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Yanking our chain

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 pm, December 3rd, 2018 - 46 comments
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Tracy Watkins is in Korea paid for by the US to head off any support fro President Moon’s visit here. US security chiefs are here in Wellington today with the 40-grit sandpaper on Huawei. A high-ranking Russia “expert” from the UK was here last week because they thought Winston Peters wasn’t sufficiently outraged by the Skripal false flag affair. We’re in the gun in the information wars.

Tracy Watkins trip US-sponsored trip coincides with South Korean President Moon’s visit to New Zealand; in  my opinion  it is no coincidence. The US’s key message is in Watkins’ article, headlined about inter-Korean tourism.

Moon is also expected to raise the issue of sanctions in his meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters. New Zealand air force planes play a role in enforcing the sanctions, alongside our traditional allies, the US and Australia. Any repositioning by our government in favour of Moon’s call for greater engagement would put us at odds with those allies. That is because the US view is that tough new sanctions were what bought North Korea and any relaxation now would ease the pressure on Kim to comply.

The truth is that Koreans are not masters in their own country. South Korea would like peaceful engagement with the North; the US demands complete submission before any leniency.

We are being sucked into other people’s wars. Richard Harman’s Politik says that the Huawei decision “saw the old friends prevail.” It was Lord Palmerston of Opium War infamy who said that Britain did not have allies, it only had interests. The same is true of the US; it only has military bases, 800 or so around the world.

The US has effectively declared war on China, Russia, Iran and North Korea by name. We are being drawn in to take sides alongside our “traditional allies,” supposedly on the basis of common values. I’m not at all attracted to the values demonstrated by Donald Trump in his support for Saudi murder, genocide in Yemen and planetary destruction through climate change denial. And as the UK heads for Brexit self-destruction, like the US Democrats it looks for Russian distraction.

We used to stand up to them, and stand up for our values of peace and conciliation. We can’t expect the media to do it for us, but in my opinion letting ourselves be bullied is not in our interest.

 

 

46 comments on “Yanking our chain”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    Without reading it, I saw the Watkins article the other day and immediately wondered why the hell she was writing it.

    Turns out she’s gun for hire. Amazing.

    Not sure how you can pretend to be independent from the funder of your travels…

    • tc 1.1

      Watkins is an owned as they come and lacks the skills to put up a facade.

      Thus she shills for her supper in a transparent and obvious manner.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Not sure how you can pretend to be independent from the funder of your travels…

      You can’t. The Golden Rule applies: He with the gold – rules.

  2. Jenny 2

    “A high-ranking Russia “expert” from the UK was here last week because they thought Winston Peters wasn’t sufficiently outraged by the Skripal false flag affair.”

    Yanking our chain
    By: MIKE SMITH – Date published: 10:32 pm, December 3rd, 2018

    A pox on both your houses

    The evidence that the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia was ordered by the Russian authorities, is as conclusive as the evidence that Jamal Kashoggi was murdered by the Saudi authorities.

    New Zealand if it truly wants to be an independent nation should not be beholden to any super power.

    We are living in very dangerous times.

    If we are not be drawn deeper into imperial conflicts we need to disentangle ourselves from all military and political ties to any superpower.

    Despite the risks of reprisals we need to pull out of 5 eyes, we need to pull out of ANZUS

    Maybe then we would have the moral authority to condemn China expansionism and empire building in the Pacific

    • tc 2.1

      That and proper socialism would get a new party plenty of votes IMO. Kiwis aren’t stupid, aside from that swinging middle we have who seem easily fooled.

      we need to be fence sitting when the bullies go at it.

    • Dean Reynolds 2.2

      +1 Jenny! China is our second biggest trading partner & the USA buys sweet FA from us. Why do we still grovel to the American war machine?

