22 December 2010

Leaky nonsense

The recent US embassy leaks are not so much of interest due to revelation of 'the truth' about what goes on in the world, but more because they reveal two things: first, the Machiavellean attitudes of many of the world's leaders and diplomats, and secondly because of the versions of untruth that they are willing to peddle. Hence, I am prepared to accept Helen Clark's rejection of the insinuation that NZ sent army engineers to Iraq for the sake of Fonterra's trade deal in the food-for-oil programme (the latter programme became notorious for corruption, however).

Just to illustrate the misleading rubbish that 'intelligence' officers dream up for their leaders, take the following passage (despatched from Wellington in 2005):

"There is little doubt today that Lange decided to implement a ban on nuclear arms as a way to initiate New Zealand's break from ANZUS. By creating friction with the United States which virtually forced the U.S. to expel New Zealand from the alliance, Lange succeeded also in forging an anti-American sentiment here that remains powerful 20 years on."

First sentence is quite wrong. The aim was not to bust up ANZUS; it was to ban nuclear ships and weapons. That was what we wanted, and that was what we got.

The writer appears to think (narcissistically) that it was all about making trouble with the US and drumming up anti-US sentiment. Yes, there was anti-US sentiment, but the US's own foreign policy (think Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, etc) in the 1960s and 70s (when NZ governments were mostly quite happy to be allied with the US) did the job of creating that negative sentiment quite of its own accord. Lange didn't have to 'forge' such a sentiment. It already existed.

By 2005, moreover, any anti-US sentiments that persisted here were being mightily encouraged by Bush and his drastic Iraq escapade.

So, let's treat the leaks with a grain of salt. They are of interest not because they uncover the truth, but because they reveal the untruths - and the sheer gossip - that guide world affairs.


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