Pick­ing sides risky

Herald on Sunday - - EDITORIAL -

Heather du Plessis-Al­lan raises a very im­por­tant is­sue (HoS, Dec 2), but one that needs a con­sid­er­ably more so­phis­ti­cated and long-term view than she has given it. Pick­ing sides is very dan­ger­ous: it is a game in which we will in­evitably lose. We have long had a record at strik­ing a bal­ance, and we need to main­tain that. More­over, fo­cus­ing on just the two ma­jor pow­ers is also a great mis­take. There are nearly 200 coun­tries, and all can have in­flu­ence in one way or an­other. By play­ing a broad game of work­ing with a wide range of coun­tries we can have much more in­flu­ence than be­ing dom­i­nated by one or the other power.

To date we have played such a broad game very well and we need to ensure that is main­tained. Both the US and China rep­re­sent com­plex mix­tures of threats and op­por­tu­ni­ties. Cur­rently our fo­cus is on purs­ing good re­la­tions be­tween coun­tries and main­tain­ing the rules-based in­ter­na­tional or­der. To achieve these goals we need to con­tinue to main­tain our in­de­pen­dence.

Gray Southon, Tau­ranga


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