Opting Out Of The Coalition Of Containment


RIGHT NOW, New Zealand is in a very awkward geopolitical position. Heedless of its vital economic relationship with China, the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific region are pushing New Zealand into a growing coalition of containment aimed at weakening the Chinese state and economy.

The most obvious outcome of this diplomatic pressure (and in all likelihood its purpose) will be a sharp deterioration in the Chinese-New Zealand relationship. Most probably, Chinese displeasure will be expressed through restrictions on New Zealand exports. Not that the United States and its allies will make good any consequential losses to New Zealand’s economy. The Coalition of Containment’s sole purpose in precipitating such a break is to erase the irritating question-mark beside New Zealand’s name on its list of “trustworthy” allies.

New Zealand’s national security apparatus, whose loyalty to the people of New Zealand, as opposed to the decision-makers in Washington, London and Canberra, has always been open to doubt, has been pushing the Labour Government hard in the direction of Uncle Sam’s Coalition of Containment. Its efforts have, as usual, been seconded by all the usual suspects in the mainstream news media. (As well as some interesting recruits from the blogosphere!) The resulting upsurge in Sinophobia must be a source of considerable satisfaction to China’s enemies in New Zealand. It is unusual, these days, to hear a kind word spoken publicly about China – without the guilty party being subjected to the most vehement reproof.

That the Left has allowed itself to be drawn into this anti-Chinese discourse is especially disappointing. There was a time when the machinations of US imperialism were subjected to consistent and sophisticated critique by New Zealand communists and socialists, and even one or two intelligent members of the Labour Party. So effective were these critiques that the left-wing arguments advanced against such imperialistic interventions as the Vietnam War were able to win massive public support. The political upshot of these campaigns was a weakening of New Zealand’s relationship with the United States and its allies. The high-point of the Left’s influence on New Zealand foreign and defence policies came in 1986, when New Zealand withdrew/was excluded from the ANZUS Pact.

What passes for the Left in 2023, however, is, for the most part, content to echo the principal talking-points of US imperialism and its Nato accomplices. The obvious fiction that China is an aggressive power seeking global domination is repeated ad nauseum, along with the absurd charge that the Chinese government is overseeing a genocidal campaign against the Uighur population of Xinjiang. (It is a curious exercise in genocide that leaves twice as many Uighurs in Xinjiang today as there were 50 years ago!) It is no accident that this “softening-up” of an historically ignorant Left, addicted to emotionally-charged international campaigns, preceded the creation of the Australian, United Kingdom, United States (AUKUS) military relationship in 2021.

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That there has been no outcry against the decision of the Australian government to purchase eight nuclear-powered submarines from the United States is astonishing. These formidable weapons of war are intended to patrol the waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans – and their strategic choke-points – and should have occasioned loud protests from “nuclear-free” New Zealand. At the very least, this present Labour Government might have been expected to gather the small nations of the South Pacific behind it in a concerted diplomatic effort to uphold – and enforce – the 1986 anti-nuclear Treaty of Rarotonga.

If New Zealand continues upon its current diplomatic trajectory its economically vital relationship with China cannot help being put at risk. Certainly, the pressure, both from Canberra and Washington, shows no sign of decreasing. Statement-by-statement, in language that demands much but offers little, Wellington is putting more-and-more distance between itself and Beijing. China is hoping that the hard, cold realities of a very small nation-state making its living in a very large world will continue to keep New Zealand out of the flash new military leg-irons being fastened around the Indo-Pacific region by the United States.

But, hope is unlikely to be enough. China needs to make New Zealand an offer it can’t refuse if it is to prevent the pinkie-finger of the Anglo-Saxon fist from clenching-up tight alongside its bigger brothers. A change of government in October could be just the opportunity Beijing is looking for.

