Picking sides risky
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