NX-Files

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At the 60th anniversary dinner, Israeli ambassador Yuval Rotem delivered a strong message that Israel wants New Zealand to stand up for human rights around the world.

The subtext (delivered more directly in a subsequent official foreign affairs consultation in Wellington) was that New Zealand should take a more condemnatory approach to Iran, not just beat-up on Israel. 

I reckon Helen's much touted foreign affairs expertise is nothing more than a farce.  On the big issues such as Israel, a nuclear armed Iran, Iraqi situation, and Mugabe - Helen Clark is either silent or a vocal critic at best.  She offers no solutions, and she's not prepared to go out on a limit - just repeat her stock UN line.
 
But Downer is expected to be confirmed soon as special UN envoy for Cyprus and will continue to be a public voice on foreign affairs through his new blog.  Read it - it's probably the closest you'll get to obtaining a true conservative perspective than anything served up by National here.
 
I must find his blog and add it to my RSS feed reader.  And I agree with Fran O'Sullivan's point that National has a 'lily-livered' approach to foreign affairs.  But to do otherwise would invite Helen to accuse National of being an American puppet.  Helen has no qualms about damaging our relationship with the US in order to score cheap political points (referring to the 2005 election).