New Zealand Government Undermining its Global Reputation with proposed military deployment to Iraq

My old friend Dr Peter Cozens ,who was the past Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University, wrote me a note in response to yesterday’s blog citing additional reasons why John Key’s proposed deployment to Iraq is a folly.  Here with deepest thanks to Peter are some more things for this Government to ponder . There is no strategic or political justification for this folly we must mobilise against it in 2015.

“It is quite clear that so-called “Defence” is gearing up to send troops to Iraq.   I am firmly opposed to it on several grounds.

The first is that it does not fit in with the multi-lateral approach successive governments have voiced for New Zealand’s candidature for a seat in the Security Council.  Over 75% of the recent vote was in favour of New Zealand and many of those nations in favour of this country would have had significant Islamic populations and who believed that the Government of New Zealand would advance their interests and values of justice and a fair go.   To side with a cheapskate corrupt regime in Baghdad undermines in the most blatant manner possible, New Zealand’s avowed position on being fair-minded.  The people of New Zealand, as I understand it,  want to take the opportunity of a seat on the Security Council to stand up against the bully boys of the world and to advocate a fair go for the deprived and underprivileged.  How can the Government led by John Key reconcile this apparent contradiction?

Secondly, this type of deployment does not increase the security of New Zealand – it compromises it.   Every death at the hands of the western alliance adds to the intergenerational scoresheet of hatred against European structured societies and continues to build a monumental force against those who perpetrate this form of conflict that will be unstoppable.  The indications at the moment are already ominous  and are a direct result of flawed earlier strategies.   To continue with this approach is certainly asking for trouble.

Thirdly, I am not confident that the proposed deployment actually fits in with what the White Paper has to say about the Defence of New Zealand.  Oddly enough we have to look across the Tasman for a more enlightened view that comes from the Aussie Chief of Army who is on record as saying that, ”… the foundation of Australia’s national security is a maritime strategy….”.  (See David Morrison, Chief of Army, in The Naval Contribution to National Security and Prosperity, Sea power Centre Canberra 2012, p 23).   If our best mate knows that, it raises the question of who is it that now wants to deploy troops to the biggest wasps nest in the world and insert in it some of the best troops there are, albeit in a training capacity.  It simply does not make sense.  The politicians who now seek to use the deadly and lethal skills of their professional soldiery simply to curry favour in the corridors of power in Washington are playing a game for which they are ill-equipped.  We have to calm the wasps down, not agitate them further.

In the Great Game of power in the so-called Middle East, it is the Iranians who have the experience, culture and the deep sense of history to be able to resolve, albeit quietly but definitively, the ghastly mess the west has produced.  The New Zealand Government would be well advised to seek counsel with Teheran for enlightened policies to resolve contemporary and those problems that will inevitably unfold in the future as a consequence of Washington and London’s inadequacies.

Nowadays I have little to do with the Centre for Strategic Studies but I am asked from time to time to lecture at the NZDF Staff College, I also  run courses for the young officers of the Navy which I enjoy very much indeed.  I have done little in the way of publishing except for a few articles here and there on maritime issues – Oceans Policy and Oceans Governance.  I do manage to get myself to the odd overseas conference here and there as well – for example, I had a fascinating visit to Taiwan a couple of years ago and even had an audience with the President.  Nonetheless I continue to maintain a watching brief with my many colleagues around the world about issues of mutual interest, especially not making matters worse!”
Peter Cozens,

Former Director,

Centre for Strategic Studies , Victoria University Wellington


About kevinclements2012

Short CV Professor Kevin P Clements. I am the Foundation Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand and Secretary General of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy. Prior to taking up these positions I was the Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia . I went to Queensland from International Alert where I was Secretary General from January 1999 to September 2003. International Alert is one of the world’s largest NGOs working on conflict transformation. It pioneered innovative policy and practical approaches to conflict prevention and transformation in Africa ,Eurasia and Asia . It has also made a major contribution to the mainstreaming of conflict prevention within European Foreign and Development Ministries, the EU and a variety of UN institutions. During his time there I was on the Board of the European Centre for Conflict Prevention and past President of the European Peace Building Liaison Office in Brussels. Prior to becoming Secretary General of International Alert I was the Vernon and Minnie Lynch Chair of Conflict Resolution at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University Fairfax Virginia USA 1994-2000 and Director of the Institute from 1994-1999. My career has been a combination of academic analysis and practice in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. I was, for example, formerly Director of the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva and Head of the Peace Research Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra .Prior to this I was Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Coordinator of Peace Studies at Canterbury University, Christchurch New Zealand . My first academic position was as a lecturer in Sociology at Hong Kong University . I took up this position from a Post Doctoral Fellowship at Oxford University where I worked on development issues with Paul Streeten and others. I have been an advisor to the New Zealand, Australian , British , Swedish and Dutch governments on conflict prevention , peace, defence and security issues and advised the German Government and the OECD on States and Violence. I was, a member of the New Zealand Government’s Defence Committee of Enquiry in 1985 and I currently conducting Problem Solving Workshops in North East Asia with high level participants from Japan, China and Korea. Iwas President of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) from 1994-1998, President of the IPRA Foundation from 1995-2000 and Secretary General of the Asia Pacific Peace Research Association. I was Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association 2008-2010. I got my B.A, B.A Hon ( First Class) and Ph.D in Sociology from Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand. and held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford from 1970-1971. I have been a regular consultant to a variety of non governmental and intergovernmental organisations on disarmament, arms control, conflict resolution, development and regional security issues and I have written or edited 7 books and over 160 chapters /articles on conflict transformation, peacebuilding, preventive diplomacy and development with a specific focus on the Asia Pacific region. Research Expertise 1. Peace Research Theory- Conflict and Conflict Resolution Theory . Preventive Diplomacy , Development and Peacebuilding 2. International and Regional Regimes-APEC, ASEAN, the ARF, ECOWAS 3. Political Sociology-International Organisations. Multilateral/bilateral negotiating processes. 4. Fragile States, Legitimacy and Political Hybridity 5. Alternative Defence and Security Policies-Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific region. 6. The politics and ethics of international humanitarian intervention 7. Altruism and Compassion In my spare time I like to paint with acrylics or pastels, go to the theatre, listen to classical music, visit art galleries etc!
This entry was posted in #War in Iraq, #war resistance, ANZAC deployment, Australia, Corrupt Iraqi military, NZ Defence Force, Peace Movement Aotearoa and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to New Zealand Government Undermining its Global Reputation with proposed military deployment to Iraq

  1. Pingback: New Zealand Government Undermining its Global Reputation with proposed military deployment to Iraq | Kevin's Peace Musings

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