The Thoughts of Chairman May... on politics

A collection of opinions and thoughts on political topics by the OzFurry fox himself.

Pawprint General Observations -

"The more money you spend of something, the more you get of it. You spend more money on the armed forces, you get more weapons. The more you spend on unemployment, the more unemployed you seem to get."

"Communism is the worlds most powerful preservative - it locked Eastern Europe in the 1940s for the next fifty years. And when it was dismantled in Yugoslavia, every conflict started up from the minute it left off."

"I find it somewhat amusing that over ten years after the collapse of the Soviet Union that Americans still use 'communist', 'commie' etc as an epithet of abuse... regardless of whether the subject actually claims to be a communist or not."

"'Socialist' and 'Liberal' are also apparently dirty words in US politics, though in the context of left vs right on a global scale it's likely that 'conservative' European political parties could be considered limp-wristed liberals by the US Right because they believe there's still a place for some elements of a 'socialistic' welfare system."

"There's nothing stopping countries renegotiating their borders by peaceful means - examples are the merger of the former East and West Germany into the current single state, as well as the (apparently) amicable split of Czechoslovakia into the two nations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Not to mention the breakup of the former USSR into Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and the many 'istans.
Granted, changing national borders (and the makeup of your country) is a pretty tough job, but in my opinion it's far better to hammer out a deal at the negotiating table than simply invading the bits of land you want. War tends to have a somewhat counterproductive aspect to negotiations - for example, the UK was fairly keen on arranging for the Falkland Islands to go to Argentina - until the Argentinians invaded. Now blood has been spilt in defence of the islands, Britain won't want to even think about negotiating with Argentina for a long time to come."

Pawprint With respect to Beijing/Taipei confrontations -

"When on earth is the Beijing government in China finally going to grow up and realise that Taiwan has been and is effectively a sovereign nation in its own right for at least the last thirty-odd years? Taipei has accepted this, yet Beijing persists in burying its head in the sand in the same old Cold War rhetoric."

 "If Taiwan and mainland China eventually decide to reunite, being two sovereign nations does not preclude this from occuring. The two post-war German nations - the Federal Republic (West) and the Democratic Republic (East) - managed this quite well considering the differences that had grown between them, so why can't China follow suit? It's not impossible."

"Beijing's blind insistance on the "One China" policy for the rest of the world is sheer bullying and intimidation. I don't know what's worse: the Beijing government's intolerant attitude, or the acquiecesnce and kow-towing of so many world governments - presumably hooked on that massive potential Chinese market opening up 'eventually' - to Beijing's inflexible demands."

"I don't believe that mainland China should be admitted into the World Trade Organisation until it recognises and gives due status to Taiwan as a sovereign nation, allowing the Taiwanese to gain their long-withheld rightful place in the world community."

Pawprint On the War on Terror -

"To quote from a cartoon published in the Wellington 'Dominion' newspaper a while back when the US nuclear target list was leaked - 'Is it just me, or is the War on Terror getting more frightening than the terror itself?'"

"I do recall from watching the 2000 election campaign that President Bush was promising to be a uniter, not a divider. And it seems that this is one campaign promise he has kept. Unfortunatly, the people he is uniting are against him... including a good chunk of world opinion."

"The USA has deliberately classified people held at Guantanamo Bay as 'enemy combatants', not POWS, or even criminals - because in these latter categories the captives would actually have some rights (such as legal representation for criminals). Because the USA wants to basically have free reign over what it can do to these captives, it makes up the new classification of 'enemy combatants' in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions.
It's ironic that the USA loudly trumpets its desire for the rule of international law and adherence to international conventions when it comes to Iraq, but thumbs its nose at the same laws and conventions when doing so is to their benefit. If it was China doing this kind of action with captured American civilians, the US news networks would be quite rightly burning red-hot with calls for the Chinese to observe international law. This is not the way for the USA to maintain the moral high ground on terrorism."

