Ardern supports war with Russia and military build-up against China
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was among leaders from the Asia-Pacific region – along with those from Australia, Japan and South Korea – who were invited to attend the NATO planning summit of the war in Madrid, Spain.
Ardern is the first New Zealand leader to attend an alliance summit. Its presence indicates the country’s growing integration into both the US-NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine and into US-led war plans against China.
NATO’s 30 members, including the United States, Canada and most European states, have adopted a new strategy document outlining plans to militarize Europe and develop the capability to “fight against peer competitors with of nuclear weapons”. In addition to denouncing Russia as a “threat” and demanding an escalation of the war against it, NATO has also targeted China. The document asserts that China’s economic development (expressed as “control”) is in conflict with the “interests” of NATO members.
The imperialist powers, led by Washington, are responding to the historic crisis of capitalism by intensifying the exploitation of the working class at home and using military force to redivide the world. As was the case in the First and Second World Wars, minor powers such as New Zealand and Australia are rushing to secure their seat at the partition table.
In his NATO summit statement, Ardern touted New Zealand’s growing contributions to the war in Ukraine. This includes “training Ukrainian troops and supporting intelligence efforts” and providing other “military and non-military aid,” in addition to joining sanctions against Russia.
She regurgitated NATO’s false version of the conflict, describing it as “Russia against all who have a basic sense of humanity and choose to act on it.” In fact, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was a reactionary and disastrous response to years of military encirclement and NATO provocations, including the 2014 fascist-led coup backed by the United States that overthrew a pro-Russian government in kyiv. The Russian invasion was seized by the imperialist powers as a long-awaited pretext for massive rearmament and war against Russia.
Ardern’s speech had an unreal quality to it, as she sought to mask the NATO war with pacifist phrases, calling on countries to focus on “de-escalation, peace and stability”.
Even as NATO openly discusses the need to plan for nuclear war and the United States alone spends $80,000 a minute building up its nuclear arsenal, Ardern said countries must “not let the Ukraine’s war legacy morph into an arms race, or an even more polarized and dangerous world. She called on NATO members to “send a strong message” by committing to nuclear disarmament.
Ardern has also sought to cover up the increasingly undemocratic and fascistic forms of government being adopted across Europe as the continent is placed on a war footing. In a joint press release, Ardern and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a “global values partnership”, based on their commitment to “vibrant and resilient democracy”, “diversity”, ” human rights” and even “internationalist values”.
The incredibly hypocritical statement came just four days after Sánchez defended the massacre of at least 37 migrants by Spanish and Moroccan forces on the border of the Spanish enclave of Melilla.
Significantly, Ardern also alluded to attacks on democratic rights in New Zealand, telling the NATO summit that “even New Zealand is being targeted by Russian misinformation and disinformation.” It is a thinly veiled threat that any opposition to war will be treated as enemy propaganda to be suppressed, as the New Zealand ruling class did during the First and Second World Wars.
In addition to denouncing Russia, Ardern firmly aligned himself with the NATO pivot against China, saying that “China has also become more assertive lately and more willing to challenge international rules and norms.” She spoke of “attempts to disrupt and destabilize” the Indo-Pacific region and warned against “militarization”. The United States, Australia and New Zealand, all of which are colonial powers in the Pacific, have denounced China’s activities in the region, including its recent security deal with the Solomon Islands.
The Chinese Embassy in Wellington issued a statement on June 30 to hit back at Ardern, saying his comments were “wrong” and “not helpful in deepening mutual trust between [China
and New Zealand], nor for the efforts made by the two countries to keep our bilateral relations on the right track. The embassy said China’s actions in the Pacific had nothing to do with “militarization” and that “if militarization exists in the South Pacific, it is clear to all who and what is fueling these tensions.” – a clear reference to the United States. and its allies.
The Labor Party-led government has sought to maintain a balance between New Zealand’s military intelligence alliance with the United States, on the one hand, and growing economic reliance on trade with China. Since 2018, the share of New Zealand exports (by value) to China has increased from 23% to 30%.
Ardern’s attendance at the NATO gathering marks a sharp escalation in New Zealand’s support for the confrontation with China. Ardern this week signed a new free trade agreement with the European Union, aimed in part at diverting New Zealand trade away from China. His visit to Europe follows recent meetings with US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Japan’s Fumio Kishida, all of which aimed to strengthen military and intelligence ties.
Significantly, the far-right ACT party released a statement welcoming Ardern’s comments at the NATO summit. He called on the New Zealand parliament to go further by declaring that China is engaged in “genocide” against the Uyghurs – a fabricated accusation that is part of Washington’s effort to build a “humanitarian” case for the war.
The pro-Labour daily blog also applauded Ardern, with editor Martyn Bradbury writing: ‘I agree with every word the Prime Minister says. He warned that China could retaliate by slashing trade and concluded: “We are now part of the big game.” The nationalist blog has repeatedly called for increased military spending and urged intelligence agencies to investigate the Socialist Equality Group for “possible treason” for opposing anti-China war propaganda.
Aware of the widespread anti-war sentiment in New Zealand, the Green Party sought to distance itself from Ardern’s open membership in NATO. Green foreign affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman told Newshub that New Zealand should “present itself as an independent and principled voice on the world stage” and expressed concern that “With the war in Ukraine, we’re kind of going back to those old Cold War allegiances, rather than focusing on the Asia-Pacific.
The Greens, however, are an integral part of the Labor-led coalition government. Ghahraman clarified that the party had no principled opposition to NATO’s war with Russia. She said only that “New Zealand’s response to the war in Ukraine has been more militarized than the Green Party would have liked”, and called for more “humanitarian” aid. Ghahraman’s reference to the Asia-Pacific further underscores the party’s support for New Zealand’s neo-colonial activities in the region, which are linked to the US-led confrontation with China.
The Ardern government has dragged New Zealand into the US-NATO war against Russia and into far-reaching war plans with China that threaten to quickly turn into a Third World War involving adversaries equipped with nuclear weapons. This impending catastrophe can only be stopped by building an anti-war movement led by the international working class, armed with a socialist program to end capitalism, which is the source of the war.
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