Sir Bob Jones

Commentary on issues of the day from the property tycoon, author and former politician

Bob Jones: NZ should abolish its armed forces

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Being military-free would be something to be really proud of and would help New Zealand's economy to boot.

Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell

In conversation recently, the subject turned to the most anger-making aspect of humankind. For me it's the disgraceful waste of trillions of dollars annually on militarism.

Currently our navy is soliciting armament manufacturers for the latest submarine detector equipment costing tens of millions of dollars. Why? Opposition defence spokesman Phil Goff summed it up well, saying, "There might be foreign submarines in our waters or there might not. Who cares?" I'll tell you who should. The sucker taxpayer in any visiting submarine's home country, having to pay for this silliness.

We provide aid to Tonga and Fiji yet both maintain costly armies, navies and air forces. Why? Who's going to attack them? Belgium? Moldova? Guatemala?

Well, actually nobody. Apart from earning mercenary fees the only function the Fijian army has served is to usurp democracy and establish military dictatorships headed by screaming halfwits. Come to think of it, the first of these, the Rabuka buffoon, promised a libel action against me for saying he failed school certificate three times.

Apparently he only failed it twice, but I'm still awaiting the writ. It's unsurprising Samoa has no armed forces for the praying nonsense aside, they're sensible people, inclined towards measured consideration before any action.

Many readers will know Spain and be saddened reading of its current woes. While the source of their troubles is the ill-considered euro, Spain's 26 per cent unemployment rate and horrendous 60 per cent with its under 25s, plus the forced austerity, are compounded by it wasting €8 billion annually on ridiculous armed forces. Who are they worried about? Tunisia? Malta? Austria? No one threatens them. Excluding brief skirmishes when they lost their colonies, the last external war Spain was involved in goes back two centuries to Napoleonic times.

This farcical situation arises because they're members of Nato, a military pact now redundant with the end of the Cold War. The perceived Russian expansionism threat was an ideological rather than territorial ambition.

Similar preposterous waste exists worldwide. Consider Bulgaria, currently reeling economically, so much so six young men have publicly committed suicide by immolation in recent months, protesting the austerity measures. Yet Bulgaria maintains sizeable armed forces.

Again, why? They even have a navy which perchance not long ago I viewed in the company of a retired US admiral. He shook his head in wonderment and told me modern technology would wipe the lot out in two minutes from 160km away. So again, why? The answer: the idiots joined Nato. If Bulgaria wiped out its armed forces it could pay its national debt off inside four years. Much the same applies to numerous other nations.

Countries needing military forces are few in number. Obviously Israel, likewise Japan because of the North Korean lunatic, Taiwan to make a mainland military unification threat not worthwhile, India and Pakistan because of ... well, because of no good reason other than infantile mutual contempt, both spending massive sums while hundreds of millions of their citizens are impoverished.

We need a small navy for fisheries and that's it, although it could be a division of the police. Late last year our navy engaged in war games with Australia, Britain, Singapore and Malaysia off the coast of China, now our largest trading partner. Why? Imagine the hullabaloo if the Chinese reciprocated with their newly reconditioned aircraft carrier off our coast, accompanied by the rest of their navy.

The great example to the world is Costa Rica. Surrounded by similarly impoverished, highly militarised tin-pot nations, but fed-up with military coups, it abolished its armed forces in 1949. Ever since it's flourished, now having the highest education and health standards in Latin America, Chile excepted.

It's even rated the world's greenest nation thanks to its now affordable Government measures. Meanwhile its Central American neighbours wallow in poverty, spending 60 per cent of their budgets on scruffy armies, despite having no potential enemies. Panama sensibly emulated Costa Rica and abolished its armed forces a decade back, and is enjoying a rapidly rising living standard now they're no longer wasting half their budget.

Idle armies often cause mischief in underdeveloped nations, as we constantly witness in Africa. Consider the infamous 1969 soccer war between El Salvador and neighbouring Honduras.

In their World Cup eligibility series, each game was followed by rioting resulting in some deaths. In protest El Salvador invaded Honduras. Both sides bombed one another's capitals with decrepit airplanes. Over 3000 deaths ensued, mainly Hondurans and unsurprisingly, as is usually the case, mostly civilians. Outside action duly put a stop to it.

New Zealand should wipe out its armed forces. Early in her Administration Helen Clark took a progressive step, grounding our air force's ridiculous fighter planes, thereby saving around $3 billion in running costs until they were finally sold.

Instead of childish rubbish such as the nuclear-free boast, being military-free would be something to be truly proud of and if the Aussies and Americans don't like it, well, bad luck, they'll get over it.

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- NZ Herald

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