Kennedy Graham – Green Candidate Number 9

Continuing our video series. Here’s Kennedy Graham. Ken teaches international politics and international law at the School of Law, Canterbury and Victoria University, and has previously worked for NGOs, the UN and as a diplomat. He was involved in negotiating the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, defending the policy as a NZ diplomat before the UN in Geneva and New York and was also Director of a UN programme in the Middle East. Having returned to New Zealand he now aspires to contribute his experience and perspectives to helping the country tackle the global problems we face.

33 Comments Posted

  1. At least New Zealanders wouldn’t do anything like the siege of Parihaka, or Te Rauparaha’s raids 😉

  2. yes, if we have to have a “global policeman”, I think i’d rather it was the US than China. At least the US agenda is completely open (and most NZers can read the English that it is written in 🙂 ), and they occassionally have to pay more than lip-service to human rights. The Chinese communists don’t even bother to pay lip-service.

    Not to mention that the same Chinese govt that is getting kissy-kissy with Taiwan’s KMT President Ma is still pointing some 900 missiles at the island, and apparently generously offered to reduce that number to only 600.
    Meanwhile the NZ and Oz governments blame Taiwan and China equally for the “dollar diplomacy” in the Pacific. I’d call that idiotic, except those govts have already decided that they don’t want to openly cross China, anymore than they would openly cross the US.

  3. Wow, thanks for the link. Certainly a decision that would have political ramifications, and would certainly fuel a bit more ‘aid’ to Taiwan and other regional allies.

  4. Actually now I remember China’s willingness to invade Tibet, Taiwan, the skirmishes with Vietnam and Russia, the expansion of relations with countries in the Pacific and Africa in return for votes and resources…makes it seem a bit more plausible. If they start building aircraft carriers, then i’ll REALLY start quivering!

  5. Power abhors a vacuum. The replacement arrangement need not be sensible or even as honest as the corrupt cop we currently have, but it would, in VERY short order, manifest itself. China seems a good candidate… they have a monstrous standing army and the desire for additional control of resources would, if the US were to stand down from having the military presence it currently has and so reduce the likelihood of conflict with the US as a result, lead them to move those forces far more aggressively around the world stage.

    The US is where it is in part because the Europeans (European bankers and businessmen) and others prefer THEIR corrupt cop to someone else’s. The propping up of the dollar is not an accident. How anything so thoroughly wrecked can remain standing as a reserve currency is astonishing to people… as long as they look ONLY at the economic logic. The realpolitik involved puts a lot more of the OECD countries into line behind it… even if they wish they weren’t they have very little choice.


  6. Shunda Barunda is correct in that IF America was not playing policeman, others WOULD be. Power abhors a vacuum.

    Can’t help wondering WHO would be doing the ‘policing’. China wants nothing but resources – it doesn’t really seem to want ANY level of moral engagement beyond ‘mind your own business’, and Russia quite similar. No one else has anything close to the ability of the US to project hard (military) power, so I wonder if the statement above would really ring true?

  7. Jeez… I haven’t even taken out my citizenship papers yet.

    Relating to the Anti-Americanism… I represent those remarks… in several ways.

    Lets preface this by pointing out that I am a former US Naval Officer and an American citizen who chose to come to New Zealand because I, somewhat far in advance of the realization by my fellow citizens, realized that “the USA is headed in the wrong direction”. It still is, but now 80% of my peers agree with me and yet the country keeps going in that same wrong direction. I also knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq well before the invasion.

    The facade of democracy in the USA is a bit less convincing to me than to most… the first-past-the-post balloting and the amounts of money required just to get beaten in the elections, guarantee that money rather than any other thing, controls the country. The two branches of the wealth party that have held power since Eisenhower first warned us, are not ENTIRELY interchangeable, but the “Coke or Pepsi” jibe fits.

    Which leads to a second and different question. Shunda Barunda is correct in that IF America was not playing policeman, others WOULD be. Power abhors a vacuum. There is no comfort in the observation that this is a corrupt cop, a bought and paid for cop. The fact is that this is the cop on the beat and for reasons that have a lot to do with history, a lot of the big money people in the world want things to stay that way… and it works exactly as well as Icehawk observes in that other thread, that vigilante justice works, which is to say, not well at all.