Faced with mounting infrastructural and climate-related responsibilities, and committed to reducing state spending, what might a National-Act coalition not agree to if presented with Chinese promises of massive investment in transport, housing, and climate adaptation/mitigation projects? Roads of national significance, electrification of the railways, extensive and intensive housing developments, taming rivers and hillsides: China’s done it all before, all over the world. Why not here?

And why stop there. Large-scale investment in renewable energy projects would set New Zealand up for the green re-industrialisation of its economy. Chinese companies will not be the only ones seeking-out nation-states with plentiful, cheap and reliable “clean” energy to offer investors in a post-carbon world.

Too much? Not when one considers that New Zealand 1.0 was built, almost entirely, out of British capital. Why shouldn’t New Zealand 2.0 be the creation of massive Chinese investment? Across the broad sweep of human history, imperialism has always been colour-blind.

Such a shift would, of course, entail a diplomatic revolution greater even that New Zealand declaring itself nuclear-free. Canberra, Washington, London and Ottawa would be livid. Accusations of treachery would be hurled at New Zealand by its former allies and, doubtless, all kinds of clandestine efforts would be set in motion to destabilise – even topple – its wayward government. Outright intervention would, however, be unlikely. It is difficult to persuade the world that China is the greatest threat to peace in the Indo-Pacific, when US Marines are splashing ashore on New Zealand’s beaches.

In the face of New Zealand’s diplomatic realignment, its South Pacific neighbours might also find it expedient to adopt a new stance vis-a-vis the neo-colonial objectives of the USA and its English-speaking allies. Pacific leaders might feel moved to inquire exactly what the United Kingdom thinks it is doing – again – in this part of the world. Were New Zealand to propose the creation of a South Pacific navy, dedicated to protecting and defending the resources within each member-state’s Exclusive Economic Zone, it might be surprised at the level of interest.

Especially if China offered to supply the patrol vessels.

Such a nightmare scenario could, of course, be easily avoided if the United States was willing to offer what China was ready to negotiate with New Zealand 15 years ago – a Free Trade Agreement. It has always been the easiest and, ultimately, the least costly option for the Americans: agree to take whatever New Zealand can send them – just as Great Britain did for more than a century. Just as China is doing right now.

But that would require US Imperialism to do what it has never done before: put the word “give” ahead of the word “take”.


    • Many will just put this comment down to Sinophobia but as someone who has written a thesis on the rise of China and its potential threat to it’s regional neighbours I personally think it is very valid.

      • James, “someone who has written a thesis on the rise of China and its potential threat to it’s regional neighbours I personally think it is very valid.”

        Potential threat is the key word here, but take away your rhetoric China has been the front runner in making the Asian economic region one of the most prosperous on the globe.

        • It is a thesis not a “thesis” and no you don’t have to believe me just as you have the freedom to believe anyone about anything

  1. Next week’s column, Chris will explain why Russian tourists on hunting trips are fighting back against Nazis in Ukrainian uniforms.

  2. We need anti-ship missiles to defend against American naval forces. China has some of the best out there.

    • Looks like you might be living in the wrong country Mo (if you even live in NZ) – might be time to go back to Shitholeistan (surely you are missing living somewhere where women have zero rights and you throw gay people off buildings)?

  3. Whatever you are taking is certainly good for your imagination. The major problem is that it conflicts with the knowledge that the USA combined with apostate religion will be the last persecuting power in this world.

    • Interesting mix of power from the west – phantasmagorical; faux-spiritual with delusional force and physical, material unbridled force to obliterate.

  4. US Imperialism remains the greatest threat to world peace with 800 publicly discoverable offshore military bases and spy facilities, most jammed up against their rivals territory. China would be lucky to have 5 offshore facilities. The yanks chums are no better…The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will soon have to include Pacific in its title…NATO has already bombed the crap out of Libya in the interests of US Oil. AUKUS, really? nuke submarines for Australia just what the region needs. Other acronyms are emerging too to include Japan and others in the US china offensive.