"The reason we 'pinko liberal' foreigners are offering criticism is because we don't want the US to turn into a super-power version of a rogue state. The USA is too good a thing in the world to be allowed to shoot itself in the foot and lower itself to the level of its foes. We prefer to see the USA using its power for good in partnership with the global community, rather than running around shooting at anything that might possibly be at one time considered a relative of a friend of a terrorist and indiscrimiately trampling over everyone and everything (including its OWN laws, let alone international ones) in the process.

"I agree with my country's position that the question of Iraq is best resolved through the United Nations rather than unilateral US action, though if the UN collectively sanctioned a regime change through force then I would support that as well."

"For those in the audience who think New Zealand is being a bunch of pansies through not supporting the USA in unilateral action, I would like to point out that we did send some special-ops people to Afghanistan against bin Laden, and we offered our support to the US in that conflict. And NZ troops have served in UN peace-keeping from East Timor to Kosovo. But we've left more than our fair share of war dead in other people's wars in the last century, so if you want us to die for you we have to have a damn good reason why."

"The USA is wanting to make pre-emptive military strikes against suspected terrorists? It worked so well for the French Secret Service in the eighties when they blew up the 'Rainbow Warrior', giving New Zealand the dubious distinction of having a terrorist act carried out on its soil by a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council. Shoot first and ask questions later? Yeah, right."

Pawprint On conflicts in the Middle East -

"I feel both the Israelis and Palestinians are as bad as each other, one 'struggles for freedom' by detonating high explosives in civilian areas for maximum civilian casualties and acts surprised when the opposition retaliates, the other 'defends its sovereignty' by lobbing air-to-ground missiles into residential areas, then demolishes the opponent's infrastructure while claiming with a straight face that said infrastructure must halt the attacks. My sympathy with Israel's position evaporated with that missile attack."

"If, as has been proposed by pro-Israelis with respect to the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, winning territory in a war that somebody else initiates upon you is a pretty legitimate modus operandi, what does that make Iraq's 'annexation' of Kuwait in '91 when Iraq felt it had been 'forced' to resolve its oil and territorial dispute 'started' by its smaller neighbour? Iraq probably felt that Kuwait had 'initiated' this dispute (the truth of the matter is highly likely to be different). By this logic, Kuwait should no longer exist seeing as Iraq took it over in a 'fair' fight."

"Sometimes I feel - and this is pretty horrible, I know - that there has never been a clearer case for thermonuclear carpet-bombing everything from the Golan Heights down the river Jordan to the Red Sea and Gaza to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Either that, or seal up the borders, leave both sides to kill each other for the next twenty years and see who is left standing (if anyone) in the end. I can't see peace until at least both Sharon and Arafat are replaced, there's been too much bad blood and history to be overcome by both leaders."

PawprintOn Environmentalism -

"When Greenpeace were protesting against French nuclear testing at Mururoa, I had mixed feelings. One one hand, I didn't like Greenpeace's in-your-face radicalism of going into harms way then loudly whining when they got hurt. One the other hand, I didn't like the arrogant French either. So in the end, it was like watching gang warfare - entertaining, but not really caring who won."

"Environmental organisations tend to be very negative - when was the last time you saw them come up with a solution to a problem instead of whining that 'something must be done' - usually by someone else?"

"Despite the hyped up gloom-and-doom from the environmental lobby and the resulting backlash from industry, I believe that there is a case for genuine conservation, recycling and environmental consideration in the world. Let's face it, no-one likes to live in a cesspool, and burning through everything as 'one use only' is pretty wasteful, not to mention it's likely to run out at some point. It's nice to live in a clean environment - something that has been brought home to me with comparing Wellington to Los Angeles, Manila and London."

"The United States' reason for not signing the Kyoto accords - that it would adversely affect its economy too much - is the sort of response that would be more appropriate for Third World countries like Kenya, the Philippines and India. A poor country making the point that its economy is too fragile to accomodate environmental concerns is cause for sympathy and understanding: the same argument coming from the one of the richest countries on the planet as well as the biggest consumer of resources, is not."

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Copyright 1996, 2002 Terry Knight.
Last Updated December 2002
For more information contact: Terry Knight