By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Co-Editor
New Zealand’s nuclear free policy is the first rung on a long ladder leaning toward securing a free trade deal with the United States. Most certainly New Zealand will also be required to embrace the international law breaking U.S. policy of ‘Pre-emptive Defence’.
Compliance with U.S. foreign policy will be assumed.
Should New Zealand pursue this course, the only consequence possible will be a country of insignificance and disgrace. With international justice ideals cast aside, abandonment of the Clark-Government’s hard earned social justice brand, New Zealand’s independent voice on international affairs would be exhausted handing the United States a siphon to sap the country’s moral self-respecting identity.
This weekend's meetings, of the Republican Six, in Auckland’s Sheraton Hotel with New Zealand Ministry of Trade representatives was no more than a preliminary exchange of musts and what-ifs. Assertions by Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff that New Zealand is playing ‘its part’ in U.S. global military operations is concerning. Certainly, the United States trade boffins will have interpreted Goff’s statement as a beginning point in NZ/U.S. trade negotiations.
It will be this assertion that the six-man Republican team will herald once back in Washington.
Pre-emptive defence is cited within the September 2002 National Security Strategy document, implemented by George W. Bush, as course to militarily strike foreign nations that are believed by the U.S. president to pose risks to United States global dominance.
The National Security Strategy is the blueprint that gave Bush license to abandon the required United Nations authorisation of an invasion of Iraq. International law was consequently broken as the United States president created rogue-state precedence, invaded Iraq on falsified claims that the oil-rich nation contained, and was prepared to use, weapons of mass destruction against the USA and/or its ‘friends’.
The National Security Strategy renders the UN Charter’s article 51 as meaningless, forges the U.S.’s right to wage “preventative war” against another nation, a concept advanced by expressing rhetorically ‘imminent danger’ fears with a purpose to mask the USA’s true motives - as was demonstrably clear during U.S. justifications on invading Iraq. Iraq, it is safer to realise, is a precedence setting operation, not an end.
Beyond the grand strategy lies abandonment of universally accepted rules of justice. The denial of human rights, including the absence of charges, and rights to possess detail of accusations justifying one’s imprisonment erodes the fundamental principles of which the so called free world once held sacrosanct.
Those held gagged, hooded, bound, beaten as sub-human in a legal no-man’s-land classified as ‘enemy combatants’ at Guantanamo prison camp has drawn scorn from even the U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general in a report that the Bush Administration chose to ignore.
The state of the U.S. union is such to convince that it has abandoned the ideals laid down by its founding fathers. The current litany of abuse is long, continues daily inside the United States, Iraq, Afghanistan, on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere.
For New Zealand to willingly oblige this rogue-superpower with compliance at what must be its lowest point of moral standing is simply shallow and unbecoming of a country such as ours, founded in modern times on ideals of global peace, international justice, and recourse for those who fall victims to tyranny. New Zealand’s nuclear free legislation is surely a more worthy and enduring national identity than 15 men in black jerseys fumbling after a rugby ball. This mantel is worth preserving.
Indeed it is time to counter U.S. demands of what New Zealand must do to enter a free-trade-pact. New Zealand now has an opportunity to cite what the U.S. must relinquish to become a union worthy of friendly-nation status.