    It is sickening to see the thickos, and genuine yank lovers, choose “their” imperialist power over the other imperialist powers. The working class internationalist position is–neither Washington, Moscow or Beijing. Workers always cop it in inter imperialist rivalry and conflict.

    Anyway, the USA is full of it as Chris points out in the areas of free trade, travel, work in the US. In general terms China builds, literally, when it engages internationally, whereas the Americans typically invade and exploit.

  5. The Treaty of Rarotonga does not prevent or prohibit nuclear powered submarines. The Treaty is about nuclear weapons.
    There was no way, except under a government by the Greens and Te Pati Māori, that New Zealand would kick up a big fuss about Australia acquiring nuclear powered submarines.
    Not unless New Zealand was going to terminate the alliance status between Australia and New Zealand. That would also result in Australia terminating CER and the free access of New Zealanders to Australia. Maybe even a Green and TPM government would think that a step too far.

      • Given the record of non achievement of our current government does anyone seriously think they will be any better in securing the nation?

    • Geez Trevor. Check our spend relative to OECD. Terrible for meds but overall healthcare we are way up there. Your National mates will look to spend less.

  6. But what would one even get out of a U.S. Free Trade Agreement? China will show up and build high speed rail, wide expressways, ports, giant buildings, and pretty much anything else you might ask for. Is the U.S. even capable of such megaprojects? They’re not providing any such development to anyone — just ask the Germans how much “help” they are getting.

    There is also a near-zero chance that the U.S. would ever help rebuild domestic advanced industry. They were the architects of the dramatic post-1980s economic regression, and the #1 beneficiary of this Mont Pèlerin Society globalism.

    Right now, China ships over huge quantities of finished goods, and the U.S. sends back increasingly worthless pieces of paper. The U.S. is incapable of replacing Chinese production in the event of a New Iron Curtain, and must somehow expand sweatshop production in her neo-colonies; price levels will skyrocket, and domestic living standards will go into another round of collapse.

  7. I’m a lefty voter even though I’ve only voted 3 times in my life and never voted for the right. However if the scenario that CT puts forward that a change of govt in Oct that would than be reciprocated by luring China to help with rebuilding our infrastructure etc.. I would in a heartbeat vote for the right.

    Imperial USA is ova, they’ve had their time and have actually made the world a more dangerous place. I don’t believe China wants to be top dog of the world as they have a different outlook unlike european exceptionalism. The US military think tanks have predicted some type of war with China in the early 2000s and are psychotic enough to make this a reality.

    “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
    “Sun Tzu”


    • On behalf of New Zealand thank you for only bothering to vote 3 times Stephen . . I’m sure the country is better off the less you are politically engaged.

  8. Are you ok Chris?

    Genocide of the Uighurs is well documented by first hand accounts.

    China’s ambitions on the global stage are clear, not some ‘US imperialist dream’.


    • Matt, US government’s propaganda campaign against China drags on, a mock tribunal has become a central node for the dissemination of allegations of Uyghur genocide to Western media. But behind the carefully scripted horror stories conveyed to the public by an uncritical media are massive discrepancies, overt separatist sentiments, and huge sums of US government money.

      This June, Uyghur separatists and Washington-funded operatives of the human rights industry organized a “Uyghur Tribunal” to build the case over 80 tedious hours of testimony that the Chinese government is guilty of the crime of genocide in its western Xinjiang province.

      While the mock tribunal presented itself as “independent,” it was organized by a US government-funded separatist group that for years has played a key role in generating anti-China propaganda.

      To help buttress the narratives spun out of the spectacle, major media organizations such as CNN have generated various sideshows featuring star witnesses from the tribunal. In the process, they have inadvertently exposed major inconsistencies in the witness testimonies, exposing the entire exercise as another Western information weapon deployed against a targeted nation.

      The US government claims that China is carrying out genocide against ethnic Uyghurs, many of whom are Muslim, in an effort to erase them culturally. This has provided the narrative basis for high-profile media spectacles like the Uyghur Tribunal.

