The Americans have never rated highly as a civilized country, in Alf’s judgement, not since that nonsense in the 18th century when 13 colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America.
Our history books tell us they first rejected the authority of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them from overseas without representation.
This might have been fair enough in the circumstances, perhaps, if the parliamentarians then were as lack-lustre as the buggers running the show now.
The outrage is that the so-called American patriots then expelled all royal officials.
This – in Alf’s book – condemned them to be forever ranked away down there among the world’s more uncouth nations, regardless of the military muscle they can flex, which is ample enough to make them the mightiest country on earth today according to that crude measure.
If the NZ Herald’s John Armstrong had been a scribe at the time, Alf would have applauded him for describing the American action against the Crown as petty, petulant and pathetic.
Obviously the Americans haven’t become one whit more sophisticated, civilized or gracious since the days of the American Revolution.
Just as obviously, they regard with contempt a small country like New Zealand which still proudly has Her Majesty as its Head of State.
The boorish Yanks have required this proud country to park its Navy – or most of it – at a commercial dock in Honolulu while other countries, including the bloody Russians, are treated as good mates, allowed to park their ships in the Pearl Harbour Military Base.
Much more outlandish than being closer mates with the Russians than with New Zealand, the Americans have allowed Japanese ships to join them at the Pearl Harbour Military Base.
Dammit, they were the sneaky buggers who almost wiped out the US Navy at that very same base in 1941, thereby bringing the Americans into World War II.
US Navy chiefs obviously have forgiven the Japs for that particular outrage, yet – just to remind us they are nothing more than a mean-minded bunch of matelots with selective memories – they are maintaining their grudge against we Kiwis over the anti-nuclear stuff that has tested our relationship over the years.
Mostly, this demonstrates that they recognise ours is a small country, and therefore we can be easily pushed around.
Or bullied, to tell it like it is.
And so Armstrong has good modern-day reasons for writing (here)-
Petty, petulant and pathetic. What other conclusion is it possible to draw from the absurd, vindictive and ultimately short-sighted refusal by the United States military to allow two New Zealand naval vessels to berth at the Pearl Harbour military base?
Having invited New Zealand to participate in the Rimpac exercises off Hawaii for the first time in nearly three decades, the Pentagon then slaps this country in the face by making the frigate Te Kaha and the refuelling ship Endeavour tie up at civilian port facilities in Honolulu.
The ban on Pearl Harbour is designed to punish and humiliate. It is a more than curt reminder to New Zealand that its anti-nuclear policy still comes with a price. What better way to make your point than segregating New Zealand from the 21 other countries taking part in the exercises?
John Key should have ignored the diplomatic niceties and gone with gut feeling. He should have pointed out that resolving the anti-nuclear impasse has not come without cost for New Zealand. A terse brief statement including the words “New Zealand”, “Afghanistan” and “sacrifice” would have not have gone amiss.
It was an opportunity missed.
Alf cheered, on reading this article.
Armstrong is damned right, and a quick check among drinkers in the Eketahuna Club established that The Boss should not have taken this slight on the chin.
As Armstrong quite rightly points out, The Boss could have further argued that treating New Zealand sailors like second-class citizens runs 180 degrees counter to the direction of the intensive diplomacy of recent years which produced the thaw in Wellington-Washington relations.
This tawdry episode smells very much like the revenge of the United States Navy, the branch of the American military machine most affected by New Zealand’s ban on nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered warships and consequently the one most averse to resolving the subsequent two decades-plus stand-off.
The berthing ban is even more ridiculous given other Rimpac participants include Japan which almost destroyed the American Pacific fleet based at Pearl Harbour some 70 years ago. The list also includes Russia which, in the guise of the Soviet Union, would have targeted its inter-continental ballistic missiles at American bases like Pearl Harbour – and probably still does.
The Americans would not dream of treating those countries’ navies like they are treating New Zealand’s. That is a function of size. But it is also made a lot easier by the Prime Minister and Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman being so quick to dismiss any suggestion of a snub.
Mrs Grumble has advised Alf not to say so publicly, and he will be taking her advice on the matter, but he happens to think The Boss and Jonathan are being unduly obsequious by making no fuss.
This is especially so when you note that just a few weeks ago Coleman was signing the Washington Declaration, a new closer defence agreement with the United States.
Armstrong concludes –
There is only one winner from all this – New Zealand’s not-so-shallow well of anti-American sentiment. The Americans could not have come up with a better means of replenishing it.
Couldn’t have said it better.
If our Navy wasn’t already up there, Alf would order the sending of a gun boat to sail up the Potomac or some other appropriately chosen river as an expression of our serious disapproval.