Iraq attack

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Sun Feb 18 20:19:58 MST 2001

Paul Flewers wrote:

>The latest attack on Iraq raises some important issues, particularly in
>US-European relations.
>Firstly, I think it is intended to show that Bush is determined to throw his
>weight about, irrespective of international opinion; there was much
>opposition, including the governments of Russia, China and New Zealand, and
>the Arab League.

I think Paul may be a bit optimistic including NZ.

I haven't heard a full response by the NZ government, but it is unlikely to
be critical.  From an item on the news today I gather that a member of the
government, Matt Robson, made some critical comments.  The PM, Helen Clark,
responded by saying that no-one in the government other than the Minister
of Foreign Affairs, should speak publicly on the issue.  Robson is not in
the Labour Party, he's a cabnet minister belonging to the Alliance (a
left-of-Labour formation which has ten seats in parliament and a few
cabinet posts).  In the 1970s, Robson was a prominent member of the
Socialist Action League, the NZ section of the Fourth International.  So it
was possibly a little bit of his youthful anti-US imperialism comng to the

The Labour Party leadership, the dominant force in the government, is
thoroughly in favour of US/Western policy towards Iraq, including the
sanctions.  Labour, which was in power from 1984-1990, was also thoroughly
gung-ho for the Gulf War'.  The last Labour government, by the way,
increased NZ imperialism's own military engagement in the Pacific to levels
not seen since WW2.  Clark was a cabinet minister in that government.

Philip Ferguson

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