Thursday, March 28, 2024

John MacDonald: What a bunch of pushovers we are

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We are the People’s Republic of Pushovers.

This time, we’ve been pushovers over this apparent cyber-attack on Parliament and spying on our politicians by China.

It happened two-and-a-half years ago, but it was only yesterday when we heard about it. It was something of a staged announcement with the United States and Britain, which were also targeted.

Not that China is putting up its hand and saying, ‘fair cop gov’. It reckons we are “barking up the wrong tree”.

But I’m willing to take our spy agencies and the Government on their word and accept that this did happen.

What I’m not so willing to accept, though, is our weak-kneed response. Which all comes down to the difficult balancing act we have when it comes to China.

On one hand, it’s our biggest trading partner and so, you know, you’ve got to keep China sweet. It’s got all the power when it comes to trade.

On the other hand, we’re trying to balance this bromance the government seems to be intent on fostering with the United States and Britain. Which are, of course, having a major lovefest with our old mates Australia. Buying nuclear submarines and all of that as part of the AUKUS alliance.

So, it’s tricky for us. It’s like we’re having a party and inviting different groups of friends who don’t actually get on with each other. We want to be mates with China, who can’t stand America. But we also want to be mates with the States, and their bestie, the UK, but they’re not up for hanging out with China.

And what’s taken the balancing act next level has been what China is up to in the Pacific. And we’ve got mates there too. In fact, the Pacific nations and New Zealand, we’re almost family.

But recently, China (who we want to be mates with), has been buying presents for our cuzzies in the Pacific. And America —which we also want to be mates with— isn’t happy about that. And we’re almost in a position where the United States is saying, alright New Zealand - who are you with? Them (China) or us?

And we just want everyone to get on so that everything can be awesome. But that’s not reality. And so, when the US and Britain decided they’d had enough of being hacked by China too, they decided to hit back with sanctions against two individuals and a front company linked to a cyber-espionage group associated with China’s Ministry of State Security.

And in its official announcement yesterday the US accused China of perpetrating what it called an elaborate and invasive state-backed hacking program going back more than a decade.

Merrick Garland, the US attorney general, called the hacking operation proof of “the ends to which the Chinese government is willing to go to target and intimidate its critics”.

Meanwhile, here in New Zealand, we did the kiwi thing. We kept it on the down-low, had a bit of a chilled-out vibe, and what that means is, whatever you do, don’t mention the hacking when you have an opportunity to mention the hacking.

In fact, not just one opportunity - two opportunities.

Last week, the Prime Minister met in Wellington with China’s Foreign Minister. There were all the usual smiles and photo opportunities. And it was all about trade, trade, trade. As it should, of course. But was anything said to China’s Foreign Minister about the cyber-attack? Not a dickie bird.

Then last year. Chris Hipkins was Prime Minister and he went on a trip to China with a business delegation. Which meant that, just like Christoher Luxon’s meeting last week with China’s Foreign Minister, the talk was all trade, trade, trade.

But again, absolutely nothing was said about the cyber-attack. And now that we are talking about it. We’re not doing what the States and Britain are doing. We’re not imposing sanctions. All we’re doing is calling-in the ambassador for a chat with Winston. What a bunch of pushovers we are.

John MacDonald is the Canterbury Mornings host on Newstalk ZB Christchurch. - where this article was sourced.

1 comment:

Rob Beechey said...

John MacDonald’s rant confirms that ignorance is bliss on every level. Don’t give up your day job John.