Blog No 192.
Clark interview Helen Clark interview: Geoffrey Palmer’s comment says it all – joining the Five Eyes was in no way a democratic decision – we now need one to get us out. 4 minute read
Not totally subservient NZ did’t join other Five Eyes members protests over Hong-Kong: It should be noted that Peters, as NZ Foreign Minister, made a similar protest – but a day later than the others – and thus avoided the displeasure of the USA coordinators. 4 minute read
Mission creep Mission creep: 3 minute read
Five Eyes historic A well-informed New Zealander puts the Five Eyes in perspective: 3 minute read.
New Zealand has a major problem with its defence policies. At a time of heightened international tension and nuclear danger its leaders are about to be faced with a choice which, if wrong, could well see its society in tatters. The USA, to whose military alliance and through its membership of the Five Eyes alliance, NZ is firmly committed, has embarked on a cold war against China, NZ’s main trading partner. At some stage, NZ is likely to be asked to choose between its current ‘security’ policy and its future prosperity and well-being. There appears to be little or no public debate about this life or death choice – and little evidence of a serious, informed discussion taking place in the political circles that will be faced with the decision. NZ looks as though it is drifting towards possible disaster.
Australia appears to have firmly committed itself to the Anglosphere’s cold war (and impending hot war?) against China. The last time it appears to have had an independent foreign policy was under Gough Whitlam. The UK-USA alliance brought that to a rapid close. Pilger 4 minute read
New Zealand, under David Lange in the 1980s, supported by a popular desire to disconnect from the nuclear arms folly, escaped from the ANZUS treaty that had tied it to being defended (supposedly from communist aggression) by the USA’s nuclear shield. Lange was forced to appease the immense wrath he had provoked in Anglophone capitals by his refusal to play their Cold War game. Unwittingly, he was deceived into allowing entry into NZ of what has proved to be a Trojan horse. By joining the ‘all white’ (supremacist?) Five Eyes alliance and allowing the construction of the Waihopai spy-station, he in effect, handed New Zealand’s foreign policy back into American control.
With the National Party’s subsequent gutting of the NZ diplomatic service, NZ governments became blind in matters of foreign intelligence and thus heavily reliant on briefings given to them by their Five Eye partners. Alongside this stream of impossible-to-tell-how-distorted reality, the mainstream media in Australia and New Zealand has long been controlled by the likes of Conrad Black, his successors at Fairfax, Robert Murdoch and others, deeply committed to and penetrated by the intelligence and propaganda agencies of the UK and USA. In short, it has become almost impossible for antipodean politicians to think relevant thoughts, uncontaminated by visions of reality that have been conjured up overseas – and not with their own countries’ best interests in mind.
Were NZ’s decision makers able to free themselves of the conformity pressures of the other members of the Anglophone alliance, they would have an alternative. They don’t have to keep on heading in the current direction. They don’t, as is now being demanded, have to commit ever more fully to the now being ramped up cold war for the military and economic containment (and ultimate impoverishment and even dismemberment?) of China.
The available alternative is to opt for joining the majority of NZ’s southern hemisphere, Pacific island and Asian neighbours in the Non-aligned Nations Movement. Countries, not members of the Five Eye network, still flourish outside its magic-circle. Intelligence gained through a reinvigorated diplomatic service and better relations with the non-aligned grouping could compensate NZ for loss of the tainted intelligence currently provided.
Of course, everyone will lose if the confrontation with China that the USA and UK seem so eager to provoke, degenerates into a hot war. Being on the winning side in this conflict, even should it manage to remain cold, would not bode well for NZ.
The consequences of NZ participation in a western alliance cold war victory, to the extent that China was humiliated and its economic growth stunted, would be that NZ would lose its main trading partner and would be doomed to languish in a less than optimal technological environment. At the same time, buoyed by the recent triumph, the alliance would continue to call on NZ to join in ever more military and economic adventures designed to increase the wealth of a minority American elite at the expense of the rest of humanity.
Alternatively, a realistic appraisal of the situation would show that remaining a member of the Five Eye alliance and condoning its zero sum, winner-takes-all game, would leave NZ at risk of finding itself on the losing side – with numerous adverse consequential possibilities. From a pragmatic viewpoint, it is a risk NZ does not have to take. From a moral viewpoint, it is a risk NZ shouldn’t take. From a rational point of view, it is a risk unjustified by the facts.
The goal of the western alliance flies in the face of current realities and is most unlikely to be achieved. The leadership of the alliance appears far less able to arrive at coherent policies than its Chinese counterpart. If it were chess being played, who would back team Boris, Donald and Scomo v. team Vladimir and Xi? Similarly, to judge by the current pandemic, the constitutional arrangements of the communalist tending Asian countries appear to offer significantly more hope of effectively managing the increasing number of crises that are coming down the track, than the more individualistic, libertarian democracies of the West.
