GUEST BLOG: Donna Miles – Has New Zealand lost its moral basis?

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The decision to send New Zealand’s troops to join the fight against ISIS was justified by our Prime Minister as “the price of the club”.

The club, of course, is headed by New Zealand’s ally, the US, a country for which John Key has an abundance of open affection.

At a recent American Chamber of Commerce awards, John Key, boasted about his close links with America by saying:

“We own a house in America. I’ve worked my entire career for a couple of US banks – Bankers Trust and Merrill Lynch. I kind of love everything American – sports, food, golf courses, there’s nothing I don’t like.”

There are, of course, plenty of things not to like about the United States; things like racism, violence, poverty, gun culture, greed, etc. but it is unlikely that any of these things would ever get in the way of John Key’s enjoyment of America because the American system is designed to shield their rich and hide their poor.

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Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with Mr Key holidaying where he chooses to, or spend his money however he wants; but I do have a problem with Mr. Key’s political and moral stance that accepts our position in the world as our masters’ followers, not independent leaders.

The notion that New Zealand has no choice but to pay “the price of the club” was famously rebutted in the debating chamber of the Oxford Union in 1985.

David Lange, former Primer Minister and a skilled orator, defended New Zealand’s brave moral anti-nuclear stance by arguing that:  

“To compel an ally to accept nuclear weapons against the wishes of that ally, is to take the moral position of totalitarianism which allows for no self determination which is exactly the evil we are supposed to be fighting against”.

30 years on, we have lost our moral basis for our foreign policy. We happily go where our allies lead without closely examining whether our decisions serve our interests and that of our world community.

ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups in the Middle East were created by the West and their regional allies. The historical meddling of external forces in the Middle East and their association with tyrannical, suppressive regimes have provided ISIS with a strong political platform from which to distort the Islamic call to jihad.  

New Zealand involvement in the Middle East has only strengthened that platform by proving to the Islamists that their enemies are fighting ISIS only to maintain their geopolitical interests. The decision to join the war in the Middle East was carried out without a single vote being cast in our Parliament.

We should have learnt from our past history and our willingness to blindly serve the interests of imperial powers. A great many of our young men died in the needless WWI because, the people in whose hands their fate were trusted, failed to protect them. But instead of remembering them by mourning their wasted lives, we glorify war and militarism through expensive pageantry.

We send our troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS but at the same time make visits to, and encourage trade negotiations with Saudi Arabia; a country with  known links to terrorism that has beheaded more people than ISIS have. Where is the moral justification for that?

And where is the moral justification for not allowing New Zealand’s citizens and their parliamentary representatives to examine the text of one of the biggest free trade deals proposed in the world? Surely, we should be allowed to see what is already disclosed to New Zealand’s negotiating partners.

The Trade Minister, Tim Groser, says that the people who insist on seeing the text of the TPPA (the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement) are the ones who want to derail the negotiations. Even if that was true, which of course it is not, surely the Government’s position is robust enough to enable it to be fully defended. And if it is not, then there is more reason for us to remain watchful and concerned.    

New Zealand’s moral ambiguity extends to other areas too. The decision to spy on other nations on behalf of our allies, our low emission reduction targets despite the looming environmental disaster, the reluctance to take on more refugees at the time of a great global refugee crisis, our disturbingly high domestic violence statistics, increasing racism, and the fact that 300,000 of our Kiwi children live in poverty, all point to a nation who has lost its moral compass.

Yes, we cannot wave a magic wand to quickly make our world a better place for everyone to live in but if we put morality before greed, empathy before power, we can make a difference. It is important that we do not let our collective complicity to rob us of our democratic rights and blind us to the suffering of others. We need to let ourselves be led and guided by our morality and compassion, not the trashy American values of consumption and vanity.  

 

Donna Miles is a British-born, Iranian-bred, New Zealand citizen with a strong interest in human rights, justice and equality issues.

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. KEY IS NOT A KIWI. HISTORY SHOWS HE IS NOT QUALIFIED TO BE ONE MORALLY.

    HE IS SIMPLY A HOLLOW MAN, A SHELL WITHOUT GENERATIONS OF ROOTS AS I HAVE AS A FOURTH GENERATION NZder.

    BECAUSE HE IS ONLY A SON OF A EUROPEAN IMMIGRANT AND SIMPLY LEFT FOR OVERSEAS AS SOON AS HE COULD POSSIBLY DO SO AS A FIRST GENERATION NZ CITIZEN HE HAS NO MORAL TIES TO NZ AT ALL.

