccine manufacture, and we could offer horticultural expertise, right now various international trade agreement provisions not to mention the 60 year US blockade on Cuba would descend.

        The PM hangs out for a US Free Trade Agreement–not going to happen. This country needs other options as the world turns to custard, we cannot just sit here waiting for containers to turn up.

        • Populuxe1 10.3.1.1

          And perhaps we could all live in Ewok villages in the trees or cozy little Hobbit holes, bartering pumpkins or suchlike.
          In case you hadn't noticed, India has a raging capitalist boner and is seething with billionaires. They might do a trade deal for cheaper generic meds, possibly, but they sure as little green apples they are not going to help us set up pharmaceutical manufacture in competition with them because unlike some naively trusting souls they aren't stupid.

        • SPC 10.3.1.2

          The container (world distribution disruption) problem is not a long term one.

          Sure the USA is no longer a friend of international free trade (having obstructed the WTO judicial appointments – Trump did it, but Biden has not sorted it), having determined on a hegemony struggle (with Russia, Iran, China and socialist nations) – nominally in defence of the free world (while struggling to function as a democracy at home).

          Why not regional trade blocks ones – Oz and us with ASEAN. And beyond that onto RCEP and TPP (mark 2)? And the WTO (all the better for being shorn of US dominance)?

          I am not sure about self-reliance in drug and vaccine manufacture, we cannot even staff our health system adequately. That said we do need to plan for a two power block world and the GW impact and improve domestic capability/resilience. We do need some version of restored MOW capability/competence – rather than MBIE and dependence on failed monopolies like Fletcher building, coastal shipping, public transport, preserve arable land for food production etc.

  11. Corey Humm 11

    What you're really asking is should a first world liberal democracy stand with other first world liberal democracies or should it cower in the corner so it can do business with authoritarian, neo imperialistic regimes that don't believe in democracy, human rights, rule of law or meritocracy international borders, so we can sell them some milk.

    That's what you're asking and before the anti western lefty's do some what about things that happened 20 years ago we're talking about today, with china a nation which has concentration camps, slaves and disappears it's people is constantly threatening invasion of Taiwan and being increasingly tyranical to Hong Kong and is constantly showing it's force in the Pacific particularly in Australian waters.

    Then there's Russia and it's invasions human rights abuses and threats of nuclear oblivion.

    If anyone on the left hates the west that much that they'll side with or even defend or what about over modern day slavery, nuclear oblivion, concentration camps and ripping up the international rules based order which is the only thing that keeps this country safe then those lefty's should ask themselves "are we the baddies?"

    Of course a liberal democracy should side with liberal democracy's and not stay silent to do anything else would be a disgrace and to be neutral so we can sell some milk would be disgusting and make us complicit in concentration camps, slavery, imperialism and war, simply so we can sell some milk.

  12. weka 12

    please provide a link or risk part of your comment being deleted.

  13. joe90 13

    Long term US military partners the Philippines and Thailand were the only SEA nations in the alliance. Little wonder it folded.

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