So with this bloody insurrection in Syria, for example, the NZ Foreign Minister will go along with the bigger Western nations - in this case Aussie - in kicking out the diplomats. This seems laudable and just given the reported regime massacre of civilians, including children, but why have they waited so long? What about the (estimated) 10,000+ killed up to that point? Power politics.
The same sort of politics that kept Muzza schtum when the Israelis invaded and bombarded Gaza with chemical weapons and killed over a thousand. The result of that Isreali aggression was that his government soon afterwards welcomed the opening of an Israeli Embassy in Wellington! Two very different sets of values and outcomes dependent on whether or not that Middle Eastern regime is backed by the US or not. Israel is - to the point of being the 51st State, Syria is not - to the point of being designated evil.
The gloves are coming off now the UN has monitors collecting hard evidence of Assad's hostility and oppression. Unfortunately various regimes through history - and many in the Middle East - have gone on despite the majority of a country being occupied by "rebels". As long as the regime retains solid core support from their own tribes, the party and the military/security leadership it may be possible for them to ride it out and re-take the areas in rebellion. At this point external pressure may tilt the balance towards the rebels and this is what is hoped from this latest round of diplomatic activity. The Western countries are hoping Russia and China will stop running interference for Assad and this latest move will edge that one step closer.
New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has backed Australia's decision to expel a Syrian diplomat who was also accredited to New Zealand.
At least nine countries around the world have moved to expel Syrian diplomats over the "hideous and brutal" massacre in Houla of more than 100 people.
The Syrian charge d'affairs in Australia Jawdat Ali - who is also accredited to New Zealand - was notified of the decision to expel him and one other diplomat a day after he was called in to meet with officials over the killings.
Mr MrCully said he had discussed the decision with his Australian counterpart Bob Carr.
He said New Zealand has been a strong supporter of international action to resolve the crisis, providing six New Zealand Defence Force personnel to the UN Supervision Mission in Syria.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr told journalists yesterday said the expulsion was "the most effective way we've got of sending a message of revulsion to the Syrian government".
NZ is participating in a constructive way and although the monitoring seems hopeless and ineffective right now their presence and the information they are verifying is potentially very potent.
Since his comments, the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands have also expelled their Syrian envoys.
Mr Carr said the international response could include referrals to the International Criminal Court and imposing UN sanctions such as an arms embargo as well as financial and travel restrictions on identified individuals.
UN-Arab envoy Annan, who will seek to salvage his battered Syrian peace plan during "frank'' talks with Assad, called the massacre in the central town "an appalling moment with profound consequences.''
The former UN chief said those responsible must be held to account, and urged "everyone with a gun'' to abide by his six-point blueprint to help end 15 months of bloodshed.
Problem is for Annan is that it isn't as easy or simple as just a cease-fire. As soon as the regime's forces withdraw or stop firing (if they could be trusted to do so), the rebels - without such orgainsed discipline - will inevitably breach and thus give an excuse for a continuation of the regime's onslaught. It seems deadlocked at this point, however so was Libya.