By Dr. J. Coleman
Part one: Pivot to the east
With the rise in fuel costs and food prices, New Zealanders are struggling to make ends meet like never before. But it could get much much worse, as we are currently on the brink of losing 23% of our total goods export by making the catastrophic mistake of allowing ourselves to be bullied into joining a coalition against China, our biggest trading partner, with whom we signed the trade deal back in 2008.
New Zealand must face this partisan foreign policy nightmare head-on before we are delivered an economic death blow in the form of sanctions from China.
This was highlighted in 2022 by New Zealand ex-prime minister Sir John Key’s surprisingly bellicose comment on the visit to Taiwan by US House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“Reckless, provocative and dangerous” (1)
Pelosi’s visit to Taipei was a calculated provocation as the controversial trip was preceded some two weeks earlier by an unannounced meeting between the government-funded neo-liberal thinktank, the Atlantic Council, and the Taiwanese leadership (contradicting many apologists and mainstream-media claims that the visit was not officially sanctioned by the US).
Consequently, the Atlantic Council are widely considered to be the architects behind the US’ desperate gamble to cut off microchip supply to China, as Taiwan produces a staggering 92% of the world’s microchips. Microchips are the “new oil“ as every electrical appliance and technology that you could possibly think of uses these microchips. The foresight of the Chinese leadership has largely been underestimated. As Taiwan’s inevitable reunification with China could potentially be a tumultuous and lengthy process (to put it mildly), China has been rapidly developing and manufacturing its next generation of chips. A recent Bloomberg article noted that China’s top chip manufacturers recently advanced their production technology by two generations, defying US sanctions that were intent on halting the rise of China’s largest chipmaker.
To further US interests and prevent China from having access to the world’s advanced microchips, President Joe Biden signed the Chips and Science Act of 2022.
The US wants to use its patented Democracy only policy, and seek a dominant alliance with Japan, Korea and Taiwan. This alliance has been dubbed the Chip 4 Alliance. And its primary aim appears to be to cut China completely out of the market, but this is now a losing bet against China’s recent manufacturing prowess. When China revealed to the world that it leapfrogged two generations of chips. To go from producing 14 to 17-nanometer chips, it completely stunned the marketplace. Richard Turrin, a leading expert on China’s digital currency economy commented:
“Betting against China’s ability to manufacture anything is a losing bet.” (2)
New Zealand’s foreign policy planning must take into consideration the changing tides concerning the manufacture of this „new oil“ of semiconductors, and its profound implications for the future. Thirty years ago 37% of semiconductors were manufactured in the US. Today it is a mere 12% heavily in Asia’s favour. Pelosi’s humiliating snub by South Korean president exposes the fatal flaw in the Chip 4 Alliance namely, the potential loss of opportunities in the Chinese market.
How significant is this?
Like New Zealand, South Korea’s largest trading partner is China. Becoming too close to current US foreign policy will sink South Korea’s domestic economy.
Similarly, 39 billion of Japan’s chip-making devices go to China. Then consider that half of Taiwan’s 189 billion exports to mainland China were in microchips with year-on-year increase of 25%. Consequently, membership of Chip 4 Alliance is staring into the economic abyss.
New Zealand foreign policy planners would do well to err on the side of caution by scrutinising the predicaments of others before making potential irreversible and catastrophic decisions.
However, Pelosi’s visit clearly backfired as the Asia-Pacific nations, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand have, unsurprisingly, since reaffirmed their commitment to the One China policy. This is partially due to their respective private sectors’ legitimate fear of war breaking out in the region dramatically affecting their exports to China. The fallout of possible sanctions by China would haemorrhage their national economies.
(Malaysia currently exports 38, 7 billion to China, Indonesia exports 32, 2 to China, and respectively Singapore 42, 9 billion, Vietnam 49, 4 billion and Thailand 30, 2 billion).
This notwithstanding, the main reason behind this seismic pivot to the East has more to do with the implications of the recent challenge to the supremacy of the Petrodollar which I predicted back in 2008.
