Five questions for ex United Nations Security Council President Terence O’Brien.
Few practitioners from any nation have enjoyed quite such an extended career at the heart of the global firmament as British-born diplomat Terence O’Brien (above). He was president of the Security Council of United Nations during the Balkans conflict. He was one of the principal access negotiators on behalf of New Zealand when Britain originally entered the European Common Market. He has occupied posts in London, Brussels, Bangkok and Geneva. He was the founding director of the Institute of Strategic Studies.
You have been an outspoken opponent of mixing trade with foreign affairs?
This is not strictly accurate. I take issue rather with the jargon that “all New Zealand foreign policy is trade” which is a holdover from earlier times and reflected today in a sense promoted by some New Zealand leaders, that NZ’s success and place in the world is to be judged primarily by the number of Free Trade Agreements that it is able to secure.
NZ’s modern experience especially in respect to emergent Asia proves emphatically that successful trade arrangements depend firstly and vitally upon sound political and diplomatic relationships (China is a prime but by no means solitary example). NZ’s accomplishments in Asia and indeed elsewhere rely in other words, upon earned trust with other governments. Fostering that trust is a political/diplomatic responsibility.
Predictable trade relationships require a great deal more than nimble private sector commercial skills- although those are indispensable of course to overall success and the New Zealand private sector plus NZ primary producer groups have been notably effective in this regard.
To what extent do you view the recent NZ sponsorship of the UN Israel censure as a development of this blend?
There may have been in the minds of some on the NZ side, the thought that sponsorship might earn credits in some Gulf States where NZ seeks to formalise free trade arrangements; but around the UNSC table there is genuine concern about the danger for the future of ‘two state solution’ to the Israel/Palestine conflict ,that has been the long established diplomatic basis for eventual peace. The present Israeli government appears openly to resile from this formula as it continues resolutely to expand Jewish settlements on the West Bank, a practice deplored by the UN Security Council. From the moment it gained a place on the 2015-16 UNSC NZ committed itself to contributing to the search for progress on this key issue. Co-sponsorship of the eventual UNSC resolution which calls as well for Palestinians to desist from provocation and terrorism, was the logical consequence.
Looking back on your days as a dairy sector negotiator during Britain’s entry into the Common Market, how do you view Brexit now in terms of NZ diplomacy and trade?
From the perspective of a small, distant but companionable partner of Europe, Brexit appears to be a mistake. It comes too at a time when conservative populism is on the rise within Europe with the emergence of right wing nationalist political groups in several countries. Twentieth century experiences of European mistakes and miscalculations and their devastating global consequences, not once but twice, are not to be overlooked.
British entry into Europe was a taxing experience for NZ. The deals struck for safeguarding NZ trade interests represented a stay of execution rather than reprieve for this country . Within relatively short periods of negotiated transition the New Zealand farm economy was obliged to diversify production and markets. That process drove foreign policy extending NZ political and diplomatic interests to a wide range of new partners (in the Middle East, Communist Europe, Latin America and, most notably Asia) . It consolidated NZ as a genuine world trader with global interests. Global interests are inextricably bound up with global responsibilities even for small countries, and require contributions to global wellbeing and stability.
The process deepened NZ support for international rules based behaviour particularly in trade but also in directly related areas such as peace and security, freedom for transport and navigation, responsible behaviour in global environmental and resource protection and so forth. Because of the very nature of its own being the European Union (EU) has been a notable champion of an international rules based system. But the fact of BREXIT places a question mark over how influential a collective European voice will now be in the future. At a time when American commitment to global rules is questionable under a new inexperienced President Trump, the need for sustained collective European support for the system has never been greater. The foreseeable future suggests that New Zealand will crucially need the courage of its convictions.
How do you feel about the Helen Clark bid to be the UN Secretary General especially in regard to her role as an officer of the UN at the time?
The selection process for a new UN Secretary General in 2016 sought to break new ground - which is always difficult in the UN. Formal candidatures backed by governments and involving public job interviews were decreed for the first time in 70 years. Hitherto candidatures had been exclusively personal affairs and selection decided behind tightly held UN Security Council doors where the votes of the five permanent Council members (US, UK, France, Russia and China) were decisive. This time a new approach was defined in the interests of greater transparency and democracy in the selection process. It is stretching things somewhat to suggest those goals were achieved.
