Sunday, July 30, 2023

Lushington D. Brady: The Comedy Relief of the Alliance [updated]

The closeness of the Australia-New Zealand relationship is a long-standing fact of both nations’ history, going back to Cook’s first voyage in 1768-71. The two nations went to world war together as the ANZACs. But, under its Labour government especially, the reliability of New Zealand as a defence partner has often come under scrutiny. Not just because of the deterioration of New Zealand’s defence capability (although Australia hasn’t a lot to boast about there, either), but Labour’s increasing cosying up to the Chinese regime.

This, as well as decisions such as the Lange government’s ban on nuclear vessels in New Zealand ports, have strained wider alliances, such as ANZUS and Five Eyes.

So, on the face of it, increasing engagement with the new, AUKUS alliance may well be a reassuring signal from PM Chris Hipkins.

At a bilateral meeting on Wednesday during their annual leaders’ meeting, Mr Albanese and Mr Hipkins agreed that, as part of a 10 year road map, the two countries would play a more active role with the Pacific ‘family’ of island nations.

At the same time as Albanese is racking up more frequent flyer points in Wellington, some high-level American visitors are dropping in, as well.

Anthony Albanese will meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin in Brisbane on Friday as Australia and NZ join with the US in pushing back against China’s increasingly assertive engagement with the Pacific […]

Mr Albanese’s visit to Wellington coincides with that of Mr Blinken, also in NZ to strengthen defence links with Wellington, which is acknowledged as the gateway to Pacific relations. After meeting with NZ foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta on Thursday, Mr Blinken repeatedly stressed America’s commitment to the Pacific in order to maintain the rules based international order.

And there is, of course, the dragon in the room.

Without naming China, Mr Blinken said Washington wanted to use Wellington’s relationships in the Pacific “to defend the Indo-Pacific so nations make their own decisions free from coercion.”

He added that the door was “very much open” for NZ to engage with AUKUS “as a trusted partner,” and on Wednesday, Mr Hipkins said he would hold conversations with the pact partners about NZ’s involvement with Pillar 2 of the deal.

Which begs the question, though: what, exactly, is New Zealand bringing to the defence table?

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has canvassed the terrific idea that New Zealand could join the non-nuclear Pillar Two of the AUKUS agreement.

This shows the revolutionary genius of AUKUS. It can be a military technology agreement even for countries, like New Zealand, effectively without a military at all.

A defence industry technology agreement that embraces nations which don’t have technology, or even industry, to speak of.

If you don’t have a military what would you need hi-tech military technology for? And what possible contribution could you make to such hi-tech technology?

Still, at least it would make Australia look better by comparison.

We would cease being the shirker and the dunce in the AUKUS class.

After all, we’re not doing very much at all to acquire or produce defence capabilities over the next 10 years, but compared with the Kiwis we are the Prussians of the Pacific.

In terms of defence, we are, compared with New Zealand, Godzilla, Hercules and Arnie Schwarzenegger all rolled into one. But only compared with New Zealand.

On the other hand, what kind of defence partner locks out its allies’ navies from its own waters?

Given that the US and UK operate exclusively nuclear-powered submarines, that means that none of their submarines at all can visit the Kiwis.

Not to mention the rest of America’s fleet of nearly 100 nuclear-powered vessels.

Thus New Zealand’s entry into part of AUKUS would also help Canberra by providing a further rationale for maintaining our six Collins-class subs more or less forever, which is what we more or less plan to do anyway, given the fleet of AUKUS subs doesn’t get completed until the 2050s.

The Collins subs would be the only AUKUS subs allowed to visit the AUKUS member, New Zealand, if Wellington joins AUKUS.

On the other hand, pretty much the entire Chinese fleet (which has only a dozen or so nuclear-powered subs, and, at present, no surface vessels) would get a nuclear-free pass in New Zealand waters.

Which would make AUKUS2 a very strange “alliance”, indeed.

Lushington describes himself as Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. This article was first published HERE


DeeM said...

Another example of the very short memories our present day politicians have. It was less than 80 years ago that WWII ended. And, there is a war going on as we speak in Eastern Europe.
Our current bozos imagine that we're never going to be threatened or have to engage in war again. The biggest threat they can imagine, is climate change.

Let me tell you, a Chinese invasion force will generate a lot more heat, death and destruction than that.

The other thing they easily forget is how bad socialism is for our economic wellbeing and our freedom of speech and equality. This lot have done it with bells on.
Will us voters never learn?

Anonymous said...

I am intrigued by the use of the word - ANZAC's, which usually comes, more, from the lips of Australian's, than New Zealanders.

It is interesting, yes both Australia & NZ went to fight in the both Wars, but not alongside one and other, as the term seems to suggest, in many people's mind.

When David Lange, had his "knee jerk" reaction, to US Navy Submarine visits, stimulated by the Socialist Left within the then Labour Govt, the wider supportive element of Labour, and also with David's personal beliefs, NZ suddenly found what it was like to become a "pariah" in the World.

I think, if one, researched US History of those Years, you may find that in America, that a Nuclear Power station had a Reactor "melt down"(they made a film [Three Mile Island} later on about it stared Jane Fonda & Jack Lemon), which caused the "frensy" here in NZ, even when the US Navy stated "would never happen with our Submarines".

Sorry, but, Nuclear anything is bad, not wanted in NZ!

Even the French got the Kiwi "Finger" with Atomic testing on the Pacific.

I "suffered" when I entered France in the early 1970's, being made to wait until French immigration sought to allow entry, long after others had moved on from the Port of Entry. Made to feel "very unwelcome".

Did not worry David L, but it created chaos within NZ Military and their relationships with both US & Australia, with carry over to the UK.

Thus the "term ANZAC's suddenly became redundant". It certainly does not apply when NZ & Australia play Rugby>

Example, NZ Navy being "invited" to participate with a joint US, Multi Nation Sea exercise out of Pearl Harbour, and our ship "was berthed at another wharf" outside the US Navy Base.

Also the "term ANZAC's" did not merit much, when Roger Douglas, Min of Finance, in the Lange Govt, had the Bill - CER (Closer Economic Relations), with Australia passed into Law, agreed to by the Australian Govt, of the day, which allowed Australian Business, to "fly in to NZ and buy up" - Banks is a good example here, and later on other Commercial Business operations.

I can not find data of any NZ Business going West to do the same thing!

Recent example, is an Australian Business currently setting up "shop" to
sell to NZ Army - Military clothing & equipment. Possibly made in Australia (or China on behalf of that Australian Business).

So what can the NZ Military establishment bring to the Defence table, I think they are struggling at the moment, but hey, Chris Hipkins has given them a pay rise to bolster retention and encourage new recruits.

Until someone is brave enough to remove the "stigma" created by David Lange & Co, that is reverse Govt Policy, created at that time, we will always be the "third foot", in any Military Alliance.

Again another article, that is worth reading.

Hello NZ "are you there"?