      No motivation or context is provided to explain why China’s government would be carrying out such putative abuses.

      In reality, a campaign of terrorism in pursuit of separatism was unfolding in China’s Xinjiang region from the early 1990s onward. A violent extremist minority of Uyghurs had been radicalized by Wahhabi fundamentalism imported from Saudi Arabia, as the LA Times explained in 2016.

      The resulting terrorism not only targeted aspects of the Chinese state, but also fellow Uyghurs who refused to adopt this imported extremist ideology.

      While the Western media makes little to no mention of this extreme violence now, in order to depict security operations in Xinjiang as senselessly “repressive,” media organizations like the BBC were more than happy to report on the murder and mayhem as it unfolded, and to highlight Beijing’s apparent helplessness against it at the time.

      A 2014 BBC article, titled “Why is there tension between China and the Uighurs?”, provided an extensive list illustrating the horrific nature of these attacks, from ethnic rioting that killed 200 in the regional capital of Urumqi in 2009 to an attempted aerial hijacking by Uyghur militants in 2012.

      In April and June 2013, police opened fire on a separatist mob armed with knives in Xinjiang’s Shanshan county, which was attacking local government buildings, leading to 27 deaths.

      This bloody incident was followed by mass casualty assaults by Uyghur separatists that killed more than 30 in Urumqui in May 2014, as well as bomb and knife attacks in local transportation hubs and mosques that left close to 150 dead that year.

      Attacks by Uyghur separatists also killed 20 in downtown Bangkok in 2015, while thousands of others flooded into Al Qaeda-controlled areas of Syria to participate in the NATO-backed dirty war against Damascus, with explicit plans to take the fight back to China.

      • Given the history of a lot of the NZ Left in their opposition to the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, Wahhabi fundamentalism and all that, but also given the DNA-encoded double standards, it’s not surprising to see excuses for China doing exactly the same and worse to “jihadists”.

    • We are trying not to be a doormat for everything that the imperial powers plot and plan for us, in order to use us to their own advantage.

  9. I dpn’t quite see a comparison between using British money to develop a completely undeveloped NZ , and the need for any outside funding to redevelop now. We are as advanced an economy as any other now. I would prefer to remain as independent as possible and work wit all other countries in our mutual interests. We surely don’t need to join AUCUS to keep talking to the US , and surly we don’t need to stop trading with Chjna. There is no way the US is going to stop trading with China.
    D J S

  10. We need to support our allies in ANZUS by increasing GDP to 5% on our defence forces, including developing our own nuclear deterrent.

  11. I’m with you Chris Trotter.

    USA won’t just accept that it’s century-long monopolisation of the sun is over and that they are in terminal social and economic decline, domestically and internationally. All as a result of their own ideologies.

    Unfortunately they’re quite prepared to take everybody down with them to hinder the emergence of China as the world’s premier economic engine.

    It’s unwise to side take a side in their manufactured conflicts, particularly so when they haven’t in the longer term any real hope of preserving the 20th century hegemony that they so exploited.

      • acies, irrelevant and your link is of a well known an anti-China blogger Aaron Sarin who is a freelance writer living in Sheffield London currently focusing on China and the CCP. He regularly contributes to seceder.co.uk. another anti-China website

        • … well known an anti-China blogger Aaron Sarin…

          And? You’re an unknown but perfectly run-of-the-mill anti-American, but that doesn’t mean your points should not be responded to in detail, at least assuming they’re not so broad brush as to be simple agit-prop.

          Same with Sarin. If you have some sources that counter his arguments and explain why the Chinese economy is doing so well and Zero-Covid polices are so popular that dissent is not growing then I’d love to see them.

          Until, the whole “anti-China” stuff is as meaningless as “anti-Russian”, “anti-Ukraine”, etc, etc. A smear not an argument.

