Helen Clark has announced that the New Zealand government will not be sending troops to Fiji. We will, however, impose economic sanctions, including a reduction of aid.
I agree with Clark about militarily intervention. I believe that a state has the right to wage war only to defend those living with in its boarders from attack. A state’s authority to use coercion to uphold justice is limited to its borders.
Just as a state has no right to prosecute a person for committing a crime committed outside NZ or to make laws regulating peoples behaviour beyond its shores, it has no duty to defend people in other countries.
However, it seems to me that replacing military action with sanctions is questionable. First, sanctions are in fact a type of warfare, a form of siege warfare. Where a person instead of fighting the enemy directly attempts to force a surrender by cutting off supplies and starving the populace into submission. (Not suggesting that Helen intends to see the people of Fiji starve – making a general point about what siege warfare entails.)
Secondly, siege warfare of this type is unjust. In a just war one targets enemy combatants – a military intervention would do this. The NZ army would go in and kill the military who are carrying out the coup and would not deliberately target innocent civilians. Sanctions do not do this. The entire population is deprived of aid and support including women, children, the poor, etc. Sanctions work in the same way terrorism does, one attempts to force a government to change by causing innocent civilians to suffer and essentially blackmailing them into submission.
Also sanctions infringe the rights of New Zealand citizens to freely dispose of their own lawfully acquired property. New Zealanders will be told that they cannot sell to another person because of his race (in this case Fijian race) and because some other person of the same race has behaved unjustly. This is the mentality of the KKK.
Moreover, for a government to tell private sports clubs who they can and cannot play cricket and rugby with is stepping well outside the bounds of its lawful authority.
If one wants to harm and hurt people then hurt those who are guilty, send in the troops. If one cannot justify this then one cannot justify harming innocent third parties by depriving them of aid and support and preventing others freely giving it to them.