      We need to be non aligned & trade with anyone who wants to trade with us

      I challenge any hawk to specify the benefits we get from being a member of 5 eyes

      • francesca 2.2.1

        Its a protection racket
        If we tried to pull out can you imagine the interference and chaos that would be unleashed on us

      • Wayne 2.2.2

        tc and Dean
        You are forgetting Australia. If we went nonaligned, we presumably would also be saying to Australia, don’t count on us. Our preferred relationship with Australia would not last long after that.
        The reality is that our Australian relationship (hugely important to NZ) effectively ties us into the broader western alliance. Most people are willing to accept that reality.

        • Gabby 2.2.2.1

          Well we can’t really count on them can we wayney, except to be ocky pricks.

          • Wayne 2.2.2.1.1

            Well, it is true that the Aussies can be well, Aussies.

            But there is no other nation to which every New Zealander (except criminals) can travel to and live and work without time any time limits. Sure, people who would not qualify as immigrants are not eligible for some social security benefits, but they would not qualify for any sort of work permit in any country other than Australia.

            Our two economies are totally interlinked with basically no restrictions on trade, investment, state contracts, etc.

            So yes, Aussies may be bastards, but they are also our mates.

            Going nonaligned means we would loose just about all of the above advantages.

    • Richard 2.3

      The beauty of ‘false flags’ is that no matter what event occurs you can use it to reinforce your existing views. Hate the US – 9/11’s a false flag, hate the UK – MI6 poisoned the Skirpals, Love guns and jebus – atheist democrats faked Sandy Hook.

  3. Antoine 3

    > We are being drawn in to take sides alongside our “traditional allies,” supposedly on the basis of common values

    And that is what we should do (short of sending substantial amounts of troops to fight in other peoples’ wars).

    Who would ever have thought that NZ would side with Russia over Britain? An outrage.

    A.

    • Why? – New Zealand doesn’t have allies, it only has interests.

      Why should we be any different?

      • Wayne 3.1.1

        Our relationship with Australia is not just one of interests. That would be a more appropriate description of our relationships with say Japan or China.

      • Antoine 3.1.2

        > New Zealand doesn’t have allies, it only has interests

        Yes we do have allies, as I just pointed out.

        A.

  4. Ad 4

    We aren’t ever going to be the Switzerland of the Pacific. Real idealists roll up their sleeves.

    The choices aren’t getting easier, but we are still going to have to make them. Sure, maybe the hard left never want to make them. But governments always have to make choices in international affairs, especially when they are hard.

    It’s hard to have respect for this government when it manages to talk principles only at the easiest of UN set pieces or conferences, but otherwise just gets along to trade, making the smallest possible statement gestures to one side or the other for sheer minimal expedience.

    • Staying out of other peoples wars seems pretty principled , so does being a peaceful trading nation.

    • RedLogix 4.2

      Exactly. We can’t stand on our own, so exactly who does Mike expect we should ally with?

      It’s the obvious question that he remains silent on.

      • One Two 4.2.1

        we can’t stand on our own…

        Only stone age thinking accepts such a premise….it also is a resignation of a race to an inevitable ‘end game’…

        Either the entire world learns to co-operate, or it doesn’t …and ‘we’ can forget about ever passing comment on issues like climate change…because it becomes a non-starter….a pipe-dream of hope that can not be realized….

        Because….allies…

  5. Absolutely blatant that our journalists are paid by a foreign state to disseminate slanted “news” in favour of that state’s aims and objectives.
    This isn’t informing New Zealanders, its indoctrinating them
    So now the Herald is the PR arm of the US Embassy?

    • garibaldi 5.1

      “So now the Herald is the PR arm of the US Embassy”. It has been this way since WW2 !

      • francesca 5.1.1

        Agreed Garibaldi
        But now so openly , insultingly transparent, in an age where foreign state interference and influence is so topical and generally decried

  6. A 6

    I get that the manipulation of public perception is happening, but I don’t understand why us? We’re the size of a minor city and surely its difficult to justify a budget of any kind for a tiny nation.

    • Anne 6.1

      We have influence in the Pacific region though and don’t forget the Five Eyes arrangement. They need us on board due to our close association with countries in and around the southern half of the Pacific rim.

