Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things Change

Back when I was living in Los Angeles, KPFK had an announcer who would always sign off with the line:

Buy something New Zealand, the world’s only nuclear-free zone.

A report from the BBC today explained the context of that injunction:

Military ties [with the United States] were damaged 25 years ago when New Zealand refused to allow US nuclear-armed ships to dock.

New Zealand has banned nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered ships visiting its ports since 1985.

The US traditionally refuses to say whether its ships are nuclear-powered or not, so New Zealand has refused entry to all of them.

The substance of the report, however, is that all this has now changed.  Rather, what is reported is the signing of the Wellington Declaration, a new “strategic co-operation document” between the United States and New Zealand.  New Zealand is no longer a nuclear-free zone;  and for this we can thank Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acting on behalf of President Barack Obama.  One might almost miss the days of Ronald Reagan yelling at Mikhail Gorbachev (who was not within earshot) to tear down the Berlin Wall!

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