“For half a century or so, developing countries have been obliged to purchase paper dollars (i. e. all oil and petroleum sales have been in US dollars), resulting in coercing client nations to amass reserves of American currency in exchange for gold or tangible assets. Additionally, paper dollars could buy oil from bourses, within the financial bastions of the Anglo-American establishment. However, there is a danger that with the ascendancy of the BRICS economies, oil trading with currencies other than the US dollar from bourses that operate (in geopolitical terms) in regions outside of the traditional sphere of Western economic influence resulting in global instability could lead to world war. (3)
Global geo-politics is in danger of regional interests that do not enjoy the fail-safe mechanism of communications that existed during the cold war period. (4)
Already China has deep-water submarine bases in Burma, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, clearly to protect trade routes to increase its geopolitical influence force in India to align itself with the western periphery. As Pakistan cannot win a land war with India, and India cannot win a land war with China (as in 1962) increases the likelihood of nuclear confrontation in the region. Conflicted territorial interests between China and others increasingly frequent being largely symptomatic of an energy resource war driven by population. The US military, Navy and Air force, and its NATO allies with thus be stretched to breaking point across multiple geopolitical flash points (i.e. China/Taiwan, North Korea/Japan/South Korea, India/Pakistan and the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan) added to which is the very real fear of social unrest within the US mainland. Neither is it likely that current and future Russian administrations will ever accept the Anglo-American goal of a unipolar world, preferring its own system of oligarchy to dominate its industrial and extractor sectors to those of transnational corporations ostensibly under the aegis of the Anglo-American establishment.”
Significantly, President Xi of China’s recent meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia resulted in purchasing oil in the Chinese Yuan.
Additionally, sanctions are being effectively sidestepped by India as BRICS International Forum President Pernima Anand pointed out.
“Russia and India no longer need the US dollar for mutual settlement.” (3)
Furthermore, central banks are increasingly keen to hold China’s Yuan as a reserve currency, with 85% of central bank reserve managers confirming they hold the Yuan.
De-dollarization will naturally accelerate as China knows it will invariably be slapped with sanctions when the invasion of Taiwan begins.
Significantly the BRICS’s new reserve currency seems to be considering the new gold standard to continue to counter both political sanctions and the IMF’s Special Drawings Right (SDR) which is increasing the speed of the de-dollarisation process. Already emerging markets are rushing to join the BRICS alliance as high energy prices persist. Such as Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Hot on the heels of this announcement in June 2022 came to disclosure that Iran and Argentina had also applied to join with support from China. Since then a growing number of nations have expressed interest in joining the organisation.
A total of forty-one countries interested in accepting and trading with BRICS currency when it launches on the international stage. The countries that have shown interest to accept the BRICS currency hail from both Asia and Africa. They also include all rich nations from middle east. The countries that have shown interest to join the BRICS alliance are Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Syria, The United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Tunesia, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
The winds of change are undeniably blowing in from the East, evident in recent geopolitical trends. For example, India sent thousands of troops to conduct military exercises with Russia and China coinciding with the UK’s recent demotion “to the position of being the 6th most powerful economy” while India rose to become the fifth most powerful economy in the world.
Dr Swaran Singh, professor of diplomacy and disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, calls India’s position one of proactive neutrality.
“India is not saying we have nothing to do with the conflict, but it’s very proactive,” he says, for example, engaging in diplomacy with Russia, Ukraine and the US and rescuing Indian and other foreign nationals at the start of the conflict.
Singh explains India’s neutrality is rooted in its history of non-alignment during the cold war, which subsequently shifted into a policy of multi-alignment through which India has tried to build as many partnerships as possible. Now that India has close ties to both the US and Russia, Singh explains that it has done a “cost-benefit analysis and it feels that that proactive neutrality ensures maximum benefits with minimum costs.” (4)
New Zealand’s foreign policy planners need only to join the dots to see where this is all heading. Any New Zealand prime minister hoping to keep the economy afloat whilst remaining friends with everyone in a polarizing world is walking a dangerous tightrope. Indeed, this balancing act for New Zealand’s statesmen and women has become unbearable and unsustainable.
So the question is in which direction and exactly how should New Zealand’s independent foreign policy develop to accommodate such conflict of interest in a dramatically changing landscape? New Zealand has recently been criticised by both sides of the geopolitical divide (i. e. multipolarists versus World Economic Forum-led unipolarists each with their interests) for sitting on the fence and exhibiting a kind of schizophrenia by saying exactly whatever big power wants to hear.
As the mechanisms and supply chain of globalism collapses, New Zealand needs to find the courage to reassert its sovereignty, uniqueness and independence, “to go it alone” before it becomes (as Henry Kissinger would have it) “a pawn in someone else’s game”, by relinquishing its resources to corporate forces (as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement attempted to do) becoming in due process, a vassal state or a protectorate of western unipolarism. Simply put, New Zealand is in danger of becoming too closely aligned to a declining power. De-dollarization has begun and the future is clearly Asian.
How then does New Zealand prioritize the relationship with its biggest trading partner and remain friends with its former allies when the world is on the brink of WW3?
