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NZ Left Out of the AUKUS Military Initiative

NZ Left Out of the AUKUS Military Initiative that was Not Formed for Defence

By Mark Rais

The recently announced military alliance between the United States, the United Kingdom, and the government of Australia is related to strategic and vital sales of naval weapons capability and not a unique new defence strategy.

There is significant rhetoric whereby some New Zealand media are calling for an end to our nuclear policy to ensure we are not left out of these military alliances. The recent remarks go so far as to suggest that New Zealand being left out of the AUKUS (Australia, UK, US) alliance poses a threat to our safety.

To these particular idealists I submit that neither the United States nor Australia have any documented plans to provide military protection for New Zealand in the event of a regional conflict or direct invasionary threat.

This is based on the strategic principal whereby any expansive conflict that involves New Zealand directly, would have already engaged both the United States and Australia.

The belief that during theatre wide conflict either nation will redirect operational forces to assist New Zealand is naïve at best. Their own strategic initiatives would focus on aggressively confronting enemy forces at their homelands or countering any engagement against existing strategic posts, seen as essential for winning the war.

Therefore, it is a more reasonable strategic position for New Zealand to posture as primarily neutral, and not engage in any direct conflict -- given both its military expenditure levels and the likelihood that a regional Pacific conflict will immediately be robust and multinational.

The United States has and will likely continue to call on New Zealand SoG community and other specialised services if and when needed. This has been and continues to be a more strategic and functional cooperation.

Moreover, if a regional conflict were to break out, it is conceivable that New Zealand being excluded from the AUKUS military alliance potentially offers a better opportunity for defence and de-escalation.

A superficial review of the primary players in the South Pacific region, including Japan and the Philippines, helps to contextualise the vastness and intensity of any regional conflict, were it to break out.

There is little possibility that any direct military engagement in this part of the world would remain minor. The AUKUS alliance validates this further, as regional players are significantly expanding military weapons systems and capability.

Nearly all of the regional players in the South Pacific are armed substantially for prolonged war.

Perhaps the question should not be why New Zealand was left out of the recently announced AUKUS (Australia, UK, US) military initiative.

Instead the question to raise is what will be New Zealand and Canada’s role as international players going forward? Will they use this as an opportunity to redefine their roles as more neutral nations, or instead be drawn into the growing rhetoric that prefaces war?

Other Scoop articles by Mark Rais:

· Clash of Super Powers in an Age of Global Conflict

· Leaders disparage NZ Covid response while their citizens die

Mark Rais is the creator of the think tank Trend Analysis Network, writer for the technology and science industry and volunteer senior editor for an on-line magazine. He has published several books and written numerous articles on the topics of macro-economics, technology and society.

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