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Cablegate: Australian Regional Security Remarks Get No Reaction From

VZCZCXRO3894
RR RUEHAP RUEHNZ RUEHPB RUEHPT
DE RUEHWL #0568/01 2191941
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071941Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHNZ/AMCONSUL AUCKLAND 1424
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 4906
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY 0558
RUEHBN/AMCONSUL MELBOURNE 0101
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 0020
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0346
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0665
RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA 0609
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0258
RUEHAP/AMEMBASSY APIA 0372
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0639
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0058
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR 0179
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 0499
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 0533
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0083
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4540
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 WELLINGTON 000568

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR D (FRITZ), EAP/FO, AND EAP/ANP
NSC FOR VICTOR CHA
SECDEF FOR OSD/ISD LIZ PHU
PACOM FOR J01E/J2/J233/J5/SJFHQ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV NZ
SUBJECT: AUSTRALIAN REGIONAL SECURITY REMARKS GET NO REACTION FROM
GNZ

REF: A. CANBERRA 1021B. CANBERRA 1020

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The July 5 Australian White Paper on
and expressions of willingness by both Australian Prime Minister
John Howard and Australia's Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd to deploy
the military to help stabilize the Pacific region has not yet
received an official reaction from the New Zealand Government.
However, these Australian comments underscore fundamental
differences in the defense strategies of New Zealand and Australia
in the Pacific.
New Zealand regional security experts have told post that the
instability in the immediate Pacific region helps
forge a complementary relationship between Australia and
NZ that actually has benefits for the greater region and thus ensure
its prolonged existence. They cautioned, however, that the very
challenges to bring the two countries together in a uniform strategy
of regional stability will not be easily resolved. End Summary

BACKGROUND: Australia's DOD 2207 Defense Update
--------------------------------------------- --

3. (SBU) Australian Prime Minister John Howard has used
the July 5 release of the Australian Department of Defense's 2007
Defense Update to speak publicly about Australia's strategic future
and implications for its national security policy (see ref A).
Howard stated that the prospect of failed states, terrorism,
transnational crime, and mass migration of refugees in Australia's
Pacific neighborhood all represented a substantial threat to his
country's national security. Howard further noted that such crises
in the region would require that his government continue to employ
it's actively
interventionist policy of using both Australia's soft power, in the
form of aid programs and humanitarian relief, and its hard power, in
the form of direct military intervention, to address regional
instability.

4. (SBU) In outlining the opposition party's regional security
policies (ref B), Australian Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd offered a
similar assessment regarding the threats facing Australia. Like
Howard, Rudd also vowed to commit Australia military resources to
intervene in the Pacific region if elected Prime Minister. Rudd,
however, gave greater weight to employing Australia's soft power
to stabilize and secure the region. Rudd supports
regional aid programs and humanitarian relief, but wants to goes
further than Howard on soft power. Rudd advocates a greater hands-on
"winning-the-hearts-and-minds" approach where Australia directly
intervenes at a community level in affected Pacific states to help
alleviate shortfalls in such areas as education, healthcare and
economic development.

No official reaction from GNZ as yet
------------------------------------

5. (SBU) The GNZ has not yet publicly reacted to either Howard's or
Rudd's statements, or even the Australian Department of Defense's
2007 Defense Update. According to
a New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade official there
is no plan to do so in the near term.
Even in a speech by Minster of Defence Phil Goff to the
New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College, delivered a
week after the release of the White Paper,
no reference was made to the either the Howard or Rudd statements or
to Australia's regional security policy.

WELLINGTON 00000568 002 OF 003


Post has been told off the record that the lack of an official
response or comment from GNZ should not be construed as opposition
to views espoused.

NZ-Australia divergent in method, convergent in principle
--------------------------------------------- ------------

6. (SBU) Howard's statement about Australia's strategic future did,
however, underline the clear differences in
the defense outlooks of New Zealand and Australia in the Pacific.
Whereas Australia prefers a stronger military component to missions
in the region, New Zealand traditionally gives more emphasis to the
police and civilian-led components of these endeavors.

7. (SBU) In many cases, the disparity in New Zealand and Australian
defense methodologies is shaped by availability of resources.
Although NZ's defense resources have increased over time, it is
limited compared to that of Australia's. New Zealand's defence and
foreign policies also reflect the views of the Government of the
day. The centre-left Labour-led Government firmly believes in
multilateralism and multiculturalism. Since coming to power in
1999, it has worked to re-configure the NZ Defence Force (NZDF) to
take advantage of what its regards are innate NZDF strengths - its
multicultural nature (many
in the NZ armed services are of Maori origin and Maori
culture of deeply interwoven in NZ military life) and
good pre-deployment training. These traits particularly predispose
the NZDF to being sensitive towards local Pacific populations and
winning their trust and support. Thus, in the eyes of the GNZ, New
Zealand is particularly well- suited to support peacekeeping
operations. The GNZ believes that by better focusing on what the
NZDF can do well, it can achieve results.

7. (SBU) Post sought the opinion of two prominent New Zealand
regional security experts, Peter Cozens and Dr. Lance Beath, in
order to better determine a New Zealand reaction to the Howard and
Rudd statements. Both
analysts said they were not surprised by the content of both
statements. They noted that the statements served to underline that,
although the respective approaches of Australia and New Zealand may
appear to differ greatly, Canberra's ultimate goal of stabilizing
the South Pacific also mirrors Wellington's.

Analysts still expect continued teamwork in Pacific
--------------------------------------------- ------

8. (SBU) Despite not pursuing identical paths in force structure,
development and defense/security philosophy, Beath, a former New
Zealand Ministry of Defence official and diplomat and now an
academic at Victoria University
of Wellington, told Post that there still can be effective
cooperation despite the divergence in strategy. Despite
the differences in the two countries' means, Beath
believes that the New Zealand-Australia strategic defense
relationship is a sound co-habitation and that the two governments
will continue to proceed in unison to address the vital strategic
problems in their Pacific neighborhood.

9. (SBU) As evidence of desiring similar outcomes, Beath noted that,
given Australian concerns about what some
of its political leaders and leading analysts have called the 'arc
of instability' in it's Pacific neighborhood,
New Zealand's small, balanced Defense Force can be especially useful
as a complement to Australia's richer military resources.

WELLINGTON 00000568 003 OF 003

10. (SBU) Cozens, Director of the Centre of Strategic Studies, a
Wellington-based think-tank that focuses on
New Zealand's strategic security environment, believes
that the strategic partnership has come into its own in
the last decade, as Wellington and Canberra have responded jointly
to Pacific security challenges. He believes that the seemingly
constant stream of security challenges occurring in the closer
region will place a premium on cooperation. These challenges,
whilst disadvantageous
for a number of Pacific countries, are conversely helpful for
superior New Zealand-Australia strategic cooperation, conspiring to
strengthen rather than harm the New Zealand-Australia strategic
partnership.

11. (SBU) With security challenges in the region
continuing to fester and new ones appearing in a seemingly regular
basis, both experts agree that it would be imprudent to assume the
challenges which drive this elevated Trans-Tasman strategic working
relationship
will not easily be resolved.

Keegan

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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