      The CIA had a huge influence in the 1960s and 70s both in Australia and NZ. They even managed to manipulate the sacking of a democratically elected Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam who was showing signs of following and independent path. They would have done the same in NZ for the same reason but fortunately our Prime Minister, Norman Kirk died so they didn’t have to go that far here.

      That’s the way it is. Any person or any government that sticks his/her/it’s head too far above the parapet will have it cut off.

      • SpaceMonkey 6.1.1

        Or did they go that far…? I read something a while back about the CIA, as part of a general papers release on Australia & NZ, using Sodium Morphate to kill Norman Kirk, due to his supporting of an Anti-Monopoly Bill and Petroleum Amendment Bill. Or was that just a conspiracy theory? Internet is full of them. No idea tbh… and it is now so long ago… but it sounds like the sort of thing the CIA would have no qualms about doing.

        • Anne 6.1.1.1

          Norman Kirk had a heart condition which he successfully kept hidden from the public. He died of a heart-attack. There was no skulduggery of that sort, but the CIA was interfering in our politics in a big way and it continued beyond Kirk to include the Bill Rowling years.

  7. Bill 7

    Somewhat darkly…

    I agree with your takes here Mike – Russia! being used as a distraction on a few fronts; the playing of NZ public opinion so that the government can be “pulled into line” or adopt what might be taken to be the “correct” posture…

    Maybe it’s time to “do a Nelly” – ie, pack our trucks and be done with the whole circus of geo-political shenanigans?

    I understand the whole thing about snowballs and hell, but…essentially, NZ is in a pretty good place (both geographically and in terms of “development”) to open a front against the gross stupidities that are constantly being put on display by all nations engaging in and with the world’s international political (dis)order.

    If “Russia!” is being thrown out by various bit players who’d rather their domestic populations made like mushrooms while they got on pursuing “interests” unheeded, then I’d venture that almost everything else in whatever powerful political actor’s playbook, by both accident and design, is serving much the same role and purpose across all the world’s populations.

    There is the very real environment of global warming and climate change that may well have passed through a point (or points) of no return. And there is a manufactured environment of “how we do things” that all political and economic actors hold aloft and engage with as though it’s of sole or primary importance.

    You think there’s any chance that a NZ might call time on all the contrivances of the world’s nations and focus on, well… physics? Y’know, maybe a bit like how a parent might block out their child wailing and creating for an ice cream because “crossing busy road”?

    sigh – I guess we can always wait for a brown out in a fairly near future, scrape a slush ball from a defrosting freezer, and convince ourselves that snowballs and hell weren’t mutually exclusive after all… or that the slush ball in our hand is evidence that the hell in a wheelbarrow brigade were wrong.

  8. cleangreen 8

    Hi Mike;

    “The cold war” zealots are coming around for support from us looks like.

    Jacinda needs to stand firm and not get dragged into another far off war again.

    Leave Russia alone as “if it ain’t broke” don’t fix it”.

  9. Exkiwiforces 9

    Ok, Folks I have a 3 questions for you. I have no issue with NZ being a “Non-Align Nation, but we need to understand the “Pro’s and Con’s” if such a move did happen as sometimes it’s could better the “Devil you know” than the “Devil you don’t know” as the world is more inter- connected IRT’s to Trade and Commerce etc now than the last 40 odd yrs ago. To say that we are at the “Ass end of the World and what happens somewhere else in the world is none of our concern” is quite frankly a load of bollocks especially since NZ’s economy is purely an “Export led economy and the last 30 odd yrs of Neo Con/ Lib economic theory inflicted on NZ.

    Q1. If we go down the “Non- aligned route” without strengthening the NZDF and other elements of the Security/ Police Services and just relie on our diplomatic words and our overseas export and our importing trading partners.

    What happens if your Plan A fails, so what is are your Plan B or Plan C etc?