From the military point of view, despite the absurd levels of expenditure being born by western tax-payers, the Chinese-Russian alliance appears secure within Halford Mackinder’s ‘Heartland,’ a landmass that is largely impregnable to invaders from its periphery. Furthermore, despite its far lower expenditure, the Russo-Chinese bloc’s military has already achieved technological parity with the west (and arguably, superiority in the key field of missile capability.)
Provided the kinetic war that both sides would lose, is avoided, statistical projections in the fields of GDP growth, education, health, investment and manufacturing output, leave little doubt as to the relative positions the two opposed societies will occupy a couple of decades hence. (Given that trade wars are invariably a lose-lose, the arms races and the trade restrictions that look set to develop, will adversely affect both parties to the cold war. It is therefore unlikely that their relative positions, as outlined in the hyperlinks below, will be much altered.) (You can skip the ads after 4 seconds.)
GDP Growth Watch China’s GDP growth from 1980 onward – compare the rate of growth with that of the western allies: 2 minute watch
Education Educational results for schoolchildren. In 1950 only 20% of the Chinese population were literate – today it is above 99%: 1 minute read
Graduates Graduate results: 1 minute read
Manufacturing Manufacturing output: 2 minute watch
Patents Patent applications. China doesn’t appear among the top twenty until the 1980s. In 2019 it overtakes the USA: 2 minute watch
Exports Exports China doesn’t appear until 1995: 2 minute watch
Renewables Renewable energy. China doesn’t appear until 1996. In 2017 it overtakes the USA: 2 minute watch
Infrastructure Rail Infrastructure high speed trains: 4 minute watch
Infrastructure motorways Infrastructure motorway network: 2 minute watch
Defence Military expenditure. China first appears in 1917. US expenditure soars after 1990 and the collapse of its USSR adversary. Thereafter, while Chinese growth expands, it never approaches anywhere close to the USA. It is not hard to work out which country is the aggressor and which the defender. Looking at the total wealth expended on the military, one can only weep that humanity has not yet devised a global system of security that would give nations confidence to stop squandering money in this profitless manner: 2 minute watch
While there is no shortage of indications that the western alliance is aggressive and its conduct towards other nations and multilateral organisations is almost invariably selfish, the same cannot be said of China. It would be impossible to argue that the western alliance’s military and economic warfare operations that it conducts beyond its frontiers are carried out in self-defence. On the other hand, such an argument could readily be applied in the case of China. Where its military is deployed, it is almost invariably in its own border disputes. (China has just five military bases in foreign countries – as opposed to the USA’s 39 and the UK’s 17.) In such disputes, China is almost certainly made more adamant than it would otherwise be, were it not being threatened by the west’s hostility. Here it is worth pointing out that the 9 dash line which forms the basis of China’s now disputed expansion into the South China Sea, was drawn up by the Chinese Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek with full American approval. India’s current border dispute with China is evidence not of Chinese aggression but of Indian. Here is what a former senior Indian diplomat has to say on the conflict Himalaya conflict (4 minute read.)
Both China and Russia argue for a multi-polar world, respect for multilateral institutions and the observance of international law. The Washington consensus disrespects multi-lateral institutions when it fails to suborn them to its own purposes, and argues for a unipolar world and for an exceptionalist freedom from the observance of international law. If there had to be a nation-based hegemon, the non-aligned, would be likely to find a Chinese hegemon infinitely more benign that the west, with its history of colonisation, racial discrimination and exploitation.
The USA is brutally abusing the exceptional power over the global financial markets that it achieved, as a consequence of a war fought 75 years ago, to punish, impoverish and extort obeisance. (Combined, the US Treasury Department, the Commerce Department and the State Department list embargoes against 30 countries or territories: Afghanistan, Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, China (PR), Côte d’Ivoire, Crimea Region, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Fiji, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea, Palestinian Territories, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe.) This recent report perfectly illustrates how our current allies conduct themselves in regard to other populations. Syrian agony 3 minute read
China imposes sanctions on no other nation and cannot be shown to make any deliberate moves to harm the welfare of foreign populations. Absent, western hostility, there is no good reason to doubt that China would make a helpful and responsible member of the community of nations. This is what the Chinese constitution has to say on the matter. China world view 5 minute read.
By remaining in the USA’s embrace, New Zealand is condoning the aggression and multiple torts and rorts against other nations committed by the brotherhood of white nations that is at the core of the western alliance. By leaving it, NZ might encourage other allies of the West to move away from their commitment to international criminality. It will certainly give pause for thought to the driving forces behind the western urge to global hegemony before they feel so confident in their assault that they push their luck too far and fall into a kinetic conflict.
Recommended reading: For the rise of Asia, there are multiple works – a starting point would be Peter Frankopan’s ‘The New Silk Roads’ or Parag Khanna’s ‘The Future is Asian.’