- Daphna Whitmore
Condoleezza Rice just called in to say thank you.
Thanks for the “long history of partnership”. Thanks for New Zealand’s military participation in wars in Korea, the Pacific and more recently in Afghanistan.
Hang on a minute, isn’t Helen Clark supposed to be a peacenik camouflaged in a power suit?
Well no, not quite. She did, after all, send defence personnel to Iraq in the first days of the war when the US was desperate to cobble together an international alliance.
In Afghanistan the commitment has been much greater, with SAS troops and other personnel spending years there. Currently there are just 136 NZ defence personnel in Afghanistan doing “reconstruction work”, like building stations and purchasing equipment for the Afghan police force.
Rice appreciates that while New Zealand is a small player in US military adventures, this is a long term partnership. What’s more, this multilateralism gives a stamp of legitimacy to the imperialist occupations of countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Imperialists these days mostly prefer a humanitarian guise and New Zealand is a master at this. We shouldn’t be fooled by the pretext for the New Zealand personnel in Afghanistan. They are part of a force of nearly 250,000 foreign and local army and police seen as enemy forces by the people.
As Rice made clear - America sees New Zealand as a friend and ally.
What can a pint-sized imperialist like New Zealand do to help out the top imperialist these days? More troops to Afghanistan could be in order.
Both Obama and McCain want to send more troops to Afghanistan in a war that is predicted to last decades. There is talk of Condoleezza Rice being McCain’s running mate. Clearly, the next US government - whether it’s headed by a Democratic or Republican president - has its sights on stepping up the occupation of Afghanistan.
Before Condoleezza Rice arrived in New Zealand, Auckland University students offered a reward of $5,000 for a citizen’s arrest of her, and the stakes were raised by Victoria University students to $10,000.
The worst storm in 10 years didn’t stop protesters who rallied outside Government House and followed her to a reception in Auckland’s Langham hotel. She was originally to stay at the Grand Hotel at the SkyCity casino, but strikes planned to coincide with her stay saw her move to the Langham hotel.
The war criminal left New Zealand to head to a summit in Samoa with Winston Peters at her side.