Rules to Avoid Banishment From Grey-Lynn: No 2
Rule Number Two: Do Not Believe in the Importance of a Viable Defence Force
For some reason believing it is really important that our tiny underpopulated unspoilt country should be able to defend itself is particularly unpopular. This I do not understand. What could be contentious about defence?
Right now New Zealand is woefully equipped. There are simply too many areas we fall down in to mention, and to single any out for special praise would not be fair to all the other failings. For this reason, and to try to stem the feelings of vulnerability a good look at all our gaps inevitably raises, we’ll only talk about axing the Air Combat Wing of the Air Force. At the same time we also appear to be doing our very best to distance ourselves from our natural and historical allies. It does not strike me as a particularly good idea that we should be doing things like removing our Air Force combat capabilities and drawing away from our mates who do have Air Forces at the same time. Surely it is a case of one approach or the other.
In fact, what should we call the Air Force now that we have stripped it of its Force? The “Air Ask Really Nicely” perhaps? The problem is that although that seems ridiculous we have not been asking these questions. What the hell are we going to do if we need an Air Force – we can’t very well borrow one.
It puts me in mind of the Albanians. They took defence very seriously, as you would if you were a country that had five or so different owners during World War One and about 100 over the centuries.
In the late 60s they split from defence arrangements with Soviet Russia and then the Warsaw Pact altogether. So, after losing the deterrent value of these friendships Albania had to protect herself. It was decided that the best way to self-reliant defence was to build pill boxes in backyards and issue rifles to every household. So it was that 750,000 bunkers and pill boxes came to be built. The idea being that if anyone invaded then the entire citizenry would take up positions inside these boxes and the invader would have to fight for every inch of the country. Mad maybe, but effective. Point being that if we are going to break off our good relations with our allies – by doing truly stupid stuff like bailing out of ANZUS – we’d better have a plan B.
Because bailing out of ANZUS was truly stupid. If the shit ever hits the fan again we will go running back behind that banner as quickly as possible, all high-minded moral positions on Nukes will disappear faster than Chief Executives at Maori TV. And we’ll be damned lucky if they take us back: twenty years of looking down our noses at the most powerful nation on earth and of not keeping up with regional defence responsibilities with Australia will not be forgotten or forgiven easily.
The only argument that is ever wheeled out for the way we have let relationships rot and our services atrophy is that we don’t need them now. Rubbish, crap, baloney, bollocks bollocks bollocks. And bollocks again. Are we to believe that for some reason after millennia of conflict humans have decided not to have any more wars, or at least if they do they will leave NZ out? Unless we have that in writing somewhere I’m not buying it. Preferably in writing that means more than, say, the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.
Thing is that all this talk of benign strategic environments is rubbish. It is about as clever as declaring peace in our time. Just 60 odd years ago we were at war with half the world. We were fighting Germany, even though after the First World War they had taken steps to ensure that that wouldn’t be happening again. On what evidence have we decided that there will be no eventuality where an Air Force might come in handy? That being matey with the US might not be useful, even vital?
It boils down to something that sounds a bit boy scouty, just without the lawsuits:
You can’t be sure things wont happen, but you can be prepared in case.
And why this viewpoint is anathema to Grey-Lynn I truly cannot fathom. From the reactions I used to get, before I learnt to keep such opinions private, to, say, advocating keeping our military strong and up-to-date you’d think I was suggesting that we should use said imaginary military for whale hunting and permanently getting solo-mothers off the DPB.
It is incredibly un-PC to realise that we are vulnerable without protection. This is odd as that statement and belief is as self evident as saying ‘water is wet’ or ‘Brian Tamaki does pretty well out of that God racket’. It is a simple truth, yet somehow this ill-informed flower-power hangover means prioritising defence is about as popular in these circles as supporting George W Bush.
Which Brings me to the next rule, don’t support Geeorge W Bush (this rule is particularly important)………