There was a general sentiment beforehand that the new appointee should be from Eastern Europe (which has never supplied a UN Secretary General ) and also be female (which would be a first). In the event neither aspiration prevailed and the choice, of a Portuguese male, was once again taken behind closed doors at the UNSC.
Helen Clark was a creditable candidate and the NZ government campaigned for her, but her success depended first and foremost upon her own efforts. She came as a candidate from within the ranks of the UN itself, but this is not without precedent (Kofi Annan one the most effective SGs, was a UN Secretariat employee). As head of the UN’s largest aid institution she was well known across a very wide number of UN member countries ( especially developing countries).The reasons for her lack of success will probably never be known in full. Her relatively poor showing in the straw polling of UN member countries before the final appointment, was an undeniable disappointment. The most that can be said is that she was a serious contender; and NZ can take some consolation from that.
What are your views on Russia and NZ’s participation in the US-EU trade embargo?
With Russia and NATO we are reaping what was sown. At the end of the Cold War there was an opportunity for the Americans and Europeans to consolidate a cooperative inclusive (of Russia) security system for a post CW Europe. The Soviet led Warsaw Pact subsided into oblivion which is what military alliances historically do when conflicts end, and/or the reason for their existence disappears. NATO in direct contrast did not. It was enlarged with new members, new bases installed and its boundaries extended into Russia’s borderlands - which for the US anyway potentially included Ukraine. But who was the adversary? An enfeebled Russia could do nothing but (as George Kennan amongst others warned) one could not rule out economic recovery by Russia and new leadership that objected to NATO expansion (which included into the affairs of the Middle East) and would push back. Enter Mr Putin, and so it has come to pass. His preemptive seizure of Crimea (where the Russian fleet has had a base for two centuries or so) is contrary to the international rule of law - but hardly surprising in the wake of western foolhardiness.
NZ should sustain a suitably detached policy position over present NATO-Russia. We do not have a dog in the fight. Russia does not threaten the US although Putin clearly intends that Russia be assertive and taken seriously internationally. Russian interference in the US electoral process may or may not have occurred. If it is proven Russians would presumably point to equivalent American policies in the name of “spreading democracy” in Russia ,its satellites, and including Ukraine. They are, on both sides, ‘pots calling kettles black’
| From the MSCNewsWire reporters' desk | Monay 27 March 2017 |||
Statesman told his family to journey as far away from Germany as possible.
The New Zealand-born grandson of Ludwig Haas leader of the German Democratic Party in the 1920s and often described as the only politician who could have stopped World War 2 is assisting in a major biography of his ancestor.
The biography sponsored by the Commission for the History of Parliament and Political Parties is being published by Droste Verlag of Dusseldorf, a general interest publishing house.
Ludwig Haas (pictured above) died in 1930 while organising a broad based coalition to counter what he perceived would become the burgeoning and overwhelming rise of the National Socialists.
The politician’s early death was ascribed to the ravages of the front during the First World War in which he was decorated with the Iron Cross
With his last breath the dying politician instructed his son Karl “to put as much distance” as the son could “between you and Germany.”
Karl Haas took his father’s instructions literally, eventually arriving in New Zealand shortly before the outbreak of World War 2.
He began his career working in Auckland for wool brokers E. Lichtenstein. After finding his feet in his new country he then acquired a farm near Pahiatua in New Zealand’s North Island.
It was there, in this remote location, that the Haas family remained with Tony Haas, the grandson, being born toward the end of World War 2.
Tony Haas, (pictured, below) Ludwig’s grandson, is widely known in New Zealand for his work with Pacific Island communities and their economies.
In recent years has become acknowledged as one of Oceania’s public intellectuals. Two years ago Mr Haas’ own autobiography was published entitled Being Palangi: My Pacific Journey.
BADEN-BADEN, Germany The world's top economic powers have dropped a pledge to fully oppose trade protectionism, amid pushback from the government of U.S. President Donald Trump. Finance ministers at a Group of 20 meeting in Germany issued a statement Saturday that said only that countries "are working to strengthen the contribution of trade" to their economies. By comparison, last year's meeting called on... Full article on World powers drop pledge to fully oppose trade protectionism . . .read full release here
| A World News release | March 18, 2017 ||
Quai D’Orsay and Lambton Quay share a nightmare
The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade must now begin the difficult and counter-ideological process of accepting that Marine Le Pen’s National Front Party might win the pending Presidential Election in France.
