Saturday, September 24, 2005

New Zealand: Australia's Canada

New evidence has turned up that New Zealand really is Australia's Canada. My original theory, based on geography and populations reaches this conclusion: Canada and New Zealand are both free to pursue ridiculously pacifist foreign policies (e.g., refusing to participate in missile defense or banning nuclear-powered vessels) because in the end they will both be protected by their bigger, stronger neighbors.

New Zealand has taken this a step further, apparently selling it's air force. Check out this account of the Prime Minister's election night activities:

Bit by bit, the gap between the Nationals and Labour started narrowing. But as she kept one eye on the TV screen, Clark would have had to divert some of her attention to another problem. Her security advisers told her that a rogue aircraft was flying around the dark skies over Auckland.

The pilot was threatening to do a September 11 on the city's landmark Sky Tower... The security advisers debated whether Clark should decamp to a secret location; maybe the pilot would try to assassinate her by doing a kamikaze dive into her house instead of the Sky Tower. What must have been particularly alarming for Clark was that there was not a lot she could do about the plane. At its last cabinet meeting just that week, Clark's Government had finalised the sale of the only New Zealand planes capable of firing a gun, a squadron of Skyhawk fighters.

Clark had decided some time ago that New Zealand faced no external threat, so the Skyhawks could be dispensed with and she could concentrate on her pacifist, anti-nuclear strategy. The Skyhawks were mothballed months ago. Short of calling the Royal Australian Air Force to come to her rescue and scramble a couple of fighters, which do have guns, to cross the Tasman, there was no way she could intercept, let alone force down or shoot down, the plane.

As a strategic analyst at the University of Auckland, Paul Buchanan, observed, once an aircraft planning a terror act was 3m above New Zealand soil, the Government could only watch and wait.

What a great way to take responsibility for your nation's defense - sell your weapons and call the neighbors.

Luckily for Auckland:

As things turned out, everything was all right on the night. The pilot did not have jihad on his mind but his wife, who had left him.

A flying instructor had strolled into a local airport to steal a plane, fired up the engine of a Piper Cherokee Warrior and taken out his marital angst above the city. He left the Sky Tower, which was evacuated, alone, instead crash-landing in the water off a beach, where he was saved from drowning and captured by onlookers.

No doubt New Zealand will also be protected by missile defense systems developed by the U.S. and Australia. It's easy to be a pacifist when a cop lives next door, but as recent events have shown, that might not be enough.


Paul said...

I wonder who bought the plane? Someone over there should start up a private army and then charge the government when needed. Sort of like the ghostbusters.

Nick said...

Apparently New Zealand's air force was purchased by a U.S. contractor who will use it for training.