August 18, 2005


For security's sake, old rift with New Zealand overlooked by US: In training to find WMD, 13-nation military exercises are under way in the waters off southeast Asia. (Janaki Kremmer, 8/19/05, The Christian Science Monitor)

Since New Zealand was thrown out of the ANZUS alliance, in which the US guarantees the security of New Zealand and Australia, New Zealand has mostly been out in the cold - missing out on the technological breakthroughs and experience of the past 20 years. [...]

Since 9/11, the US has increased cooperation with countries who can help in the fight against terrorism. New Zealand sent troops to Afghanistan, and for a short time helped with the reconstruction of Iraq.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark has been strongly advocating opening negotiations with the US. The new US trade representative, Robert Portman, is regarded as being more sympathetic to Wellington than his predecessor.

Experts say these changes are more step-by-step than a revolutionary shift. "I regard the continuing exclusion of New Zealand as very strange," says former New Zealand cabinet minister, Derek Quigley, a visiting fellow at the Australian National University's Defense and Strategic Institute in Canberra. While the US is happy to have New Zealand personnel in the line of fire, he adds, they are largely excluded from training with the US.

Other experts say that the significance of the 13-nation exercises in the South China Sea are being underplayed. "Earlier cooperation was based on operations, but these are exercises where you learn testing procedures, and capabilities, and have debriefings," says Peter Cozens, director of the Center for Strategic Studies in Wellington. He adds that obdurate attitudes both in Washington and in Wellington are giving way to a new security relationship. "Since Sept. 11, it's now all hands on the pump."

They were safe from the Soviets.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 18, 2005 8:41 PM

Not from the French, though. Kiwis were a little embarassed when the ole' Rainbow Warrior was blown up in their own dock.

Posted by: John Thacker at August 19, 2005 12:23 AM
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