Monday, April 08, 2013

Not helpful

North Korea is currently engaged in one of its semi-regular sabre-rattling exercises in an effort to frighten its own people with an outside enemy and distract them from their poverty and starvation. Usually these things come to nothing, but you never know, and so the international community is being cautious, with the US cancelling a missile test to avoid escalating the situation. So naturally, its the perfect time for John Key to blurt out that if the US gets involved in a war, he's happy to send kiwis to die alongside them:

If war breaks out, the United States and Australia would likely join to defend the South. Mr Key implied we would side with our old allies and New Zealand would be at war with North Korea.

"I wouldn't want to speculate, but obviously we have got a long and proud history of coming to the support of South Korea. Taken to the extreme, and without interventions and resolutions to the issues, that is of course possible."

On the one hand, Key was merely stating the obvious. Collective security is a fundamental part of New Zealand's foreign policy, and if the UN asked for armed intervention as it did in 1950, we would find it hard to refuse. But now really isn't the time to be saying that. Key described the actions of the North Korean regime as "not helpful", "overly provocative", and "destabilising the region". He might as well have been describing himself.