GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – Spy vs Spy

By   /   February 19, 2019  /   10 Comments

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Make no mistake. The State Capitalism of China is in a trade war with the capitalists of other states (especially in the USA) They are locked in a battle for the resources of the planet and the quest to rule it

Here’s the problem .

New Zealand is part of the 5 eyes intelligence gathering network (ie. spying network) which began following WW2 and includes USA , UK, Canada, Australia – our military allies then , and now.

Amongst other things the 5 eyes network intercepts communications between people all over the world including our own country and in 2013 documents leaked by whistle blower Edward Snowden revealed that the 5 eyes nations had even been spying on each other’s citizens and then sharing the information to get around domestic privacy laws.

Late last year the Ardern government followed Australia in excluding Chinese telecommunications giant Hauwei Technologies Co. Ltd from the introduction of a 5 G network in our country because of “serious security concerns” which is diplomatic code for being worried the Chinese government could use the network to spy on us, and through us, on the USA and its allies.

This also needs to be read in tandem with NZ First Defence Minister Ron Mark’s paper last year which expressed concerns about increasing Chinese influence in the Pacific and explicitly stated New Zealand should be ready to ‘stand alongside traditional friends’.

But China is now our biggest trading partner and it’s not happy . Suddenly it’s very difficult to find a date when our Prime Minister can visit China , numbers of Chinese students are down at our schools and universities and Chinese tourists are being warned of security dangers when visiting our country .

One of my favourite publications when I was a student was MAD magazine . What appealed to me was ability of their cartoonists to point up ludicrous political behaviour and during the Cold War with Russia a wordless comic strip called Spy vs Spy began to appear in which one spy all in white constantly came up against a spy all in black. As each tried to out fox each other the outcome was often disastrous for both.

Despite the soothing tones of Prime Minister Ardern assuring us that , really, all is well between China and New Zealand it’s clearly not because good relationships are built on trust and there is ample evidence that when push comes to shove there is no trust here on either side.

Make no mistake. The State Capitalism of China is in a trade war with the capitalists of other states (especially in the USA) They are locked in a battle for the resources of the planet and the quest to rule it

It’s a situation that is not going to go away any time soon. The impact on the lives of ordinary citizens of all countries, including our own, will be great and pretending otherwise is to seriously underestimate the natural intelligence wired-in of every New Zealander.

It seems to me it’s decision time. Do we want become a neutral country? Do we give up the 5 Eyes spy network to brand ourselves as the nation everyone trusts? Or is that just political naivety? Does greed always win over goodness?

What say you?


Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.

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  1. Aaron says:

    One things about National is they know all about power – and their deepening relationship with the Chinese is as good an indicator of the future balance of power in the world as anything I’ve seen.

    Sticking with traditional allies is not a smart move at this juncture, The US dollar is not going to be the world’s reserve currency for too much longer and when the switch happens the US economy is going to go into a tail spin. We definitely don’t want to be tied too closely to them at that point.

    I don’t usually use the words trust, National, and party in the same sentence but; trust the National Party to know which bully is right one to suck up to.

    • Sam says:

      You don’t get out much, do you? Do you even have a passport?

      • Sam Sam says:

        Unless sanctions have been lifted in the time it took me to take a dump, Russia, China, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela are trading goods in gold and other commodities ie not using USD to trade with. Don’t really need a passport to find that out.

        • Sam says:

          The US dollar is still as robust as gold. What’s your point? I think what you describe might be more to do with the fact that it is easier to get gold than it is US dollars. I understand that in Venezuela is illegal to use USD as tender.

  2. SPC says:

    Sure China’s imperialism is real. Just as that of the USA was merely a modernisation of the old fashioned colonial imperialism based on international institutions, reserve currency status for the dollar and their security role.

    China prefers vertical integration economics – controlled of owned supply lines rather than to buy on the open market. And they use debt finance to acquire their ports/bases around the world.

    Their hegemony would involve reducing the USA back to their continental base (c1900) via alliances with Russia in Europe (end of NATO) and Iran in the west of Asia. The objective supremacy in the western Pacific and across to Africa (Djibouti) – to secure and control supply lines and this involves bringing both ASEAN and India into its orbit (base in Pakistan and control of sea lanes to China).

    There would be a gold backed Chinese currency once they supercede the USA as the largest economy (to give credibility to their global economic leadership). At which point there is no longer the capacity of the USA (with higher cost structures) to afford military security to anyone (something Trump gets but can only delay).

    At some point the security guarantee to Europe and Oz will end, and with it 5 Eyes. And sure the world using Chinese IT will be on social credit watch notice, it won’t be a world based on respect for human rights or free speech. And already National demonstrates the capacity of local farm land owning businesses to appease whomever has imperial coin and their local security state will serve the Chinese as they did the UK and then the USA.

    • Sam says:

      “China prefers vertical integration economics”.

      This is the most important point anyone has made on this issue on this website or perhaps any other.

      Visit any country where their vertically integrated economy has been imposed or bribed into place and it is clear that the local population benefits little. In fact, it’s clear that the imposition of this vertically integrated economy requires massive Chinese immigration to those places for that economy to even survive.

  3. Nick J says:

    If you were China would you accept these conditions for trade?
    1. Halting all government subsidies to advanced manufacturing industries in its Made in China 2025 program, an endeavor that covers 10 key economic sectors, including aircraft manufacturing, electric cars, robotics, computer microchips, and artificial intelligence;
    2. Accepting American restrictions on investments in sensitive technologies without retaliating;
    3. Opening up its service and agricultural sectors — areas where Chinese firms have an inherent advantage — to full American competition.

    These are Washington’s current demands, China has told the f off. A state of (cold) war already exists.

  4. Jim says:

    Political naivety. We could radically change our political allegiances, but that would be a very difficult to live through.

    We’d become the Ukraine of the South Pacific and the CCP (I don’t write Chinese people, note) would not respect our autonomy. They already aren’t.

  5. The Weatherman says:

    USA vs China? So old School.

    It’s more like Omidyar (eBay)vs Thiel (PayPal) these days.

    Hey leftists, your beloved Action Station is a front operation for a Silicon Valley neoliberal who funds the republicans and us using your identity politics to extend his surveillance empire….

  6. “Good relationships are built on trust”? Obviously yes, in a lovey-dovey type of relationship. I think as far as “trust” goes in international relations you can trust what other governments show themselves to be. After that, much consideration should be given to the likeness of cultures. I personally believe that the common values of democracies and English-speaking cultures have a head start in mutual understanding.

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