Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


After East Timor where will we make peace next?


After F16s, after East Timor where will we make peace next?

Let’s be real careful about feeling good about east Timor.

Where do we go from here is where the pain lies.

We have done very well in East Timor and Bougainville and have won a few brownie points with our neighbours in getting involved, but let’s not rush into assuming that we should duplicate this effort elsewhere. In Bougainville we were peace brokers and keepers, in East Timor we are peacemakers and there in lies the vital difference.

The crisis in East Timor happened because of the disintegration of the Indonesian state as president Suharto aged and the economy crashed, along with the other Asian tigers. Australia was not slow in moving on its immediate strategic interest of the gas-fields in the Timor Sea. In the few months prior to the APEC conference in Auckland there was a massive military exercise called Crocodile ’99 going on in northern Australia, so it was not at all surprising that there was such an effective military operation that New Zealand participated in to secure East Timor.

Now, when we are contemplating what sort of military equipment our armed forces need, we should be careful not to in effect participate in the burgeoning Asian arms race, as seen between China and Taiwan and between Japan and North Korea. If we decide to convert our military to a US marines style force so as to replicate our success in East Timor, we must ask ourselves where possibly would we be deploying them after East Timor.

We did not need a US marine-style force in Bougainville, indeed such a force would have been counter-productive. Should Fiji or The Solomons or Samoa become “unstable” would we contemplate sending in our marines? Most certainly not. A Bougainville-style response would be advisable and more appropriate to our past relations with those countries.

So where would our marines be useful? Perhaps in the other Indonesian hotspots such as Aceh, Riau, Irian Jaya. This scenario is vastly different to Bougainville and raises the question, would we even want to increase our engagement in what would be the further disintegration of Indonesia? In whose interest would be we sending our marines further into the Indonesian archipelago?

Choosing between F16s, attack-helicopters, C-130s, APCs options is so much more that picking the best possible military hardware. We must be very clear where we are heading when we start tip-toeing through those particular tulips.

Phil Doherty


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


27-29 Sept: Social Enterprise World Forum Live Blog

1600+ delegates from more than 45 countries have came together to share wisdom, build networks and discuss how to create a more sustainable future using social enterprise as a vehicle. Attending the Forum were social enterprise practitioners, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, community leaders, investors, activists, academics and more from across the globe... More>>

HiveMind Report: A Universal Basic Income For Aotearoa NZ

Results from this HiveMind suggests that an overwhelming majority of Kiwis believe that due to changing circumstances and inefficiencies in the current system, we need a better system to take care of welfare of struggling members in our society. More>>


Scoop Hivemind: Medical Cannabis - Co-Creating A Policy For Aotearoa

Welcome to the fourth and final HiveMind for Scoop’s Opening the Election campaign for 2017. This HiveMind explores the question: what would a fair, humane and safe Medical Cannabis policy look like for Aotearoa, NZ in 2018? More>>


Lyndon Hood: Notes On National’s Election Campaign, In Poem Form

Nationyl’s bitumen-ing / As they du du / Seed groweth / River floweth / Then ‘dozer drives thru / Highway ensu. More>>