The reason is that Miss Le Pen has pledged to extricate France from both the EU and also the eurocurrency.
Miss Le Pen (pictured) and her party according to the polls is now the front runner to take over the Presidency and thus the government of France.
The former Prime Minister Francois Fillon has dropped in the polls following revelations that the leader of the Republican (i.e. Conservative) Party had while serving President Sarkozy put most of his family on the parliamentary payroll for performing duties that still remain unclear.
The second-line Republican Party candidate Alain Juppe has ruled himself out from succeeding the beleaguered Mr Fillon, partly because Mr Juppe, also a former premier, had also been mixed up in what the French describe as “fictitious employees.”
This leaves Miss Le Pen, followed by Emmanuel Macron the youthful former economics minister under President Francois Hollande.
Mr Macron in exiting the government of President Hollande did not wait to become adopted by an existing party. He simply formed his own France En Marche—France on the Move.
The Socialist Party led by Mr Hollande is simply not in the running, and does not feature in any of the polls as a realistic winner.
All this is bad news of course on Quay D’ Orsay and equally on Lambton Quay. On the quays the fervent hope was that while Miss Le Pen’s National Front might win the first round in the election, the once solid-seeming Mr Fillon would wash her away in the second round.
If the current polls hold water also washed away will be two years worth of negotiations in formal support of the EU-New Zealand trade liberalisation agreement.
Also swept aside will be the European Commission’s mandate to put the trade deal into action.
The reason is that France’s departure from the EU, and it is likely to be abrupt if Miss Le Pen takes charge, will invalidate the central axis of the union which is the German-French one.
France is the link between the Nordic/ Teutonic zone and the Mediterranean member countries.
It is uncertain if New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has charted a contingency plan in the now likely chance that Miss Le Pen and her party will emerge victorious from the imminent general election in France.
But given last year’s upsets in the US and the UK a suitable such contingency scheme would be to have ready a shrink-wrapped substitute deal with the EU’s northern nations.
The victory of President Donald Trump in the United States indicated that the New Zealand apparatus did not lay any groundwork, notably alternatives, for an event that it most ardently hoped would not in fact happen.
To an only slightly less extent the Brexit development is a similar indicator in an antipodean belief in the status quo.
| From the MSCMewsWire reporters' desk | Thursday 9 March 2017 ||
What Trump gets wrong about manufacturing
President Trump has promised to revitalize American manufacturing by bringing back mass production to the United States. This past Thursday, he convened a “listening session” with his manufacturing council, and a week ago, in front of thousands of Boeing factory workers in North Carolina, the president reaffirmed his mantra to have “products made in America, made by American hands.”
President Trump is right in his call to invest more resources in manufacturing in America. But, he is mistaken to focus solely on mass production. The future of the sector lies not just with mass production but also with low-volume manufacturing and precision machining (a $60 billion industry) where America already offers a strong value proposition for its customers right here in the U.S.
For example, the president missed an opportunity to nurture this large manufacturing base when he filled his manufacturing council with executives mostly from Fortune 500 companies. Small- to mid-size machine shops, that specialize in low- volume manufacturing, also deserve airtime for their contribution to the rising tide of manufacturing in America. Whether through traditional machining or newer 3D printing processes, these manufacturers are often on the cutting edge of product development.
In an interview following the manufacturing council meeting last week, U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi said it was “totally realistic to bring [manufacturing] jobs back.” As we put in place policies to bring back these jobs, however, we must be mindful of the realities of the 21st century economy.
Low volume manufacturers in the United States already offer a tremendous value proposition versus our main overseas competitors. These smaller businesses are much more sensitive to the cost of regulation and such regulation often prevents them from expanding, either through the purchase of additional capacity or additional employees.
By embracing new, smarter technologies like 3D printing, low volume manufacturers are both adapting to a more advanced economy and creating jobs in America. Operating 3D printers or CNC machines provides machinists, who now must be a combination of artisan and computer programmer, the requisite skills to adopt quickly the most advanced manufacturing technologies.
