Mr Key goes to Washington and all he brought us back was these lousy Marines
Marines will receive 'NZ's gratitude'
The Pentagon has agreed to send a group of Marines to New Zealand next year after an invitation from Prime Minister John Key. Mr Key also invited the United States to consider sending a Coast Guard ship.
With China focused like the eye of Mordor on NZ with attempts to buy our Farm lands, donating $200 000 to the National Party and attempts to set up a new political party in NZ all via 'Natural Dairy NZ', America have woken up and realized China is flexing their muscle into a sphere of influence here in NZ they had always taken for granted, so all of a sudden America wants to be our best friends forever.
The real game will be how NZ plays America off against China. China need us to test their lowest cost capitalism out here in NZ, I say we let them. Let's have them rebuild NZ, not just Christchurch, let them into rebuild all our infrastructure, broadband, new public transport, the latest green technology - THE LOT! But how do we do that without them bribing our Political Parties and interfering with the political process, we don't want to be a South Pacific version of Tibet.
When will we see a symbolic American ship visit? Obama wants to come to NZ, how about an invite to the 'white fleet' of the Coast Guard - that way we would know the ships don't have any nuclear powered engines or weapons, and this is pretty much what National have tried to achieve.
America sees NZ as their sphere of influence and the sudden intense interest by China makes them nervous, as the two battle it out for undisputed global super power, how does NZ play one of against the other?
I asked David Cunliffe his views on this last weekend...
With the Washington Consensus economic hegemonic structure grinding against the Beijing Consensus, how does NZ chart a course between the two?
It's a bit like the ant caught between two mating elephants. Heaven for us is being on good terms with both of those superpowers and hell would be being on good terms with neither of them and that will involve a tricky dance at times, but we are lucky that we have the foundations for that. Relations with the US currently are good with the Obama Administration taking a broad view of regional politics and of course our relationship with the People's Republic of China is excellent given that we are the first Western country with whom they've successfully negotiated a free trade agreement and in the last couple of years the exports to China have doubled and we expect that to continue. There's a reasonable amount of bi-partisan consensus between the two major parties that we have to be reasonably open to international trade, but on the Labour side we don't think that means we have to completely throw open the kimono. Sorry about the mixed geographic metaphors.
An issue coming up will be the Trans Pacific Partnership with the US and 7 other countries. At the moment I'm very worried about it because the US are not putting on the table sufficient upside for us in the area of access for dairy and meat products, and at the same time the US Pharmaceutical industry is playing very hard ball on trying to open up our Pharmac. I dare say that if it was put on the table in its current form it would not get through the Labour Caucus and I doubt it would get through the NZ Parliament so there better be some pretty fast work by the negotiators on the TTP if there is not we could be looking at a bit of a break with US. I hope that's not the case.
Is John Key playing up to the Americans with the kite flying over the Marines coming to NZ? Is this America wanting to mark its turf in the Pacific as China looms? Does that explain the heavy handed Free Trade deal that John Key is promising billions from?
I think that John Key never met a photo op he didn't like and I think he wants to go with something to the White House that will appeal to them and putting the Marines back into NZ is something I think NZers ought to think very carefully about, because it says one of two things, one is that we want to rejoin a military alliance with the US and I don't think that is the majority view in NZ. I think NZers are very comfortable about us being very good friends with the US as we are with others in the region, so an out and out military alliance? I think we need to think again about that.
The second reason for doing it is if there was an immediate and approximate threat that we needed defence from, and unless he's talking about clapped out rust bucket refugee boats from Indonesia that are suddenly going to surf a wave down to NZ, I'm not sure what threat that would be. Can I just remind everyone that it's not the first time a conservative Prime Minister has tried to evoke refugee boats. Mr Howard did in Australia, he tried to fan the flames of fear about migrants as a re-election ploy and I think we are seeing that here.
That aside, I think that people need to have a careful think about the implications of putting a whole lot of US Marines back on NZ soil.
...if NZ is to benefit most between the friction of China and America, we need to understand what is driving that friction and where should position ourselves. NZ should be for NZers, NZ shouldn't be for China or America.