Monday, July 18, 2011

Overpaid, Oversexed, Over Here…Again

Lock up ya daughters!
PM John Key is off today on a five-day US visit (coinciding with the 70th annvsy of the WWII arrival of US marines in NZ). On Saturday, he’ll meet US President Obama, discussing closer defence ties and our involvement in Afghanistan. He’ll also push for a regional trade pact, and meet Silicon Valley big dogs and The Hobbit co-producer New Line Cinema...
soldier, sailor, marine, pilot, token Afro-American
But the scuttlebutt is: he’ll be announcing a return of US GIs to Koiwoiland!
There’re currently some marines at the US embassy in Wgtn (and persistent rumours of some at Mt John Observatory in Tekapo – why they’d be there makes for a great conspiracy theory!). But US forces have otherwise been absent since their 1980s ban on military training and exercises, in tit-for-tat protest at our no-nukes legislation. This ban’s largely gone now and there has been a big increase in contact between NZ and US military forces. Hell, we’re currently running their anti-pirate fleet, showing 'em how it's done in Kabul, and saving their Apache helicopters in Bamyan!
Having doughboys here would be far less politically sensitive than a US naval visit – the catalyst for the anti-nuke ANZUS break-up. But bringing a ship here would be a huge gesture of warmer defence ties – and as US warships no longer carry nukes in peace time, they wouldn’t have run the "neither confirm nor deny" gauntlet. However back in April 2010, acting-PM Bill English said the NZ policy on US ship visits was still the same. National promised during the last election not to change it may be that the rumoured announcement will only concern marines.
Economically, any joint US/NZ exercises here would...errr...ahhh... go down well. Let’s face it: our "ladies of the night" will be seeing a drooping of business once the Rugby World Cup is over!
So y’all come-on back now, dogfaces: all is forgiven!

No comments: