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It would also make sense for a country in such a situation to grapple its allies to its bosom with hoops of steel. However, far from doing this, New Zealand’s government gives the impression that it does not take alliances and mutual defense obligations seriously. Indeed it sees alliances as undesirable.
Its defense alliance with Australia and the U.S. (the ANZUS treaty) has been dissolved. U.S. warships are banned from its ports because the U.S. Navy will not state whether or not they are carrying nuclear weapons. Even nuclear-propelled ships are forbidden.
It seems ironically appropriate that New Zealand’s national anthem begins with the words “God Defend New Zealand!” It doesn’t look as if anyone else is going to. It is assumed that any enemy will have to get past Australia (and ultimately the US).
New Zealand is not exactly neutral — it is still part of the historic West, it is culturally and in other ways still very much part of the Anglosphere, and for obvious reasons enjoys a uniquely close relationship with Australia. It has sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, as it did previously to Korea and Vietnam.
In the short time I spent there it was emphasized to me that the broad-spectrum leftism of the government does not represent the whole of political thinking or culture by any means — that was strongly put over several days of meetings with leading political, cultural and media figures.
The feeling seems to be that the present government, under the far-left Helen Clark, is on the way out.
BUT THE PRESENT government’s turning away from the world, from responsibility, from a sense of mutual and reciprocal obligations, from an idea of the Anglosphere nations hanging together in a century which looks to be challenging enough, and even from self-respect, does show what can happen very quickly when a Gramscian campaign to gain the commanding heights of cultural and political power succeeds.
Certainly, New Zealand faces no obvious military threat, and it has not been alone in adopting such selfish policies: the governments of Europe indulged in even more gross free-riding when they allowed the US to defend them from the Soviet Union, but in many ways New Zealand’s government seems to show the malaise in a particularly sharp form.
New Zealand has never been threatened by invasion but until now has had a proud tradition of being prepared to contribute — mightily! — to defend the right.
It is as if previous generations of New Zealanders felt that their uniquely safe and privileged strategic environment gave them a certain responsibility beyond their shores.
The flightless birds of New Zealand, which had evolved in conditions of perfect safety, isolated from predators by the vast distances of the Pacific, were wiped out when the Polynesian Maoris arrived.
Only the kiwi survived to become a national symbol.
PERHAPS, IF THIS is not symbolic lesson enough, New Zealanders should take note of what happened on one of their own dependencies, the Chatham Islands.
There the native people, the Moriori, though Polynesians genetically and racially akin to the warlike New Zealand Maoris, were pacifist by religion and would not defend themselves.
It is a story that hangs over New Zealand history, though for reasons of political correctness it is not dwelt upon today. It’s another of those stories which could be made into a movie — a sad one — but won’t be.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?