Blog No.200: Part I: War & Apathy

This is the 200th Blog since I sat down in October 2014, to write Blog No 1. Looking back, I realise that I have been writing as much for the sake of clarifying my own thoughts in regard to international relations, as for clarifying those of the limited numbers, who actually read what I have written.

 Much has happened over this time. On the domestic front the change has been very much for the better. In New Zealand, we have replaced a partisan and greedy, neo-liberal government that finally set NZ’s, once egalitarian society, on the road to becoming one of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ John Key’s National Party was up to join any war and to adopt any policy that might earn NZ companies a buck or two and, most importantly, earn favour in Washington.

 Now, New Zealand is entering the second three-year term of a Labour led MMP government. This time, however, there is no junior coalition partner as, though the Labour party and the Greens will remain on good terms, Labour has enough seats to govern on its own and prefers to use the cabinet seats in its gift to reward its own. The brake on coalition policy imposed by the right-wing, NZ First party, as a third member of Labour’s previous coalition, has been removed. According to past performance and statements of intent, New Zealanders recognize and are hoping that the new Labour government will still be responsive to Green policies in regard to the climate and will place value on the welfare of all its citizens while striving to be a constructive contributor to the international community. (Striving’ has to be the word as one cannot help but feel the new government will find itself acutely lacking in foreign and defence expertise.)

In contrast to the National government, Labour is far more open to the influence of Maori and Pacifika cultures and fully aware of the impending climate crisis. It will, within the limited domestic options available to it and the limits of the politically possible, adopt appropriate mitigating and adaptive measures. In its previous term, it successfully coped with a disastrous volcanic eruption, a brutal act of white-power terrorism and placed New Zealand in an exemplary position in regard to its countering of the Covid pandemic.

Where it failed, is on the international front. It will be interesting to see if this latest coalition is more willing than its predecessor to attempt the removal of the constraints imposed upon it by its membership of the aggressive and US dominated, western ‘alliance.’

Ever since the end of the ideologically driven Cold War, when a peace-bonus should have been declared, this group of nations, clustered around the USA and other, former, white colonial powers, has actively sought out fresh conflicts and markets to feed the profit-appetite of its defence, security, intelligence, war equipment and services industries. In the USA, where this interest group has gained the most leverage, these profit-making institutions, between them, wastefully absorb over 50% of the US government’s entire tax-take.  In 2018 alone, the USA, geographically secure from any threat of foreign invasion and citing threats posed by both China and Russia as justification , increased its defence budget by approx. USD80 billion, a sum greater than the total of Russia’s defence budget.

In the 1980s, NZ’s Labour government made the heroic move of quitting the US owned ANZUS treaty and the ‘guaranteed security,’ supposed to exist under the panoply of the USA’s vast nuclear armoury. In all innocence of what it was letting NZ in for, a small clique within the Labour cabinet, with no public consultation, felt obliged to sweeten the bitter pill it was asking the US to swallow.

Thus it allowed the US intelligence community to establish a Five Eyes eavesdropping facility on NZ soil. With hindsight, it can be seen that the Five Eyes facilities served as a Trojan horse that enabled its hidden garrison to gradually take effective control of New Zealand’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS.) Under the Key government, the NZ diplomatic service , as the intelligence agencies’ main competitor, was effectively disemboweled. Given that access to information is access to power, the NZ government has subsequently lost much of its freedom of diplomatic initiative.

Year by year NZ, has become steadily more deeply involved in the American Industrial-Military-Congressional (MIC) triangle’s drive to expand its market. New Zealand has sent its armed forces to provide a fig-leaf of international respectability to the illegal US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Most military bases in NZ are now dependent on the subsidiaries of American MIC companies for their operational support services (BOSS.)

Recently NZ’s Labour-led coalition government, having given NZ First, its former, junior and right-wing partner, responsibility for defence, has allowed New Zealand soil to be used for the launch of American military satellites. New, expensive upgrades of the NZ armed forces’ weaponry and its operational procedures are designed to ensure ease of interoperability between New Zealand forces and those of the US and its allies. This has to be in anticipation of whatever new conflicts into which its US dominated intelligence assessments might persuade the NZ Government to become embroiled.

Now, fresh from the huge profits generated by its manufactured ‘war on terror,’ the MIC’s most recent and most ambitious market development gambit, a military and commercial confrontation with the two great, ex-communist powers of Eurasia, is starting to endanger the whole of humanity. The NZ public and its leaders remain largely in ignorance of the reality of this change of course and its dire implications.

Were they to realise the full extent of the current peril, the NZ parliament would uncharacteristically, be debating foreign policy (and no doubt, revealing how uninformed most MPs are on the subject.)  In addition, as they were at  the  time of nuclear testing in the Pacific, New Zealand’s streets would be full of the protesters who, on that occasion,  brought about NZ’s stringent anti-nuclear legislation that still clearly demarcates the fundamental conflict between NZ’s and the USA’s ambitions.

No doubt, the paragraphs above and what follows in the four further parts to this blog will raise questions for readers who haven’t fully ingested the contents of Khakispecs’ 199 preceding blogs! Make a comment, or send me an email and I will attempt to reply to any points you might like to raise. In Parts II-V of this blog, I will attempt to answer four questions.

  1. What is the MIC?
  2. What is the current peril?
  3. Why don’t we recognize it?
  4. What is to be done?
Something to add? Please leave a comment in the box below

One thought on “Blog No.200: Part I: War & Apathy

  1. Richard England says:

    I strongly agree with these ideas.

    I see the military-industrial-espionage complex as being engaged in life-or-death conflict, not with “the enemy”, but with all other public institutions of their own country in a scramble for the taxpayers’ money. These include the diplomatic service; social services for those in urgent need; public health, and critically, the taxpayer-funded public education system. The last is the most important because it keeps the nation’s pool of talent large, and stops it shrinking drastically. The drastically shrinking talent pool in the US and UK, the cause of their decline, is a direct consequence of the draining of taxpayer funds by special interests, most importantly, by the military-industrial-espionage complex. Talent in history is also grievously damaged by the complex’s need to befuddle the public into believing its next victims are dangerous aggressors and not the other way round.

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