Facing the Moment of TruthFriday, Mar 21, 2003
The PM’s determination to remain independent and aloof from the warring activities in the Middle East is a new and unfamiliar stance that sets the stage for change in NZ’s international relationships.
Being brought up in the “where Britain stands we stand, where Britain goes we go” generation this standing back is pushing NZ into unknown territory. Claims that international relationships can be compartmentalised and trade separated from other policy is barely believable in the context of the complex of factors in the current Iraqi conflict.
However it is clear that NZ as a nation is being led further down the route of being a timid observer rather than participator with the great nations of the world as they go about their business.
It was our willingness to participate and not fence sit and make our contribution in last centuries wars and confrontations that built up a reserve of international goodwill that underwrote NZ’s development and standard of living. This goodwill is rapidly evaporating in the heat of currently rapidly changing international relationships.
While the moment of truth for NZ is not as imminent and as disastrous as that faced by Iraq there will inevitably be an accounting for our indifferent stand at this time. Let’s hope it does not come to account to the detriment of NZ’s primary producers.