WELLINGTON, New Zealand – There are a few things to be said about this attack-line from the NZ National Party’s Judith Collins. One of which, is that Collins either doesn’t know, or more likely simply doesn’t care about the facts of the situation. Juan Guaido did not contest the 2018 Venezuelan Presidential Election. It is therefore impossible to truthfully call him the “rightful winner” of said Election.
But, you know, it isn’t nearly as neat of a soundbite to talk about the installation of an “Interim President” with a view toward organizing pending new elections, so a simplistic “TRUE WINNER” vs “CORRUPT FAKE” narrative is what she’s gone for here.
Another, is the curious contradiction entailed in Collins’ statement that the European Union supports Guaido over Maduro. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that it’s not actually true (the actual E.U. stance is only to recognize Guaido if Maduro continues to refuse to hold fresh elections; with the additional corollary that the Bloc’s individual member-countries will issue a range of statements which *avoid* explicit ‘recognition’), it completely erases the stances of a number of E.U. member-countries, such as Italy and Greece, which have pointedly refused to recognize Guaido as President, interim or otherwise.
The attempted monolithicization of the moral force of the entirety of Europe behind Guaido on show here, is also a very handy illustration of the way in which the supranational institutions that underpin neoliberal-globalism directly undercut the actual ability of any country to have its own say, its own views, its own voice. And actively distort realty in the process. But we shall perhaps leave that exploration for another time.
In any case, for all their faults, I’m not sure that it would be particularly tenable to try and argue that either Italy or Greece are not currently “democratic”. Or, for that matter, that the world’s largest democracy, a longstanding friend of ours with whom our interests increasingly align, the Republic of India, is not to be counted amidst “The World’s [sic] democracies” simply because India has also refused to bend the Boltonian knee and recognize Guaido.
In fact, there are quite a number of democratic countries which aren’t against Maduro. but once again, because this would be inconvenient for Collins’ “Good Democracies vs Evil Socialists” moral duality, this is completely ignored. I must also confess myself abjectly surprised at The Economist suddenly being a champion of democracy, given some of its previous positions *against* democratically-attained outcomes it feels to be “problematic” from the perspective of neoliberal-technocracy; as is the curiousness of Collins’ sudden apparent allergy to being cordial with the People’s Republic of China, given her very specific history in this area – but, again, another series of stories for another time.
Collins’ comments around New Zealand being offside with “all of our traditional allies” on this issue, further ring perplexing.
After all, you take a look at a number of the countries we’re now apparently off-side with, and it almost seems like the opposite is true. I mean, as applies the United States, France, and Israel … this therefore means that we are not joining, respectively, a country that broke *off* military relations with us and turfed us out of a defence pact over the NZ-nuclear-free issue, a country which carried out an act of international terrorism against us (a situation in which, I note, we did not have the United States’ or United Kingdom’s support, due to it being contrary to their interests to do so), and a country whose extensive array of strikes against us includes the ongoing theft of our passports for espionage purposes, an attempted hacking of our police computer-systems, and an implicit declaration of war against us at the United Nations only a few months ago.
The “BUT ALL OUR FRIENDS ARE DOING IT!” school of international diplomacy theory has also been trotted out previously by the National Party, most prominently with regard to its vitriolic opposition to the Clark Government keeping New Zealand out of the Americans’ illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The New Zealand refusal to proceed in the absence of a clear U.N. mandate for THAT Bolton-approved Neocon brouhaha, has since been vindicated on any number of levels. Although no doubt, there are still holdouts within National who yet believe we made the wrong call on Iraq, and want to ‘make it up’ to the Americans with subsequent silliness at their behest.
Oh, and speaking of the U.N. – it’s probably worth noting that that august body has thus far refused to ordain Guaido as a legitimate leader of Venezuela. Maybe Collins doesn’t think the United Nations are a “traditional ally” of New Zealand, either.
Collins often likes to play the populist – hence her quip about “Even the E.U.” choosing to recognize Guaido. The implication being clear that “even” the horrifically anti-democratic and anti-popular European Union has chosen to do the ‘right thing’, and is in this instance – in Collins’ heavily skewed view – on the side of the ordinary Venezuelan people and some measure of “democracy”.
It is therefore considerably ironic that the confederation of forces which she has allied herself with, and which she seeks to drag New Zealand kicking and screaming into greater alignment with … are the anti-populist ones, more generally speaking.
Meanwhile, many of those who are castigated or characterized as being “populist”, concerned with national sovereignty against intergovernmental interference, with the upholding of the democratically expressed will of the people *against* transnational neoliberal (or, for that matter, neocon – as in this instance) elites … they are not on the side of Guaido.
I state this, because it illustrates the clear dysjunction between the anti-elitist, and somewhat ‘popular’ in style rhetoric which we have increasingly heard from the National Party over the past few years … and what they actually believe, and actually support, when they think they can get away with it.
A similar instance can be observed with the National Party’s recent declaration of opposition to the UN Migration Pact – despite its own immediately previous tenure presiding over historically high levels of immigration to New Zealand, and its earlier championing of the anti-sovereignty Trans-Pacific Partnership trade/investment agreement.
In any case, it is probable that another thought percolates at the back of Judith Collins’ mind, motivating her and her colleagues/cronies to take such vociferous stands on the politics of a small nation on the other side of the globe.
Namely, that in situations wherein elections do not produce the “right” outcomes for some reason [whether due to alleged improper governmental actions in the Venezuelan election; or due to NZ First opting for Labour, over the notionally more popular National Party here in the NZ General Election in 2017], that the Guaido recognition suggests you can shift governing arrangements more toward the neoliberal right via ‘top-down’ (‘diplomatic’) interventions – no “elections” required.
It is no wonder that Collins is contemplating such a concept.
After all, it is pretty much the only way that she would possibly be able to become Leader of the National Party , and/or Prime Minister of New Zealand.