Sunday, October 15, 2006

Niall Ferguson Nails It

In a thoughtful and insightful piece Professor Niall Ferguson discusses the hopeless position taken by the UN Security Council in dealing with North Korea and openly states it is well past its use by date with no hope of resurrection.

Ferguson canvasses the faults and the obvious tension, with China and Russia against what might be termed the West. Ferguson surmises China and Russia with a hefty dose of what they would see as realpolitik are prepared to accept nuclear armed North Korea and Iran as pals in their own struggle against their perceived hegemony of the US.

We are at a sorry point. I am sure Ferguson has it on the button, if you'll pardon the pun.

He quotes the french philospher Alexis de Tocqueville (one of my favourites as readers of this blog will attest) in respect of the UN and its members looking to reform the institution....
"the most dangerous moment for a bad government is usually when it begins to reform itself".

de Tocqueville's wise words are apposite, appropriate and apt.

So what do we do? As I blogged earlier now is not the time for a forelock tugging race to the bottom.

I think the time is upon us when wise words need to transform into sober and cold judgement of the position the world is in a geo-political sense. From that sober analysis we can begin to see who are the goodies and the baddies (yep, it's got to that) and not follow some blind trail that simply states multi-lateralism through the UN is the way ahead.

New Zealand rather than simply falling into line with the Security Council resolution on NoKor might have been better placed to offer real leadership on what the real issues are: China not playing the game vis a vis NoKor, Russia snuggling up to Iran. The US losing its moral authority by not establishing real coalitions of like-minded countries before acting and so on.

However that said America is still a crucial player in the solution and we should be minded to get alongside them, and soon. It is still true that "America is great because America is good ..." (usually wrongly attributed to de Tocqueville).

There is precious little that the ruling elite in either China or Russia have in common with New Zealand, its values or its people. We stand apart from them and what they stand for and do. The sooner this is acknowleged and we stop the faux demagoguery of Republicans in the US the better. Pick a real target Helen, Phil, Trev and Winnie - not the easy ones you find convenient and popular. Value the democracy that is the US not belittle it.

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