The situation in the Levant isn’t going to improve soon. Does New Zealand really have a strategic interest in the defeat of Islamic State? I’m not convinced, and the softening up of the New Zealand public over the past few months for “boots on the ground” should concern anyone capable of thinking clearly.
If the risk to New Zealand is elevated because of Islamic State, then a direct military contribution will only increase that risk. The more reasonable response is to take advantage of the fact that New Zealand is a long way from the Middle East and allocate resources towards improved security within New Zealand and around New Zealand assets overseas such as embassies and diplomatic missions.
Our imminent presence on the UN Security Council doesn’t mean we have to put troops on the ground. It’s actually an opportunity for New Zealand to promote a non-crazy attitude towards foreign intervention. Even humanitarian aid in the Middle East is actually helping Islamic State – so if we are currently doing any of that, it should grind to a halt until they start acting like civilised people.
As that is unlikely to happen, the best approach is to stay as far away as possible from foreign entanglements. The rhetoric around this whole situation is concerning, the same people who lied about Iraq are talking heads on US news shows and the same people who haven’t incurred any personal costs for their mistakes are shilling for greater intervention!