Thursday, July 21, 2005

Foreign Policy

There has been a bit of a brouhaha of late vis à vis National's foreign policy and the independence thereof. Many have predicted that a National government will be the end of an independent foreign policy, to be replaced by one that sees America dictate to us how we are to act.

Several things. Firstly, there is an obvious distinction between independence and agreement that these people miss. If National decided to go to Iraq with America, that in now says that our foreign policy is no longer independent. We could have decided, independently, that the ousting of a tyrannical dictator was a move that was beneficial. Or, perhaps more cynically, decided that such a move may help us in terms of our relationship with America. Regardless, in both these instances a choice is made by people independently, without coercion.

Secondly, presuming for a second that the people who say it would be a move away from independent policy, what is the logical extension of this? Is it to say that we cannot agree with anyone, since to do so is to no longer have an independent foreign policy? If we agree with America, and that isn't independent, then why isn't it the same if we agree with France, or Germany? Surely the fact that we sided with them over Iraq is equally dependent? It is clear then that their argument is disingenuous.


Anonymous frog said...

Carnifex: the reason people (including me) accuse National of wanting to give up our foreign policy independence is NOT because it supported one US-led war but, rather, because its defence spokesperson, Simon Power, said in May last year: "Without reservation we will support our close allies, Australia, the United States and Britain, when and wheresoever our commitment is called upon."

That's pretty unequivocal. It's not "we'll support wars proposed by Australia, the US and Britain so long as they're in our national interest" but rather "we'll support ALL such wars". That sounds pretty subservient to me.

2:42 PM  
Blogger carnifex senatoris said...

Currently at University, so a more detailed response later. Briefly though, that statement was later withdrawn. This current post refers to the murmurings over the Iraq war and Brash's position.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous frog said...

Well, it was withdrawn not because Power and the National top brass don't believe it, but because they realised (too late) that it was politically unpalatable to say so.

Now we're left with Brash ducking and diving, yet it's pretty clear that National's actual position - rather than their spun position - is that they will go whereever our allies want us to go.

Actually, the real concern around National and foreign policy has to do not with their position but their transparent desire to want to cover their position up.

4:57 PM  
Blogger carnifex senatoris said...

Well that's fine if you want to argue that frog, but that's not what you were saying above. If you want to argue that Brash will say one thing and do another, then do that. But don't argue that he will introduce foreign policy that isn't independent, and then in the face of policy say "Well they only say that, here's what they'll really do".

But even with Power's comments, it still retains independence. We, independently, choose to follow America. It is clear that often what politicians say is not absolutely true. Labour's pledge card in 1999 promised 5% would pay the top rate. Now literally thus is untrue, but I'm willing to accept that she meant 5% at the time - wgich was both true and is indeed her defence. If America in a year decided to invade Canada, I'm sure the National Party would not support it.

That's because politics is based on expectations to a degree. Power expected that America would not do anything that the National party disagreed with, so said that.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Nigel Kearney said...

If the rule is that people cannot plausibly retract anything they say, I think Frog has some explaining to do regarding possum peppering.

Actually I'm not sure if Fitzsimons has even retracted her belief in voodoo.

9:30 PM  

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