    We’ve been around the idiocy of declaring war on a method of warfare a fair few times. We’ve observed the abject failure of the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on pornography and the war on terror. War is where you fight with other nations, not words or behaviors… or social demographics.

    You don’t negotiate with terrorists, but doesn’t that make it a bit more important not to create terrorists in the first place? Having created the conditions that support the spread of plague, should we be surprised if a lot of people get sick and die?

    That leaves me here. Contemplating the rather large $$$ cost of a citizenship application.


  8. turnip28, NZ has engineers in Iraq, so what? You wouldn’t have sent reconstruction teams to Cambodia after Vietnam invaded and got rid of the Khmer Rouge because it looks like ‘approval’? The reconstruction indisputably needs doing, and I think that’s all there is to it.

    “NZ went to Afganistan again giving approval for everything going on there.”

    Like what? A UN/NATO force went in, and we help out with ‘mopping up’…

    What made torture ‘legal’ for the Americans was that their government removed a lot of the legal restrictions on torture, rather than telling them that they should do it. NZ has not done so, so I really don’t believe NZ could have done any torture.

  9. Guys love this one lets all be New Zealanders pretending that their is no guilt on our shoulders.

    NZ had soldiers in Iraq, it doesn’t matter if they were only engineers or under a UN mandate we still had them there giving tacit approval for the actions in Iraq.

    NZ went to Afganistan again giving approval for everything going on there.
    Our troops probably captured people who were then tortured, hell how do you know Ash that New Zealand soldiers haven’t engaged in any torture in Afganistan, were you there? Was there some NZ media there?

    Who is worse the man who mugs you or the man who walks by while you are lying on the ground and bleeding to death?

  10. ash
    Our last election was almost certainly fraudulent, how much did the pledge card cost again?
    And democracy? in NZ?
    I supose it depends on your definition of democracy. If it means submitting to the agenda of our current progressive socialist govt then yes we have.
    If it means the will of the majority of the people then we certainly do not!!

  11. icehawk
    The point I am trying to make is that a nation or empire will always hold the balance of power, This has been the case all through history.
    The USA was put in this position due to the political environment after WW2, if it wasn’t them we would probably be speaking Russian by now.
    The Americans didn’t even want to go to war because they prefered to keep to them selves, the isolationist policy was very strong at the time.
    It was the rest of the world scraping and fighting that brought about this situation, so I think we need to keep that in mind before we start bitching and moaning about their foreign policy.

  12. ha american tourists the nicest people? that may be so but they are also IMHO the most boisterous, culturally inconsiderate, arrogant AND ignorant tourist in the world.

    “I don’t think any of us Kiwi’s can take the moral high ground on the USA, we have enough of our own problems to sort out.”

    I completely disagree. You don’t even have to take in to consideration the USA’s history of offensive wars and conflict, just look at what the US ‘government’ has achieved in the past few. The US is bottom of the heap when it comes to moral responsibility in the international arena. The thing that takes it above and beyond? that they do it all for “freedom” “liberation” “justice” “equality” and beloved yet long gone “democracy”…of the motherland and expect everyone to praise them for it – of course!. what a sick scam.

    the new zealand government doesn’t use torture as a matter of policy. our country does not invade sovereign nations to plunder resources or control economies. nor does it try to manipulate international law for its own unjust purposes. kiwis have not accepted two fraudulent elections…to name but a smidgen of the US WALL OF SHAME. i see a wide and expansive moral high ground that widens with each year…

  13. “My point is if america wasn’t police man of the world someone else would be”

    I hate that phrase. Police obey and enforce the law. The US refuses to acknowledge large chunks of international law, and breaks it willy-nilly (Geneva Convention anybody?). They’re the vigilante of the world. A different thing entirely.

    And now, Shunda, you will probably call me anti-American. But I’m not anti American – I lived there for some years. I’m just anti the stupid stuff their govt does. And so are a lot of Americans.

  14. sleepy tree hugger
    You forgot the Sebrenica massare, and the Rewandan genocide.
    If only the UN had of been there.

