Wednesday, January 24, 2024

We should not be supporting foreign wars

Yesterday the government announced that it was sending a handful of New Zealand troops to the Middle East, to participate in the US bombing campaign against Yemen. The numbers and roles - six people, doing target selection - is very much a token contribution. At the same time it reveals a fundamental difference in outlook between this government and the previous one. When the US started bombing people, Labour would say "no thanks". National by contrast is eager to join foreign wars, sucking up to the Americans and British so they can be "part of the club".

The government's justification is protecting trade and the "rules-based international order". Sure, but rule #1 of that order is "don't commit genocide", and the US is currently preventing that rule being enforced against Israel. Rule #2 is "no war without UN permission", and the US is breaking that one too: there is no UN mandate for this operation. Basicly, National is siding with the lawless here, and we shouldn't be doing that.

What's the alternative? Simple: stay out of it. If the US wants to piss all over the rules-based international order while purporting to uphold it, let them do it alone. That would actually be consistent with our long-standing foreign policy of support for international law. By getting involved, National have shown themselves to be nothing more than sociopaths, willing to kill - or have others kill for them - for social status. They're utterly despicable, and we should regard them as criminals.

Meanwhile, if we don't want our governments to do this sort of shit in future, we need to take a hard look at the capabilities of the NZDF, and start removing the ones which enable this. NZDF performs many useful functions for us - disaster relief, search and rescue, peacekeeping. But getting involved in foreign wars is not one of them. There's no reason for a country without an air force and which opposes American bombing campaigns to have people trained in choosing who to murder from the sky. Likewise, there's no reason for us to have an SAS, or frigates, or gold-plated ASW aircraft. These capabilities serve no purpose other than allowing governments to drag us into illegal and immoral military operations. And as a peaceful nation which supports international law, we are better off without them.