If New Zealand becomes a member of the UN Security Council early tomorrow, hoping to get a pay-off for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in schmoozing we've done to get there, let us see how much of an independent voice we will retain.
We've sold ourselves as practically the most fair-minded, decent human beings on earth, as if everyone could benefit from our now rather nostalgic ideas of fairness, egalitarianism, and a fair go for all. It's almost as if we're suggesting any hotspot in the world might be hosed down by a visit from Murray McCully with a cup of tea and scones, some number 8 wire, and a hearty "she'll be right, mate!"
Our independence is also widely trumpeted, although this is even less convincing. For a start, we are known to be data collecting and spying on behalf of more powerful trading partners. In lock step with the same partners, we are moving away from our leadership on the issue of climate change, we are desperately trying to get the TPP signed, and seem sometimes ambivalent about international human rights legislation.
Isn't it more correct to say true independence is a quality we can ill-afford, being a very small, essentially powerless country in the middle of the South Pacific, dependent on much larger players to provide us a reasonable standard of living through buying our exports?
If we are trying to secure a spot on the council because we want to ingratiate ourselves with our trading partners, then fair play. But to try to suggest our doughty, sensible and most importantly 'independent' voice on international matters is essential to the world conversation is a stretch.
Nevertheless, if we get there, the true test of New Zealand's independence of thought may come sooner than we think. A movement is gaining pace for countries around the world to recognise the independent state of Palestine, with the British Government's House of Commons having just voted to do exactly that. The vote is largely symbolic - Prime Minister David Cameron and many of his ministers abstained. But it comes in a week in which Sweden became the first major European country to recognise the Palestinian state, and also within a week in which many of the world's largest countries voted to give Palestine $5 billion to rebuild itself after the devastating 50-day war earlier this year.
The world is largely aghast and impatient with the continuing blockade of Gaza, the repression of its citizens, and settlements that continue to encroach on their land. Yet America continues to stymie efforts to grant Palestine any kind of legitimacy.
Currently, all Five Eyes countries, led by the US and including New Zealand, refuse to recognise an independent Palestine. Will we be able to take a contrary view, even if we wanted to, if we are sitting at the top table after tomorrow?
Of course, not just Israel but Iraq and Syria are pressing world issues that 'independent' minded New Zealand has to face. Our independence is so vaunted that, according to the Prime Minister this week, not getting involved in the war in Iraq would mean our foreign policy was dictated by Islamic State. (For this to make sense, you'd also have to imagine Saddam Hussein was dictating our foreign policy when we demurred from taking part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.)
To support his case for involving ourselves in the Iraq conflict, the Prime Minister has raised the spectre of a beheading on the streets, and told us that 'officials' have a desire for tighter legislation to be passed under urgency. It would be interesting to know precisely which officials have come up with this wish list; are they our own, working independently to assess the security risk to New Zealand specifically?
It's a critical question for our country, at a time when the world's largest super power admits it was blindsided by the growth of the Islamic State - a cohesive, insurgent threat with territorial aspirations, and not just a haphazard collection of terrorists.
Even with the world's metadata at its disposal, US political judgments are not always correct.
With critical matters like involving ourselves in a distant quagmire of war being decided, it would be great if the country were able to think and act for itself.
But whether we'll be able to as part of any international clique, is not known - and for that reason, it's probably best to tamp down the tough talk.