  15. eredwen
    No I am not a citizen of the USA.
    My point is if america wasn’t police man of the world someone else would be.
    I have always found american tourists to be some of the nicest people to visit our country, europeans are unfortunateley usually rude arrogant and dismisive.
    I don’t think any of us Kiwi’s can take the moral high ground on the USA, we have enough of our own problems to sort out.

  16. Shunda barunda,

    “Its just an excuse for people to remain ignorant of the real issues facing world peace.”

    What world peace, mate? The “world peace” in Iraq and Afghanistan? The “world peace” in Kosovo? The “world peace” in Somalia? The “world peace” in Sierra Leone? What “world peace” are you talking about pray tell?

    “Has America made mistakes? of coarse they have, would Europeans do any better in their shoes? nope.”

    Those “mistakes” you refer to were no mistake, they were deliberate United States policy.

    Operation Ajax, Operation Condor, Operation Cyclone, are amongst many other covert operations to destabalise other countries in order to install regimes that were more amendable to the wishes of U.S. policy makers.

    This quote provides a revealing insight into the underlying rationale for U.S foreign policy subsequent to World War II.

    “We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6% of its population.
    Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better”.

    George Kennan, Director of the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of State, 1948.

    “Has America made mistakes? of coarse they have, would Europeans do any better in their shoes? nope.”

    Its not about “mistakes”. One thing that is refreshing about the Americans is their pretense of concern for “democracy” and “human rights” is just soo transparently false. They don’t really take too much care to hide their real agenda, unlike say the slimy French for example. I mean, Jacques Chirac was soo convincing of his concern for the welfare of Iraqis in his opposition to the Iraq war, but the situation was much more complex than that. For example the French State owned Oil Company had signed contracts with Saddam Hussein to develop Iraq’s oil fields as late as 2001.

    Then theres their secret wars in Africa, that virtually no one knows about. They’re extensively involved in conflicts in their former North African colonies, Chad, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic and probably more.

    For some reason you don’t hear about them.

  17. Kevyn,

    Yes! I’ve met Kennedy a couple of times and heard him speak.
    He’d be asset in Parliament.

    (I put him high on my list.)

  18. Shunda barunda,

    I’m not sure why you are writing on this thread ??
    I assume you are a citizen of the USA?

    I suspect that you are not clearly differentiating between criticism of the USA’s BEHAVIOUR in the World and criticism of the USA’s people ?

    (and YES. Some of us are very critical of the USA’s behaviour in the World.
    and some are critical of the people too, for not doing more to stop or change that behaviour.)

    Unfortunately that is the price one has to pay for the USA being a Super Power!

    (My brother and his family are citizens of the USA, and they and their American friends are critical of what the USA is doing too! That does not mean that they don’t like the people of the USA …

  19. Kevyn,

    I’m relieved to know that you are sure that you think it is …
    That is always a useful start !

    From what gets written here, I suspect that quite a few visitors to frogblog must be carrying the dreaded fruit loop gene too … (but unfortunately, not in its purely Zany form!)

  20. Anti americanism is getting so boring.
    Its just an excuse for people to remain ignorant of the real issues facing world peace.
    It amazes me that in spite of the dramatic failers of the hand wringing approch to solving world conflict, they keep on trucking ahead.
    Has America made mistakes? of coarse they have, would Europeans do any better in their shoes? nope.
    Can we all just get along?
    apparently not.

  21. bb. Of course he’s a fruit loop. He’s Doug Grahams brother. The fruit loop gene is inheredited. And that’s a scientifically proven fact! Well I’m sure I think it is, and that’s good enough evidence for me.

  22. big bro,

    thats what the Americans did in Afghanistan in the 1970s and are doing now in Iraq, though as could be expected it ended in tears, or more accurately, blood. Yet another case of “blow back” from the intervention of Americans in the affairs of other countries.

  23. I think the thing is that peoples ideologies follow the normal curve and even in Muslim countries the bulk of people have a healthy skepticism. The problem is that when society gets stressed immoderates take over.

    O.K [show of hands!] we’ll push him up the list with BJ (assuming he didn’t say “abrakadaberra” (ie “ti tiritti”).

  24. Reading the comments above, I am reminded of the following quote …

    “By their words ye shall know them.”

  25. Does he mention the (mandatory?) “ti tiriti” later in the speech and has he worked on section59?

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