The United States has significant advantages in low-volume manufacturing. It demands a high degree of quality control and supply chain management. Sourcing in the U.S., where there are no cross-border issues and every destination is no more than a day away, is safer than offshoring.
While we don’t expect President Trump to spend the next press conference lauding new jobs at Bikle Manufacturing or pressuring Ashby Manufacturing to keep jobs in Pennsylvania, it would be wise for his administration to be more inclusive of the low-volume manufacturing sector.
It would be misguided to think that reshoring jobs from a handful of companies that are household names will be enough to bring back the glory days of manufacturing in this country. The government must also invest in the small machine shops that you probably have never heard of. These shops, many of which are third or fourth generation American have been making America great for decades.
| An opinion from Randy Atschuler on The Hill Washington | March 01, 2017 ||
US president Donald Trump is speeding ahead with his plans to build the controversial wall along the country's border with Mexico, with a deadline for prototype proposals set for early next month.
Last week, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a notice outlining its intent to open calls for the design and construction of the border wall on 6 March 2017.
The statement describes the project as the "design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico".
Those interested will then have a five-day window to submit their proposals, with the deadline on 10 March 2017. Contracts could be awarded as soon as mid-April.
Read the presolicitation notice from the Federal Business Opportunities website below:
The Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intends on issuing a solicitation in electronic format on or about March 6, 2017 for the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico.
The procurement will be conducted in two phases, the first requiring vendors to submit a concept paper of their prototype(s) by March 10, 2017, which will result in the evaluation and down select of offerors by March 20, 2017.
The second phase will require the down select of phase one offerors to submit proposals in response to the full RFP by March 24, 2017, which will include price. Multiple awards are contemplated by mid-April for this effort. An option for additional miles may be included in each contract award.
Issued on 24 February 2017, the notice coincided with a speech that Trump made during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.
He told the crowd that construction of the wall would begin very soon. "It's way, way, way ahead of schedule," Trump said.
Plans for the border wall formed a major part of Trump's presidential campaign and have proved controversial from the start.
Architects and designers have reacted in a variety of ways, including suggestions for a Luis Barragán-inspired pink barrier, a series of landscaped features instead of a wall or fence, and a mock-up of an Ikea flat-pack kit as a cheap option.
Earlier this month, the American Institute of Architects called for fair and impartial immigration policies in reaction to Trump's attempts to restrict travel to the US.
The organisation initially pledged support for the president after his election win, but then apologised after a backlash from its members.
| A deZEEN release | February 28, 2017 ||
Five questions for Washington insider Scot Faulkner
The newly installed Trump Administration continues to catch New Zealand officialdom by surprise. So MSC Newswire asked Washington insider Scot Faulkner (above) what Wellington’s response should in fact be? Mr Faulkner was elected the first Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives. His reforms became a model for the operation of national parliaments around the world.
The New Zealand Foreign Ministry has set up a special focus group solely for the purpose of identifying early warning of new policies promulgated by President Trump, the ones which will have an impact on this country. Can you short circuit this by helpfully forecasting any of these pending surprise policies?
The New Zealand Foreign Ministry’s Trump Task Force will only be of value if it discards long held assumptions and embrace a totally new way of thinking and acting. Trying to predict Trump through traditional means, such as monitoring after-the-fact media, is like using ouija boards, tarot cards, and horoscopes.
The Ministry’s primary objective should be to move at “Trump speed” and navigate in Trump’s world. Non traditional sources, non traditional methods will be keys to success. Thinking like a visionary risk-taking entrepreneur instead of a politician is the first step into this new reality.
Trump is unique. No one like him has ever been the President of the United States. While a few Presidents had business experience, their main credentials were either the military or government. America usually faced political or military crises. The 2007-2008 economic collapse convinced most Americans that something radical was necessary. So they rallied around a businessman who was known to most as a reality television star. As Trump stated, “everyone else has failed you – what do you have to lose? Try me.”
Trump’s unique background means unique thought patterns and processes. President Trump gets his ideas, news, and validation from places never before involved in governing. He is fearless, non linear. He embraces chaos, acts on intuition, moves quickly, and uses surprise as a strategic weapon. Sometimes only he knows the ultimate objective. He is a student of military history, especially Sun Tzu. That is what gave him the winning edge in business, the Republican primaries, and the 2016 general election.
