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To understand is to excuse? Even a defence treaty breach?

  • May 16th, 2007

If understanding is forgiveness our soldiers and sailors now have more chance of regaining the access to joint training and intelligence we lost 20 years ago when David Lange reneged on, then repudiated, ANZUS.

The new U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South & Southeast Asia (including Australasia) knows us as well as any senior US official could. He was one of us. He is a former New Zealand diplomat.

This latest appointment is another sharp turn in a career of hairpin bends, but seemingly few blind alleys.

Professor James Clad became a US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense on 29 April. His mother was a New Zealander [no – see Jenny’s comment below].

As a law student in New Zealand after serving in Ethiopia with the US Peace Corps, he was a driving force behind the founding of Wellington’s Newtown Community Law Centre (inspired by the first one established in Grey Lynn by Robert Ludbrook). Those student volunteer law centres evolved into the current network of community law centres. I know this because he persuaded Nicola Crutchley (until recently Deputy Solicitor General) and me to help him.

Service with our Ministry of Foreign Affairs was too structured for the young Jim Clad. I can not remember whether he left to write for the Far Eastern Economic Review, but that certainly followed shortly after.

Will his familiarity help our case for reinstatement of the kind of mutual trust we had with our main allies before we became only very very very good friends? Who knows? Sometimes intimate knowledge can mean only better informed insult.

Our standing can not have been enhanced by the recent renewal of the shared big party hostility to all things nuclear. Did you know that our fear of facts is so extreme that it is an offence even to prospect for uranium in New Zealand? Just when the rest of the world is waking up to the stupidity of that kind of paranoia New Zealand’s two big parties renew their vows of irrationality.



Thank you, Steve, for the glowing account of my brother, Jim Clad. He has, indeed, had an illustrious (and varied) career.

A little ironic that he works for George W. Bush’s adminstration while I work in Al Gore’s world – i.e. global warming – as Director of The Climate Project…

Our mother, BTW, was born in White Plains, NY – and about as American as she could be – but immigrated to NZ in 1964 with her 4 children 2.5 yrs. after her husband was killed in a plane crash. Just to correct the record…


Thanks Jenny.
I knew your father was a judge. I thought the connection with NZ was a war bride.
Your mother’s choice makes the Clad family impact here and elsewhere even more extraordinary.
Now I’ll watch The Climate Project with more interest.

  • Michael Mckee
  • August 13th, 2007
  • 9:47 am

Dear Stephen
I hope we get all the help we can as we need it.

One thing I cannot fathom about this Labour Government is their inability to think long term on defense.

We have many organisations being named and labeled by our so called “allies on terror” But we fail to add them to any supplementary lists we can make.

Hence we don’t block those organisations and members from access to our space nor from operating here.

I think it must be ideological as I can’t get my head around just pure incompetence.

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