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Talk to Taliban, foreign secretary Miliband urgesTalk to Taliban urges British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband

Guest Blogger John Gallagher writes:

The natural role for a nuclear-free, peacemaking New Zealand is peace diplomacy and peace-building. It is not giving military support to Nato and the United States, which are also committed to nuclear war-fighting strategies.

Our best way of helping all concerned is to help build communication between the conflicting parties – supporting the dialogue with the Taliban called for by the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, and already begun in Saudi Arabia.

That support for peacemaking would build further on the good will already created by the peaceful and popular efforts of our Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan’s Bamyan province.

Instead of getting caught up again in a military quagmire, New Zealand needs to look at how to build consistently on its international brand as a nuclear-free, diplomatic peacemaker.

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  1. John Gallagher says:

    Update on the above blog by John Gallagher:

    There is an account of more or less continuous talks going on with the Taliban at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KH22Df03.html

    The US realises the need for these talks. It would be very useful for the New Zealand Government to register an interest in them, and in supporting them in any practical way that was possible.

    This would be a really valued kind of connection to build up with the US administration and the other parties involved.

    Such a move would also, more than anything else, help to advance the New Zealand Government’s stated goal of helping to make the world a safer place, including for New Zealanders as they travel in other parts.

    US “rigidities,” in dealing with the Taliban, the Asia Times article above notes, have had the effect of spreading the terrorist threat steadily beyond Afghanistan itself.

    Sending our SAS combat forces to work in with the US military supports such dynamics and is transparently driven by a lobby that wants to return New Zealand to a military alliance-type relationship with the US (by whatever name – last time it was Anzus).

    This type of relationship would not make New Zealanders, or others, any safer this time around than it did last time, when it locked New Zealand and other allies into US nuclear war-fighting strategies.

    That global nuclear spectre is one that can also very easily, and swiftly, return.