The New Zealand mainstream media has been almost celebratory that this country is hitching its wagon firmly to the foreign policy imperatives of the United States government.
On Friday New Zealand and the United States will formalise an agreement to exchange diplomats on secondment and you can expect to be see glowing, uncritical reports on the television news tomorrow night.
Expect the celebratory mood of the media to go up a gear when Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, announces the re-commencement of joint military exercises.
One of the few commentators not to believe the hype has been Chris Trotter.
In a column he wrote last year he fingered the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, as being responsible driving New Zealand closer to the United States - along with Defence Minister Wayne Mapp and Trade Minister Tim Groser.
Trotter likens McCully's political philosophy to the neo-conservatism of former US Vice President Dick Cheney. He writes:
The Foreign Affairs portfolio, McCully’s reward for giving Key the nod, allows him to pursue (well away from the prying eyes of the news media) his long-held objective of restoring New Zealand to its proper place in the Anglo-Saxon fold. His impatience with the diplomacy of grand moral gestures – epitomised by Kirk’s despatch of a frigate to the French nuclear testing-ground at Mururoa Atoll; Lange’s Nuclear-free legislation; and Clark’s refusal to join the invasion of Iraq – underpins his determination to re-couple New Zealand to the train of its traditional allies.
However Trotter is one of the lone dissenting voices within a media clamouring to rejoin the 'Washington Club'.
McCully, Key and co will be tugging their forelocks in the direction of a woman who features in a new book that hit the American bookstores on Monday.
Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime is about the 2008 presidential candidates, their partners, and various other political players.
Written by political journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, the Los Angles Times describes it as 'deeply and knowledgeably reported and presented with all the cool sophistication one would expect from two accomplished political reporters.'
This book paints Hillary Clinton in a very unflattering light.
Some of the charges laid against Clinton include:
- She believed, long after she had conceded, that Obama had stolen the Iowa caucus by importing out-of-state voters. There was no evidence for Clinton's suspicions.
-She was obsessed with finding a mythical recording of Michelle Obama using the slur 'whitey.' Clinton regarded this tape as a ticking time bomb that would derail Obama's bid for the Democrat nomination. She told her aides that the tape represented a 'Game Change.'
-She supported using some nasty tactics against Obama, including the charge that he had once been a drug dealer.
Writes the Politico website:
After Clinton reportedly offered Obama the tersest of congratulations on his victory in Iowa, for instance, one of her 'senior-most lieutenants' is described watching 'her bitter and befuddled reaction, her staggering lack of calm or command.'
Invariably the Clintonites will jump on anyone or anything that is critical of either Hillary or Bill, but this book has been met with a suspicously deafening silence from the Clinton inner circle.
Indeed Hillary Clinton conveniently scheduled a trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea for the same week that the book was published.