Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Should Mr Key go to President Chavez's funeral?

There has been some discussion about the possibility of Prime Minister Key attending the funeral of President Chavez in Venezuela. After all he is in the region at the time. To be fair, there is no pressure on him to do so and if we are brutally honest, New Zealand and Venezuela do not have strong ties. I would go as far as saying that if he did go it would represent an example of political hypocrisy.
John Key and President Chavez are about as close politically as The President of Iran and Obama. They espouse totally oppositional views on almost every subject. One represents the policies of a reborn Socialism while the other is the darling of Free Trade and Capitalism, albeit in a fairly mild form. The diplomatic ties between New Zealand Venezuela are miniscule. That this should be so is a little sad. Perhaps under a Government that is slightly left-of-centre, things may change on the future.
If for some reason Mr Key had decided to attend the funeral, I doubt that our ‘good friend,’ the USA would look kindly upon us. This too is sad as it is just one more example of the fact that we are inextricably tied to our huge ‘friend.’ It feels like we are in a sense, back in the bad old days of the ‘Cold War,’ in that we have less than a totally independent foreign policy.
In the end, it the practical world of ‘trade and alliances’ that dictates that My Key has shied away from attending the funeral of a great man, but one who proved just way too strident in his criticisms of the ‘Old Guard’ and forces within his own country, to allow a little country like New Zealand to show the ‘guts’ we did in the good old days when we stood against anyone who dared to think that they could bring their nuclear ships into our nuclear-free harbours!