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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Franks on Fiji

A bit late but worth commenting on.

Stephen Franks calls for some realpolitik on Fiji.

He warns that Fiji under PM Bainimarama may move even further into the Chinese camp if New Zealand continues to adopt a hard line on demanding new elections.

says Stephen

Bainimarama is less racist than what he replaced. He is probably less corrupt. But most importantly, he is clearly in power. A basic principle of international relations is realism. The de facto ruler is the we ‘eat that’ unless we have the power and the nerve to topple that ruler.

Bainimarama is more democratic than the Chinese we’ve been cuddling up to, more rational than Mbeki and his fellow ex terrorists we’ve failed to denounce, and more capable than the regimes we are spending millions propping up in East Timor and Solomon Islands.

When compared with how we’ve treated other regimes we hold our noses with, our Fiji policy is bullying hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy might be justifiable if it was also pragmatic and unavoidable, but the result is a shambles. Ask any of New Zealand’s formerly Fijian Indian population, who have been following it closely.

We are displaying our incompetence to the worried US and Australia, Even the EU are baffled at our naivety as we drive Fiji unwillingly toward China.

China must be astonished by our bumbling as their once remote dream of getting naval port facilities in the middle of the South Pacific becomes more tangible by the day.

For how long will our pathetic forces be able to help our small island neighbours enforce their fisheries zones if there is a real and hostile naval presence in Fiji, sheltering pirate fishing fleets?

Murray McCully, please abandon the Peters/Clark folly.

I certainly share Stephen's concern. But I wonder that Mr Chaudhry and his comrades may have taken Fiji so far into China's clutches that a change in New Zealand policy would have no effect?


Blogger STC said...

I'm sorry, but when the west opened trade with China was the point at which we lost any measure of control over that state's destiny.

In return for stabilising the totaltarian regime in China, we've had less confrontation in Asia, cheaper consumer goods and the near complete undermining of the middle class which we are just seeing come to its logical end: America forced to choose between subsidising its industries beyond what is economically feasible, even regardless of whether it is economically desirable or giving up on middle class jobs in manufacturing. In New Zealand we no longer have that problem: we have almost no manufacturing to speak of and what little there is is in the process of either moving offshore (F&P) or folding (the baby buggy company just recently).

It just seems daft to me to talk about a New Zealand realpolitik approach to Bainimarama in order to stop the advance of China when we are the ones giving the antagonist (China) the power to take advantage of the situation.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

You're quite right STC.

If we'd never opened the trade gates to China we wouldn't have this problem now.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Steve Nice Guy Northland said...

I do wish someone would ask Mr Frunks about the business in that lift in Moscow all those years ago.

At least one of the parties present in said lift is still alive and well chaps.....

9:43 PM  

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