    Q2. If China (our largest trading partner in Asia) does somehow manage to force the closure or degrade maritime trade in the SCS. How would this effect our other major trading partners such as Taiwan, Sth Korea and Japan? And indirectly our other major trading partners such as the MER, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, other SEA nations and Western sea-broad of Canada and the US?

    What would be the overall effect of the NZ economy if this did happen?

    Q3. Would you support an increase Defence and Police/Security Forces and MFAT Budgets for a “Non- alignment Policy” especially since our major trading partners are not exactly down the road, by train or a at least a days travel by ship (where over 90% of all NZ’s exports or imports go by)?

    • Bill 9.1

      You realise that everything you’re referring to is going to be coming apart at the seams pretty soon, yes?

      Meaning that NZ can align with who-ever or what-ever, and NZ can take whatever measures in terms of defense and trade and what-not within the current framework of international relations…and it’s going to be counting for precisely zero in the face of physics coming a- knocking.

      • Exkiwiforces 9.1.1

        To answer your first question Bill, yes the current international norm’s are going to unravel sometime soon and when it does it happens it would happen quite quickly. I’m of the thinking, something similar to the start of WW1 which will leave NZ in the wind or becalm and very vulnerable to the power play/ politics of our bigger trading partners given the current state of our Defence/ Security Services and NZ’s Export led economy. Picking which side to back is going to be the hard one, is it the “Devil we know” or the “Devil we don’t know” which could be equally worst than option 1 or do we go for option 3?

        To answer your 2nd question Bill, I believe that NZ could go down the “Non Align” route and make it work quite successfully, but in NZ’s current state of affairs it won’t work as everything has been run into ground and no thanks to the last 30 odd yrs Neo Con/Lib economic theory in NZ. If NZ did take this option, then it would require a total revamp of the NZ does business, the overall following the economy, NZ Government Policy in all areas in particular towards Treasury, MAFT, Crown Research institutions, transportation (Rail, Road and Sea especially the MN) policy, the NZDF, Security/ Police Services and CD. At grass roots level/ personal level there will be need to a sense of community service for the greater of good for NZ similar to what you in the Nordic Countries, Austria or Singapore IRT National Service be it in NZDF, Security/ Police Services or CD.

        The other question is how much dosh are we be prepared to throw at the “Non-Align” Policy? Because it’s not going to be cheap and there is now wiggle room for short cuts either which NZ government tends to do on a regular basis. For staters just to protect, defend, deny the use of NZ’s Air- Sea Gap is going to huge and let alone convoy protection IOT maintain NZ’s economy, then there is MFAT and one only needs to look at Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland ( you could add the Thai’s and Vichy France) diplomacy during WW2 and the pressure place on them by the Allies and Axis Governments and the same could be said of the Security/ Police Forces As will.

        The other in the China shop is that totalitarian governments/ nations have a bad habit especially Asian ones at seeing “Non-Align” Nations as a sign of weakness so if NZ does adopt this option we must deal from a power of strength in diplomacy, economic and military strength, we must also be weary of democratic nations as well and we could quite easily get sucked into their vortex of double crossing.

        Option 4 Bill, is to pretend it’s not happening and it’s all a bad dream which seems to the current option taken by old Jandals and Winne atm. But giventhe current state of affairs on how run down NZ is atm it’s probably the only option and they appear to be playing for time like poor old Neville did in the late 30’s.

        I hope that answers your questions?

        • Mark 9.1.1.1

          The other in the China shop is that totalitarian governments/ nations have a bad habit especially Asian ones at seeing “Non-Align” Nations as a sign of weakness ….

          A cheap throwaway comment with nothing to back it up.

          Imperialism has a Western face, led by the USA, the most rapacious genocidal power in human history. And when evil disguises itself as good and points to good (or at least non-evil) as evil, that is evil that is completely irredeemable.

          • Exkiwiforces 9.1.1.1.1

            What about North Vietnam and China flouting Laos and Cambodia neutrality during the Vietnam War? Before we even start capping on about the US actions in Laos and Cambodia.