(The US has declared it will defend Taiwan militarily, Russia has put its nuclear arsenal on high alert and mobilized its reserves.)
Part two: The argument for neutrality
The only answer for New Zealand’s predicament is the adoption of the Swiss model of neutrality at the soonest possible opportunity. Permanent neutrality is a principle of Swiss foreign policy. It is an internationally recognized providence of peace and stability in Europe and beyond. It ensures the country’s independence and the inviolability of its territory. According to the law of neutrality, Switzerland must not participate in a war of states. The law of neutrality which was codified in The Hague Convention of 1907 and is part of international customary law defines the rights and obligations of a neutral state.
The most important of these rights is the inviability of a neutral state’s territory. The main obligations are:
- Refrain from engaging in war
- Ensure its defence
- Ensure equal treatment for belligerent states in the exportation of war material
- Not supply belligerent troops to belligerent states
- Not allow belligerent states to use its territory
Switzerland may be small in size but it possesses one of the world’s most vibrant and innovative economies in the world, ranking second in Europe and fifth in the World.(*) New Zealand needs to revolutionize both its education system and agrarian sector. A key component of Switzerland’s economic success is its unique vocational education and training (VET) system.
Firmly ingrained in the Swiss culture and economic engine, this combined theory and practice-based model is the most popular form of upper secondary education in Switzerland. With two-thirds of young people opting for foundational vocational training after coming out of compulsory education, Swiss VET caters for all kinds of students, including high achievers, who can choose from 250 different occupations. Preparing them for the world of work and supporting them throughout their careers, this system is also thought to be one of the main reasons behind the country’s comparatively low youth unemployment rates.
But what is the Swiss VET model, and what makes it so successful?
A world-class system
The Swiss federally recognized vocational education and training model is a dual-education – or dual-track VET – a system which combines part-time classroom instructions (usually one to two days a week) with part-time paid workplace training or apprenticeship at a hosting company (usually three to four days a week). The vocational training courses last two to four years and form the basis for lifelong learning.
Today, Switzerland is a global leader when it comes to vocational training, on-the-job comparison to other vocational education and training systems.
Transformation of the Agrarian sector in preparedness for war
Self-sufficiency is our primary need in multiple areas and is necessary to counter potential disruption of the international supply chain. For example, there is an urgent need to create a fully nationalised pharmaceutical institution whose sole function is to manufacture and stockpile vital medical supplies (such as insulin) to avoid dependence on imported products.
Food production (and storage) must be accelerated by every means available to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, ranging from volcanic activity, and coronal mass ejections to nuclear war and radiation. Advanced, innovative systems of hydroponics should be established in every community across New Zealand effectively supplying nutritious food throughout the inevitable climate changes that lie ahead.
New Zealand’s long-term goal should be to source all our food from within 12 miles of where it was eaten. Food transportation has been responsible for the significant increase in road freight over the past 15 years, and more importantly, New Zealand should aspire to become a world leader in green solutions. This will require a radical transition from a monoculture to a polyculture, that is tempered by gradualism (as pointed out earlier), as it is necessary in the immediate term to increase food production in preparation for global conflict.
By far, the most dangerous development in modern agricultural practices is the rapid depletion of essential bio-organisms in the soil by the slash-and-burn policies of monoculture exacerbated by phosphates. As a result, only one-three-hundredth of the Earth’s surface produces food. Obviously, nothing short of an agrarian revolution is required to reverse this process and increase soil microbes efficiently.
The knowledge is already there when we consider the Maori’s sacred relationship with the land embodied in the phrase “Tangata Whenua”. One moving description of this phrase I heard, was that “we are all walking particles of Earth”.
Ultimately it is our relationship with the land that is in dire need of change.
Projecting New Zealand’s self-image
Most informed people realize that New Zealand’s “clean green image” is a far cry from reality. That being said, it is the most important of aspirations as it defines both our self-identity and national modus-operandi. For example, the restoration of New Zealand’s native forests projects a clear message to the world about its “core green values” (being potentially both “a bread basket” and “Garden of Eden”). While this is an elusive goal, it should be remembered that its primary function is the projection of an image of sustainability that New Zealand will be obliged to live up to. This can only be achieved by a cultural renaissance.
Transition to a semi-direct democratic system
Having a daughter who is a Swiss politician has drawn my attention to Switzerland’s unique and effective voting system. Switzerland’s voting system is unique among modern democratic nations in that Switzerland practices direct democracy in parallel with representative democracy, which is why the Swiss system is known as a semi-direct democracy. Direct democracy allows any citizen to challenge any law approved by the parliament or, at any time, propose a modification of the federal Constitution.