Trump’s new Administration is already being tested by China, Russia, and a variety of other nations. President Trump’s responses will indicate many things: how fast he responds, how he responds, how he views the challenge and the challenger, how he frames the challenge within his existing world view, how willing is he to vary from stated positions to address a unique situation, how willing is he to escalate, whose advice does he value, who he collaborates with, and who, how, and what does he communicate regarding the challenge to Congress, the American public, and other nations.
New Zealand needs to understand that the next four to eight years has a very different global player. Trump’s approach will be very personal, intimate, intuitive, immediate, chaotic, and against all conventional wisdom, very successful.
All the indications are that the New Zealand diplomatic apparatus in New York and Washington was wrong footed by the Trump ascendancy. This led to falling in line with the Obama era last moment positioning of New Zealand as co-endorser of the UN anti-Israel resolution. Does New Zealand need to backtrack here?
New Zealand should always be wary of being pulled into American politics. Obama’s last minute swipe at Israel during his waning days as President should have been avoided at all costs. Obama’s behind the scenes orchestration of the resolution, which was being delayed until the new Administration, was ill-advised and dilatory. It undermined decades of America being a positive force in the region.
President Trump is a great friend of Israel. He and his team believe that, historically, enemies of America have funded the radical elements of the Palestinian cause.
Trump is committed, heart & soul, to destroying radical Islam and reining-in Iran. His priority is working with those nations that share his view. He sees Israel, and the moderate Arab governments, like Egypt and Jordan, as allies in eradicating ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their regional and tribal affiliates throughout the Arab world, Asia, and Africa.
Trump and his foreign policy team fundamentally differ from the Neo-conservatives who surrounded President George W. Bush. They adhere more to the Reagan-Thatcher/John-Paul II approach of destroying tyranny, but not trying to second guess centuries of local custom through nation building. America’s role is to inspire, not intervene, in a nation’s journey toward a freer society.
Israeli settlements are far more complex than the media portrays. Palestinian contractors and workers build Israeli settlements. West Bank unemployment soars whenever Israel slows or suspends new settlements. The chasm between peaceful, free, and democratic Israel and violent, oppressive, Islamic failed states in the region is stark. Land for Peace has been a chimera for Israel. De-radicalizing Palestinian leaders and their movement would go further in creating lasting peace than continuing to place the onus on Israel.
The Anti-Israel Resolution validated Trump’s view that the United Nations is currently there to promote radical anti-Western policies while wasting vast sums of money. It further proves his wisdom of pursuing America’s interests through bilateral, not multilateral, arrangements.
New Zealand has supported in spirit the US-EU trade embargo against Russia called up by President Obama. Is there a defined timetable to conclude this embargo?
There is no defined timetable for ending or modifying the trade embargo against Russia.
President Trump and his inner circle have a non-ideological practical “America first” world view. It harkens back to the 17th/18th Centuries. During that era, Western nations united to stop the expansion of the Ottoman Empire then competed, sometimes violently, to dominate world trade.
President Trump wants to build relationships with Russia and China for ridding the world of rogue players – radical Islam, Iran, and North Korea. This is why he picked Rex Tillerson, who has strong relationships with Russia as his Secretary of State, and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who is friends with President Xi Jinping, as Ambassador to China. This is also why Trump picked a skilled fighter, James Mattis, as his Secretary of Defense.
Trump’s trade and business team is equally ready to help America win in world commerce. Wilbur Ross, Steve Mnuckin, and Robert Lighthizer will aggressively negotiate favorable trade agreements and rebuild U.S. competitiveness.
Russia remains problematic as its adventurism in Ukraine and intimidation of the Baltic States complicates Trump’s desire to be “frenemies”. Tillerson will be challenged to craft the right mix of incentives and punishments to refocus Russo-American relations. The current US-EU trade embargo will be assessed within this context.
The Transpacific Partnership Agreement signed in Auckland last year was No 1 on President Trump’s hit list. Looking at the longer term where do you see the advantages/disadvantages in this?
President Trump is all about building one-on-one personal relationships with world leaders. Bi-lateral relationships were his strong suit in business and will serve him well as President. They allow him more flexibility and agility. He has little interest in multi-lateral agreements or entities.
This is why TPP was in his cross hairs as a candidate and now as President. New Zealand and other TPP nations need to offer their best “value proposition” for trade relationships that will benefit the U.S. as much as themselves. These are the kinds of agreements that will get Trump’s attention and become his priority.