            Then we have the Japs conduct in WW2 IRT East Timor, Thailand and the Vichy French in Indochina and the same could be said about Australia in East Timor in WW2 as well.

            Then you have Nazi Germany IRT Belgium and Denmark’s neutrality in WW1 and WW2

          • francesca 9.1.1.1.2

            “led by the USA, the most rapacious genocidal power in human history”
            Also becoming notable for bucking the global trend of declining suicide rates
            China and Russia’s suicide rates have gone in to sharp decline in the last decade whereas The US has markedly increased

            https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/11/30/why-the-global-suicide-rate-is-falling

        • Ad 9.1.1.2

          I’d rather just keep relying largely on Australia.
          They have the government and society most closely aligned to ours.
          And they have the added bonus of owning much of us already.

          With whatever changes in the world coming up, as a very small and not well prepared nation, we are going to need all the help we can get.

        • Bill 9.1.1.3

          I was more “making an observation” – it’s like the kids (ie – the holders of institutional power in China, US, UK + everywhere else) are agitating and arguing over what flavour of ice cream they should get at the shop.

          Meanwhile, they’re seemingly oblivious to the fact they’re creating/playing up in the middle of a busy road and many tonnes of speeding, screeching metal is bearing down on them (and us).

          Why do we indulge them? Has anyone really got anything against any ordinary person from anywhere else?

          I’m saying “fuck the ice cream” – there’s more important and immediate shit deserving of our attention.

          • Exkiwiforces 9.1.1.3.1

            My apologies Bill, and yes I say “fuck the ice cream” as well and like there are important things to do at hand than partake in pissing or dick sizing comp atm.

            But unfortunately for us the big 5 and their deputies have better things do than address the more important things atm, with fidge players such as NZ are going to get caught in the vortex of their power plays in which no good would come out of it for either side.

            A Non-Align approach, if taken by NZ may or will work for us, but the big question how much is NZ prepared to pay for and even then we may end up the whirlpool of the big 5 pissing comp if the NZG of the day does a half ass job. Going on current tends by both parties (Labour and the “No Mates Party” it pretty good odds atm that they will do a half ass job no matter who’s in power.

  10. Gabby 10

    We don’t want to be limited to the trading partners the yankers graciously allow us.

  11. Mark 11

    Excellent article – well done Mike Smith.

    Some may or may not agree with their ideology, but this presentation provides the true context to what is happening in the world today:

    “The drive to war against Russia and China” is well worth an hour of your time

  12. Dennis Frank 12

    “The US has effectively declared war on China, Russia, Iran and North Korea by name.”
    Someone would only believe this if they were unable to tell the difference between war and robust diplomacy. No need to get hysterical about a stylistic difference between a US president and his predecessor.

    What concerns me is the G20 agenda: “G20 Argentina has put forth three agenda priorities for the G20 dialogue in 2018: the future of work, infrastructure for development and a sustainable food future. A number of attending countries have said they focus on the regulation of crypto-currencies at this meeting. Talks between the U.S. and China related to resolving the escalating 2018 China–United States trade war were a central issue of the summit.”

    So the top 20 countries don’t rate climate-change as a priority. No doubt we can be reassured that the threat of war between the US, Russia, and China, also didn’t rate as a priority. Even so, clearly the only priorities concerning the top countries are economy issues. Problems with business as usual, in other words…

    • Michael 12.1

      Agreed but what concerns me about the international order is how quickly and comprehensively its organising principles and norms have broken down. For a small, isolated bunch of commodity price-takers like us, that has to be a threat to our security, irrespective of which actors are to the forefront. Since 1945, NZ has hitched its wagon to an international order based on multilateral agreements (however imperfectly observed or enforced), albeit one heavily biased towards the interests of western nations (to which we belong in the eyes of the rest of the world, in spite of juvenile protestations to the contrary from some of us). It all reminds me of the Miletan dialogue in Thucydides: the strong do what they want while the weak do whatever they can. I think we are about to find out what that means in a 21st-century context.

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