Like Switzerland, New Zealand should develop its private banking sector to accommodate off-shore investment facilities, whilst adopting certain economic innovations more in keeping with New Zealand’s aforementioned core “green values”. The Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef outlined six basic principles (or building blocks) for economic transformation.
- The economy has to serve the people – not the people serve the economy
- Development is about people, not about objects
- Growth is not the same as development (similarly, development does not necessarily require growth)
- No economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services
- Economy is a subsystem of the environment so infinite growth is impossible
- No economic circumstance can be above the developments of life in all its manifestations
Switzerland successfully navigated the upheaval of both WW1 and WW2 by utilising such principles whilst assuming the role of an international mediator. Similarly, New Zealand must emulate this mode, strengthening its “Asia-Pacific self-image” and taking full advantage of being the most stable nation in the southern hemisphere in order to secure future global investment. Geopolitically it has the added advantage of being able to trade before any nation in the world.
Finally, like Switzerland, New Zealand’s terrain is near impossible to invade (as the Maori wars were a testament to). Similarly, to comply with the principles of neutrality, New Zealand would need to increase its military reserves, and (like Switzerland) institute a compulsory system of the draft.
Part three: Obstacles and solutions
Clearly, New Zealand fails to qualify as a potential neutral nation for a multiplicity of reasons:
A) The reason that New Zealand is a nuclear target is due to its accommodation of the Eschalon system on its territory (the listening post of the Five Eyes alliance) which has multiple functions apart from electronic spying on friends. Primarily it has a military purpose (a fact that is not lost on its primary trading partner, China). Plainly speaking the spy base is an outpost of the US National Security Agency operation on New Zealand’s soil.
Eschalon also guides nuclear-tipped cruise missiles to their target making New Zealand ground zero for Chinese (and Russian) ICBMs (a nuclear strike on New Zealand would also neutralise multiple satellites facilitating next-generation defence systems such as directed energy weapons).
Reading between the lines of a recent warning to New Zealand to be aware of their eyes being “poked and blinded”, it is hard not to construe this as a reference to a possible military response on New Zealand’s territory (and a clear allusion to its continuing Five-Eyes alliance membership).
For example when New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta noted that New Zealand did not want to see a widening of the scope of the intelligence network,
“We are unconfortable with expanding the remit of the Five Eyes.”
the British press (7) actually came up with the best solution of all:
“The Five Eyes network could become four.”
All of which exposed the critical debate occurring at the highest levels of foreign policy development but more importantly, its possible solution.
In other words, by the laws of neutrality, there must be a limit to the influence of all foreign powers. It is thus necessary to have a frank re-evaluation of our current relationship with our third major trading partner – the US – and its encroaching influence on New Zealand’s territorial sovereignty.
Former prime minister David Lange’s claim, that he was not even notified about the proposed spy base, is clearly symptomatic of a hidden hierarchy and increasing allegiance to external forces by our existing spy agencies and military, both of which are in desperate need of transformation and transparency.
New Zealand’s existing constitution has undoubtedly been circumvented for a considerable period with absolutely no democratic oversight.
“It is an outrage that I and other Ministers were told so little, and this raises the question of to whom those concerned (in the agencies) saw themselves ultimately responsible.”
Former prime minister David Lange’s comments, that his life was threatened by then US vice-president Dan Quale over the Labour Government’s nuclear policy, should also be taken seriously as it highlighted the brutal reality and toxicity of this grossly asymmetrical dynamic. David Lange notified the SIS who unsurprisingly downplayed the incident. Vice president Quale (being second in line within the political hierarchy of the US) was more than likely repeating the prevailing view of the US deep state. When my friend Mikey Havoc asked former Prime Minister Helen Clark about the possible removal of the Waihopai station, she replied abruptly “non-negotiable”.
The Five Eyes alliance appears to be shaping up to be a de-facto geopolitical bloc. John Key explicitly cited the Five Eyes as the justification for New Zealand’s involvement in the Iraq War.
The New Zealand Herald quoted Prime Minister John Key:
“New Zealand’s likely military contribution to the fight against Islamic State is the price of the club’ that New Zealand belongs to with the likes of the United States, Australia, Britain and Canada in the intelligence alliance known as Five Eyes.” (8)
More recently, New Zealand’s Five Eyes partners have tried to make it an actual geo-political bloc, issuing politicised one-sided statements about China’s various misdeeds, obviously pressurising New Zealand to sign on.
