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Driving Fiji toward China

  • December 16th, 2008

Winston Peters didn’t make a spectacular early mess as ‘Foreign Minister’, then won over the apprehensive Foreign Affairies by largely following their briefs and capped that by establishing a helpful relationship with the US.

But the media pendulum swung too far. They over-compensated for their doubts with uncritical reporting in that sphere.

The media faithfully reported his and Clark’s hostility to Bainimarama as an unavoidable and principled stand.

Principled it may have been, but it was and is incompetent. Whatever their motives the outcome of  setting up sanctions and ultimata from which they could not climb back is much less influence for us, and less likelihood of protecting our back yard as a zone of peace.

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.

Update – for discussion see Kiwiblog’s post today on the topic



Hear, hear!

(As an ex-National candidate, I’m hoping you have some influence still in National circles. McCully doesn’t seem to listen to me, even if I’m a voter in his electorate who sends him the odd email.)

  • Jim Maclean
  • December 23rd, 2008
  • 11:48 am

Once again Stephen puts the argument in context and succinctly. The facts are that Fiji’s actions have not been as we would prefer in an ideal world but we don’t live in an ideal world. Bainimarama could reasonably claim that to do anything except sieze power as he has done would have likely resulted in his death, sanctimonious protests from New Zealand notwithstanding.
Some time ago, Rabuka was given the idea of a coup from an exercise he did in training with the NZ army, he then became the puppet of the tribal leaders when their favoured pick could not win an election fairly. By the time he woke up to the game, it was too late and Fiji had become dangerously unstable. As he has so often done, Wintson Peters overplayed his hand following success and ended up losing the game.

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