  12. The unintelligence of human behaviour when it comes to peaceful co existence is mind blowing. The big players, those capable of imposing their will on others don’t believe in the status quo. If we froze our international actions for a minute and these players agreed to start from ‘here” peaceful times might prevail. The current examples of Putin and Xi showing that past grievances, whether right or wrong will never be put to one side. IMO Putins actions annexing the Crimea put Nato on alert as to the threat of Russia invading the Ukraine. The tit for tat actions of both Russia and Nato have then led to what is happening there. Russia is wealthy and if it had chosen not to take this path, it would be economically stronger and its people happy, but Putin couldn’t help himself. To me China is similar in the way it has become economically strong and should be able to live comfortably, leaving both Taiwan and Hong Kong alone. The people in china are happy with their new prosperity and so why spoil the good times. Its the deranged thinking of these leaders that threaten the world. Yes the US has way more bases around the place than China, but if China’s vailed help to the poor of the Pacific means more military bases in our region belonging to them or the US or AUS thats a bad thing. China could be of great benefit to us so I hope we don’t have to choose sides because IMO we will go with the US every time.

      • Agree, Millsy points out the obvious.
        Australian stupidity is amazing, by acting as China’s mineral mine they stay rich. Without the Pilbara exporting ore Australia would become a poor oversized sheep station. At some point China will likely get pissed off with Oz and find other cheap ore supplies.

  13. That there has been no outcry against the decision of the Australian government to purchase eight nuclear-powered submarines from the United States is astonishing.

    Not really. The 1980’s anti nuclear movement was a long time ago now and in the changing face of the world has lost a lot of steam. For one thing, younger generations, raised while watching Battlestar Gallactica and playing post-apocalyptic games, are jaded about nuclear warfare. They’re just not as frightened as the youth of the 1980’s were (and even that was an exaggeration).

    They’re also jaded about anti-Americanism, given how much social media emerges from there vs China.

    • acies is a NATO ASPI plant pushing it war propaganda. The nuclear issue is in the DNA of our country its a value that most NZers subscribe to we don’t want nuclear weapons polluting our region we already have cowshit and trolls like you to do that!!

  14. I for one don’t want NZ sold to the Chinese or anyone else for that matter. Haven’t we done enough of that? The British capital comparison is a bit simplistic and needs to be put in the context of time. At the end of the day China is a dictatorship. Whatever the US are does not change that.

    • You might want to check out the history of the NZ meat processing companies since inception. Ownership resided offshore, profits went offshore.

    • Wheel, words to the effect of “Whatever the US are at least it’s not an authoritarian state” (or similar) are so often used its worth thinking a bit more about what it really means. In my observation the term authoritarian state (or dictatorship) is used as a label for a much hated concept while forgiving the other (in this case US, or it could be the west, UK etc) for its sins.

      But when you look at the history since the second world war at the misery different countries have inflicted on the world and then that US spend more on military each year than the next 10 countries put together then you really need to reevaluate your apology for the US. Even looking since 9/11 it’s estimated that the US revenge/lash back has cost 4.6M human lives, almost all of them innocent.

  15. Or maybe Chris, we shouldn’t have made our economy reliant on a dictatorship that operates concentration camps?

    • Nor Andrew subservient to a country that runs the world’s largest “prison industrial” complex, which according to Wiki incarcerates up to 1.7 million, of whom 40% are black.

      • And the demographics of the prison population mirrors the racist attitude of Americans. Many progressive and conservative American scholars do not share your take on this. It is important to note that many of these scholars are black Americans.

        Interesting fact. In a conversation a few weeks ago a person challenged my overt racist opinion when I used the term “a black” gentleman came to my white wife’s aid when her car caught on fire to contrast with the fact that a large number of vehicles drove by well aware of the fact that a white woman with three small white children were in need of help.

        Linking cause and effect is important if we are going to make the world a better place.

  16. America is stink. But China is aggressive now, unlike Deng. All their neighbours hate China. Except the authoritarians out on a limb.

    We have to pull back from them.

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