Friday, January 13, 2006

Send in the navy II

For those thining that we should send the navy to keep an eye on the clash in the Southern Ocean between Japanese "scientific" whalers and Greenpeace, Mellie has written an open letter to send to the government:


Subject: Whaling - action required now

Dear Minister,

We have seen the dispute between Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd and Japanese whalers increase in tension over the last few days and with it the new increased potential for the dispute to become militarised, with the threat of Japanese military protection for the whalers should the protest action continue.

New Zealand's response to date has been to send Orions to the area and to issue press releases on the matter. More is required.

New Zealand risks yet again its reputation as a local defence partner in the Pacific and its standing in the international anti-whaling community if it kowtows to threats from Japan that we know protect a web of hypocrisy and sustain clandestine commercial intentions in protected waters. It similarly risks earning a reputation as a nation of words without weapons. We cannot defend our skies, what price will we pay if we are perceived to be also unable to defend our waters?

New Zealand must therefore send a frigate or other naval vessel to the conflict area for purposes threefold:

- to impartially monitor the situation
- to communicate our concern for human life
- to assert the nation's opinion as we did at Mururoa

It need not initiate hostilities. Diplomacy carries many masks, and the time has come for New Zealand to live up to its reputation as an astute nation and for the Labour Government to repeat the diplomacy of 1973.

Yours sincerely,

(Links added).

I'd suggest replacing that rather frightening "need not initiate hostilities" with something along the lines of this not being about initiating hostilities or escalating the situation, but sending a message and being there if anybody needs out help. I'd also suggest adding Phil Goff and Winston Peters to the recipients.


"... defend our waters":

Antartic waters are not New Zealand's. Under the Antartic Treaty, our territorial claims in the area are in abeyance and we don't have the right to enforcement action against non-NZ vessels (even if they were in "our" sector which I don't think they are).

While conservation is important, so is international law. Too many countries believe that their idea of right overrides the legalities of a situation - we should not join in.

I see the argument for sending a warship to help out if there were to be some sort of incident but:
a: the people going there, both whalers and protesters are grown ups and know the risks.
b: having a warship on hand might encourage them to act more recklessly in the thought that we'd be there to pick up the pieces.

Posted by Rich : 1/13/2006 03:51:00 PM

Thanks for pointing that bit out as well - though I think the reference was to apparant general military impotence (and OTOH, as I've said on the other thread on this, we don't have a dick, militarily speaking, and I don't think we really want one anymore).

Anyway, the letter is easy enough to change for those who agree with its general direction.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/13/2006 04:15:00 PM


yeah, IS had the thrust of it.. pretty much getting at the general idea: "...perceived to be unable..."


Posted by Matt : 1/14/2006 08:25:00 PM