    REMEMBER WHEN IN 2011 BEFORE SECOND ELECTION HE SAID IF NZ TURNS NEGATIVE HE WILL LEAVE?

    He is an agent of overseas interests that is simple as it is.

  2. I agree with what has been said. I also suggest that New Zealand is not nor has it ever been a democracy. In my opinion we have always been run from off-shore and our politics are nothing more than reality game shows. Following WWII the power moved away from the UK to the US and now we jump to their tune.

    As I see it, the TPPA is nothing more than a military land grab of the Pacific Rim to deliberately isolate China and Russia. The corporate fascist thugs can make money and depopulate at the same time.

    Very few of us with access to the internet buys into what is now known as the boy Bush scam ‘war on terror’

    We all know that the wars in the Middle East were carefully planned and that Isis is the brainchild of the CIA:
    http://3tags.org/article/cia-whistleblower-backs-up-claims-isis-and-ebola-were-made-in-the-usa
    The web is full of CIA and Mossad whistle blowers.

    jonkey and our Military Heads have blood on their hands, but they are gofers and minions in a much bigger picture.
    Could they have acted differently?
    We will find out sooner or later.

  3. In aligning itself again with the United States in massively destructive (and self-defeating) military interventions, yes, New Zealand loses its moral compass.

    However, to get New Zealand to change for the better more would be needed than to change a leader or, for that matter, a political party.

    Historically, New Zealand just went where the British, then United States military went. However, in 1987 when we went nuclear-free, we were suspended from Anzus.

    In the absence of a coherent alternative foreign policy platform compatible with this nuclear-free policy our country again finds itself being drawn back towards the old one.

    That is why those campaigning for a nuclear-free New Zealand in the 1980s also proposed a new foreign policy platform based on neutral peace-broking.

    Blogs on the village-connections.com website describe a practical platform for implementing such policy. They include:

    1. Utilising embassies in Wellington for diplomatic conversations:
    http://www.village-connections.com/blog/?p=6936
    &
    http://www.village-connections.com/blog/?p=6936

    2. Engaging diplomats, academic and cosmopolitan networks to frame more effective ways of addressing ISIS:
    http://www.village-connections.com/blog/?p=7076

    3. Brokering new conversations and consensus on global cybersecurity in lieu of operating in the FiveEyes work:
    “Cold War 5-Eyes Node or Global Broker? – NZ after Snowden” –
    http://www.village-connections.com/blog/?p=6999

    Whoever governs, to make effective changes they will find they need a comprehensive and practical alternative platform, preferably one that has come to be widely understood and shared. Otherwise they could easily find themselves moribund and saddled with heaps of blow-back without having the means to deal with it!

  4. Fantastic article +100

    I don’t know if the majority of Kiwis have lost their moral judgment though but most of our politicians defiantly have.

    Unfortunately we are not allowed to debate, vote on important issues, and with biased MSM, urgent law changes at last minute and so forth, cronyism and fear are eroding any ability for that average person to voice any views.

    We do not seem to be in a democracy anymore in this country.

  5. Yes, by sending troops we create the threat that we need to protect ourselves against with more security laws, and surveillance, which is ultimately what they want to do, along with the TPP so the corporatisation (and feudalism) of the world can continue.

    Typical Key, follows everything US including the propaganda which he obviously believes, in the meantime ignoring the debt, health, incarceration, death, bribes, arms sales, corporate corruption, tax evasion, slave labour, etc simply because he is a member of the elite and the elite ignore the bad stuff.

    I`m reminded of the billionaire Ric Kaybe who completed a golf course north of Auckland recently and remarked in the NZHerald over the weekend that he wanted to price the lots for sale in the millions so he could attract ‘people of character’ – implying people without money do not have character. I think Key believes this too. I think he associates money as a measure of success, when I guess it is for a narcissistic person, but for the rest of us, the workers who get a kick out of life by being ethical, honest, caring and compassionate – well, they`re just idiots ‘ you oh’ (as Key says), unsuccessful.

  6. “I kind of love everything American”, is an odd thing for anyone to say, especially for the Prime Minister, with his banking background. The American elite, including of course the banking elite, live in their own exclusive bubbles, an entirely different world to that of 90+ per cent of the population. The PM is really saying is that he ‘loves’ the world of the politically and financially powerful…the Club.

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