Tom Peters, Socialist Equality Group
12 November 2020, original url: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/11/12/nzus-n12.html
On Sunday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined her Australian counterpart and other members of the US-led Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance to congratulate Democrat Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris on her victory in the US presidential election.
An unprecedented political crisis continues in the US, where President Donald Trump makes the baseless claim that he lost because of “fraud”. His legal team, backed by prominent figures in the Republican Party, is pursuing court action aimed at disqualifying the vote for Biden in a state where he won a narrow majority.
Ardern stated: “The relationship between our two countries is strong, and I look forward to developing closer ties with the future Biden administration.” New Zealand will work with the US on a range of issues “including prosperity, security and sustainability in the Indo-Pacific and Pacific Islands”.
Significantly, Ardern also said New Zealand “enjoyed positive and cooperative relations with the United States during the Trump administration period, particularly in the Indo-Pacific and Pacific Islands region.”
New foreign minister Ardern Nanaia Mahuta also told the media: “New Zealand has enjoyed very strong relations with America and under the Trump administration we enjoy the ability to reinforce our common interests.”
Ardern, whose Labor Party was re-elected on October 17 with a majority of seats in parliament, is still falsely portrayed in the world media as a progressive and compassionate leader – the antithesis of Donald Trump.
Asked by Radio NZ on Monday if he was concerned about Trump’s refusal to give up, Ardern replied: “No.” He downplayed the crisis in the US, flatly arguing that “every democracy will have its own process” and that post-election litigation was “unusual”.
During New Zealand’s election campaign, none of the established parties discussed an alliance with the US, which they all support. Ardern and his opponent, National Party leader Judith Collins, did not criticize Trump’s repeated threats to ignore the US election results and stage a coup, and his push for fascist violence. They both promised to work with him if he remained in office.
The Trump administration, in fact, played a key role in Ardern’s ability to form a government following the 2017 New Zealand elections. During the four weeks of negotiations following the election, the incumbent National Party, which received the most votes, tried to form a coalition government with the NZ First Party, a wing nationalist. right.
Trump’s appointed ambassador, Scott Brown, made an extraordinary public statement criticizing the National Party’s reluctance to fully align with US threats to North Korea. Following Brown’s intervention, NZ First – a deeply anti-immigrant and anti-Chinese party – announced it would form a coalition with Labor and the Greens.
Labor has been nervous about Chinese immigration and investment with NZ First, while National, while fully supporting the US alliance, is wary of alienating China, New Zealand’s main trading partner. Washington clearly views the Labor-NZ First government as a more reliable partner than the National for strengthening ties against China.
Ardern told Radio NZ that relations between the two countries would not change significantly under Biden’s administration. He mentioned Biden’s 2016 visit to New Zealand, where he held talks with the National and Labor government governments, saying “that personal relationship makes a difference to a relationship.”
During Barack Obama’s presidency, vice president Biden played a role in a variety of war crimes, including the expansion of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which New Zealand troops participated, and the wars in Libya and Syria.
The main line of Democratic attack on Trump is from the right-wing point of view that he is “soft” on Russia and China. Both sides support building a war against China, which is seen as the greatest obstacle to US imperialist domination of the Asia-Pacific region and the world. The coronavirus pandemic, as well as the economic and social crisis it has triggered, has sharply accelerated the danger of war, with Trump and Biden seeking to scapegoat China for the virus.
Biden’s 2016 visit to Australia and New Zealand aims to integrate the two countries into Obama’s “axis to Asia” strategy for besieging China and preparing for war. Biden struck a significant agreement with the National Party government, supported by the Labor and Greens, to continue US naval visits to New Zealand for the first time since they were suspended in the 1980s.
Trump has escalated threats against China and continues to hold provocative military exercises in the South China Sea, near Taiwan, and around the Korean peninsula. The Labor-NZ First Government aligned itself with Washington in a 2018 defense policy statement that described Russia and China as major “threats” to the international order.
NZ First leader and foreign minister Winston Peters urged the US to move more of its military to the Pacific to fight China. Ardern’s government is also increasing its military and diplomatic presence in the Pacific, which New Zealand’s ruling class considers its neo-colonial backyard.
Even during the historic economic crisis triggered by the pandemic, which led to soaring unemployment and poverty in New Zealand, billions of dollars were diverted to modernize and expand the military to prepare it for a future US-led war.
Some commentators have warned that the Biden administration, far from being backward, is likely to put more pressure on US allies to ally themselves against China. David Capie, of the University of Victoria Wellington Center for Strategic Studies, told Stuff: “There will be some aspects of the US-China relationship over the next few years that will force New Zealand towards some more zero-sum decision points … where you have to make. a clearer choice. “
Ardern’s commitment to a stronger alliance with Washington, while heading towards what will be a devastating war involving nuclear armed forces, clearly demonstrates the right-wing and imperialist character of his administration. Labor Records exposed the fraudulent claims by pseudo-left commentators such as the Jacobin, the International Socialist Organization, and the union-funded Daily Blog that the Labor election victory was a victory for the working people.
Workers, youths and students who want to fight the war must step up against Labor, the Green Party and their pseudo-left cheerleaders. They must strive to build an anti-war movement guided by a socialist and internationalist perspective, against the profit system that is the source of war, and all those who defend this system.