Trump prides himself on the foreign investments in America he has facilitated or promoted. He wants American companies to “come home” to America, and foreign companies to settle in America. Trump’s goal is to bring the best of the world to America to rebuild infrastructure and generate lasting employment opportunities. There is a new world of opportunity for New Zealand investment and partnering in America.
Given the available evidence it is hard not to conclude that officials here have only a threadbare understanding of what is going on in the relevant circles of United States policymaking. Where should they be looking? Who should they be talking to now?
Trump’s tweets remain the best original source. Trump won the nomination and the general election by going directly to the public. Over 50 million Americans follow Trump on Twitter and Facebook. The Washington-New York media have become completely irrelevant to the Trump Administration and to Trump’s America.
President Trump has revolutionized the way policy is created, promoted, and implemented. The establishments within the Federal Government, Congress, media, academia, and policy forums, still do not have a clue about what is happening before their eyes.
America’s post-Cold War drift through four failed Presidents has come to an end.
Reagan won the Cold War by using skills he developed in movies and television to command the world stage. Those skills destroyed the Soviet Empire, relaunched the U.S. economy, and redefined the role of government. Trump is using his business and reality television skills to command the world stage for himself and the United States. Like Reagan, Trump is seeking to defeat tyranny, in this case radical Islam, relaunch the U.S. economy, and not just redefine, but completely reinvent government. The establishment dismissed Reagan until he succeeded. The establishment is dismissing Trump, and will be just as embarrassed should he succeed.
Conservative talk radio speaks for Trump and puts his actions and tweets into context. They aggressively expose the liberal media and the Democrats when they promote fake news and conspiracies about Trump. Trump watches Fox news, listens & calls into conservative talk radio, and avidly follows their social media posts. Each validates the other. The most articulate and insightful conservative commentators are Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levine, and Chris Plante. Washington-based WMAL radio hosts all three.
Exporters Must Persuade Government to Start Backtracking.
Russia’s ban on importing New Zealand beef on the grounds of discovering additives in it has in fact all the characteristics of a reprisal for participating in the United States-invoked embargo.
New Zealand is viewed as an easy target as the Russians now start retaliating against those nations which supported the blockade.
The embargo mainly involved the United States and the EU. But anxious to appease the United States New Zealand deliberately demonstrated “solidarity” with the US, in the words of former premier John Key.
In return for this New Zealand took pole position in the now defunct Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty and as a special reward Auckland was chosen as the venue for participants to sign it.
There are indications that Russia will use several hygiene scares in recent years to choke off supplies of New Zealand dairy products.
At one time Russia was considered as New Zealand’s prime emerging market. But since the 1980s Russia has been supplanted by Asia.
It is here though that the US embargo on Russia did its most serious damage to New Zealand trade.
This occurred when France was prevented from sending its milk to Russia, along with milk exports from several other EU nations.
The result was the EU milk surplus now found its way to China, severely depressing demand for New Zealand milk.
New Zealand’s position in the US-led blockade of Russia will remain a problem for some years to come even though the embargo itself has now become moot under President Donald Trump.
Commodity exporters are trying to cool the ardour of New Zealand legislators in the matter of supporting the embargo.
This will allow them to mend fences with the Russians.
One advantage here will be the resignation at the end of last year of New Zealand premier John Key, known to be an ardent supporter of former United States president Barack Obama.
The public and indeed New Zealand’s legislators in the matter of the long-running embargo have something in common in that they have both been unaware of the consequences of participating in the blockade.
In France, in contrast, the consequences are well understood. Russia’s president Putin (pictured) deliberately called up well-publicised bulldozings of French produce found to have entered Russia via bills of ladings sourced in its old African colonies.
France, under pressure from the United States, was forced to abandon its showpiece advanced technology export which was its Mistral Class vessel for Russia’s navy.
Combined with the loss of its Russia disposal market for milk products the embargo is one of the factors behind the elimination of France’s ruling Socialist Party from any contention in this year’s presidential election.
Lesson on Danger of Issuing Unenforceable Edicts
New Zealand’s sponsorship of the United Nations resolution condemning Israeli house construction on its occupied territories has had a result opposite to the one intended.