In some cases, the Government has done so; other times, it has asserted its increasingly hollow claim, that New Zealand has an independent foreign policy.
New Zealand’s imperative is to get out of Five Eyes as expediently as possible if it is to have a truly independent foreign policy and safeguard itself against becoming a nuclear target. Five Eyes will only continue to get more complex in a geo-political game currently playing out, as there is now talk of the alliance being expanded to include Japan and Israel. (and their respective foreign policies). New Zealand is being increasingly sucked into the vortex of US neo-liberal foreign policy. The issue should be resolved via referendum.
B) The US military base at Christchurch airport
The American military occupation of Christchurch International Airport (Harewood) has its roots in the 1950s. The scientific International Geophysical Year (1957-58) brought military air and logistics support in the form of the US Navy and Air Force. The Navy left in 1998, but the Air Force continues its military/intelligence support operations to this day. The American military operates under the cover of the Antarctic Agreement of 1961. Both overt and covert military and intelligence support operations that have little or no relationship to Antarctic science and logistics (Operation Deep Freeze) have gone on for years both in Christchurch and Antarctica. The New Zealand government has never questioned the scope of US military activities at Christchurch – the only Australasian city to host a foreign base within its bounds.
The US government regards the US area at the airport as sovereign US territory and not subject to NZ law. New Zealanders in the employ of the US military engaged in Antarctic logistics have long been denied the option of belonging to a trade union in their own country. Customs and agriculture officials may not set foot on any American military aircraft; they too are sovereign US territory under international law.
Military research in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Antarctic was frequently supported by Operation Deep Freeze in violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Antarctic Treaty. The USAF Air Mobility Command (formerly the Military Airlift Command) supports Antarctic operations in the southern summer. But its large Starlifter and Galaxy cargo aircraft also supply vital US military/intelligence bases in Australia (such as Pine Gap) year-round with several flights a month through Christchurch. This has gone on since the early 1960s with the planes covered by the American neither-confirm-nor-deny nuclear weapons policy – the same policy that saw US Navy ships banned by law from New Zealand since 1987. The NZ government gives these aircraft annual blanket clearance for unlimited flights and no questions asked.
Despite New Zealand having been expelled from ANZUS since the 1980s and supposedly frozen out of a direct military relationship with the US, because of our nuclear-free stance, there has never been the slightest suggestion from the US of it relocating or closing the Harewood base.
Why? Because it values having a medium-level multi-purpose US military transport base in New Zealand. Harewood has always been the only actual US military base in NZ, as opposed to specialist installations. The US values having a sovereign base here, and it has served as a host for all manner of US military and political figures for decades, to the very highest level of the US Government. From CIA Director Richard Helms in the 1970s to President Bill Clinton in 1999, they’ve all come to Harewood. (Anti-Bases Campain web)
C) US military-industrial complex investment in New Zealand
The US military-industrials complex’s recent development of rocket technology in New Zealand (Rocket Lab) is glaringly incompatible with the law of neutrality of 1907.
D) Putting aside the fact that the US has initiated 26 wars since the last world war, countless regime changes, legalized many forms of torture and remains the only nation to have used the atomic bomb on other humans. It is probably not a good idea to become involved with such foreign policy. The US still maintains a pre-emptive strike policy with nuclear weapons (the Monroe doctrine). All of which is obviously out of step with New Zealand’s peaceful aspirations of a nuclear-free zone. As things stand, New Zealand is an occupied nation.
Geo-political events are moving at such an alarming rate, that New Zealand needs to invoke the 1907 law of neutrality as a political imperative, in order to give a clear signal of intention to the international community. This simple legal declaration would precipitate a timeline for the eventual removal of foreign bases in line with the principles of neutrality. This is essential if we are to truly develop and maintain our independent foreign policy, salvage our economy and protect our citizens as Switzerland succesfully did throughout two world wars
When the current “new cold war” turns hot, isolationism will gather overwhelming support and public opinion will be mobilized by self-preservation. National interests will supersede what remains of globalism. Voting in future elections must be strategic in its rejection of globalism. For example any party or politician operating on a World Economic Forum platform must be identified and systematically disengaged. Again, tactical voting is the key!
The political pendulum having reached its zenith… will inevitably swing the other way.
Charity begins at home.
(*) 2019 Global Competitiveness Report
(5) Bourses, which involve Russia, China and oil rich Muslim nations
(6) For example, there is no communication hotline between Israel and Iran
(7) The Times and The Telegraph
(9) Global Times Watcher Guru