Here’s something you probably didn’t now: The U.S. and New Zealand have been engaged in a cold war since 1985. That’s when New Zealand put the kibosh on America’s plan to bring a destroyer into one of its ports. Access was denied because New Zealand couldn’t determine whether the American destroyer possessed nuclear weapons — New Zealand does not play around when it comes to her nuclear-free policy. In a tit for tat move, the United States has banned New Zealand from using its ports ever since. But Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta may be reconsidering the rationale of continuing this cold war (which has no objective) as China builds its influence in the South Pacific:
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Friday that New Zealand naval ships would be allowed to dock at U.S. bases, lifting a 26-year-old ban.
The U.S. move is an overture to New Zealand at a time when the Pentagon is rebuilding military relations in the region, in part to counter China’s growing clout in the South Pacific.
But New Zealand doesn’t seem so anxious to return the gesture:
Asked whether the decision to give New Zealand access to American bases could lead to a resumption of U.S. Navy ship calls in New Zealand, Panetta said, “Let’s see where it takes us.”
Could this be another opportunity for Mitt Romney to accuse the Obama administration of practicing a foreign policy of “appeasement?” Perhaps Romney will call for a boycott of kiwis and Peter Jackson films until New Zealand reciprocates.
‘Know’ not ‘now’. 😋