Israel has now launched the construction of sufficient housing in these territories to accommodate the equivalent of a New Zealand city i.e. more than 20,000 people.
In the event New Zealand as a temporary member of the security council was the instrument of a long incubated policy, now turned punitive, of former US president Barack Obama.
President Obama had long been determined to persuade Israel to cease new buildings on the occupied territories—for however brief a period of time.
In 2010 then president Obama promised a bounty of incentives including a flight of the latest fighter aircraft if Israel would cease these new buildings. Also vouched was an undertaking to scotch any moves in the UN to issue any resolution of the type to which New Zealand was co-sponsor at the end of last year.
In the event Israel’s long-running premier Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured), fearful of his coalition crumbling held fast to his construction scheme even though a three month freeze would have been enough to mollify president Obama, under pressure from his liberal wing.
The former president was now on the war path and determined to punish Israel with a condemnatory resolution at United Nations.
To make it remotely effective he had to have among the sponsors a christian anglo saxon nation.
Enter now New Zealand with its modest Jewish lobby and, even if there was any outcry, a pc media reluctant to give any pick up to it.
The New Zealand New York-Washington diplomatic presence meanwhile was listening to the politico-media-entertainment class.
The legations had become convinced that Hillary Clinton was the next president.
By sponsoring the resolution they were assured, they would build points with the incoming president.
They understood that as a ruling family the Clintons remained acutely aware of those who render favours, and those who do not.
Even so, if the New Zealand diplomatic stations had maintained contacts with the FBI, they would have had access to quite a different opinion.
The FBI with its field offices in the United States hinterland was receiving consistent reports of the dissatisfaction with the status quo in general and with the Clinton ascendancy in particular.
In any administrative staff college treatment of any kind of governance whatsoever there is usually one outstanding caution.
It is the danger of issuing an edict that cannot be enforced and that therefore will be flouted.
Worse still, if it is seen to be obviously being ignored, as with the no-building resolution.
| From the MSCNewsWire reporters' desk | Monday 6 February 2017 ||
US bungling must not be repeated
A National Front victory in the pending presidential/general election in France shows every sign of wrong-footing the New Zealand government in the same way that the United States presidential outcome did, writes our European correspondent.
Now rated as the front-runner a National Front victory will also see France quit the EU which in turn will signal the end of the entire EU project.
The New Zealand Foreign Ministry must now forcibly and unambiguously direct its officials to now actively consider a National Front victory in the elections in France---and to adjust their own forecasts around this possibility.
On Wednesday, 25 January 2017 MSC Newswire forecast:-
France’s Marine Le Pen is Looking Increasingly Presidential—Likely to pick up Socialist Party Votes in Runoff.
Since then the main challenger to the National Front, the Republican Party’s Francois Fillon has become enmeshed in a high profile corruption case in which his wife appeared to receive a substantial public salary for doing work that has still to be defined.
New Zealand’s foreign service officials should now receive a directive to the effect that they must contemplate an outcome that they passionately and personally abhor - - a National Front electoral victory.
On this occasion the closed-loop elitist nature of foreign service practitioners, far removed from the cares and fears of ordinary people, must be prevented from igniting the same partisanship that unreservedly forecast a victory for Hillary Clinton.
These saw New Zealand taxpayers enmeshed in the Clinton fund, and in taking at the United Nations an unnecessary stance on Israel designed to put New Zealand in an unfavourable light with the unanticipated incoming administration.
The directive to officials should accommodate the understanding that, yes, they may have to reveal their misgivings about the National Front.
But that in operational terms they must be prepared on this occasion for an outcome that horrifies they and the people they professionally associate with.
In short, foreign service officials who tend to be cut from the same rather exquisite cloth, must recall in the words of the French saying that though they talk to the captains “it is the crew that does the voting.”
The outcome of the recent primaries of France’s ruling Socialist Party have been more of an upset than most had imagined.
Manuel Valls, until recently France’s young and tough prime minister was swept out of any party presidential flag bearing role by a much lesser-known outsider Benoit Hamon (pictured) advocating a 32 hour week and a capitation tax on robots.
Wellington, on this occasion, must make it clear to its foreign service and trade representatives that it wants facts rather than hopes.
| From the MSCNewsWire reporters' desk | Wednesday 1 February 2017 ||