And the obverse of that is a lack of goodwill gets those troops pulled? That doesn't sound much like
a commitment to self-interest as it does a description of fickle governments. Phrases like “fair-weather friends” are cliché because they are true.
Fortunately, for you and the rest of the world that thinks like that, the U.S. generally rises above such pettiness. Is there any doubt in your mind that the U.S. wouldn’t help NZ in the event of a disaster or a threat to your sovereignty? And that that help would not be contingent on NZ’s goodwill or lack of same?
And doesn’t the knowledge that the U.S. will help, regardless, make it politically easier to criticize the U.S.?
Or do you think that Australia’s Labor government’s recent thumb-in-the-eye withdrawal of troops from Iraq (i.e. “fair-weather friend”) should result in the loss of American goodwill towards Australia?
I would propose that the question should be reversed. How much goodwill would it take to involve OUR troops in YOUR battles?
A lack of goodwill means that the troops stay home. Your comments about fickle governments are apposite, but if the U.S. had the support of the governed in foreign countries, the fickle government couldn't be so fickle. They can be fickle because they know the people don't like the war, whichever one it may be at the time.
I'm sorry to say that there is considerable doubt in my mind that we would get U.S. assistance if attacked. Any attack on us presupposes a prior attack on Australia, and that in turn presupposes a major conflagration. The U.S. was late to the game in WWs 1 & 2. It may well be late again.
Luckily we haven't had a disaster big enough to require international aid. If we did, I'm sure the U.S. would be there for us, and probably without regard to any goodwill on our part at the time. I think we have established enough goodwill credit to ensure that, just as the U.S. has with us, in those occasional disasters where we can offer a bit of help, like forest fires.
The U.S. gets criticised in places like N.Z. because it is an open society and happily publishes everything, warts & all. I'm not at all sure that we do the same, though we're pretty close to it. There are plenty of warts to criticise, in both countries, and as neither of us is going to call for the slaughter of our critics, we can be and are criticised openly. Politics has little if anything to do with it.
I would expect that the withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq would be viewed unfavourably in Washington, as I believe the withdrawal of British troops from Basra is. The recent "free trade" agreement isn't very free from an Australian point of view, and very discouraging from ours. Maybe that sort of thing is why the U.S. attitude to Australia is a bit strange, or at least it seems so to me.
Now, your real poser. Involving U.S. troops in N.Z. battles? I guess I'll have to revert to the scenario I mentioned before, where there is a major conflict involving Australia. It is possible that U.S. interests may not be involved in such a war, but highly unlikely in view of U.S. investment in both Aus. & N.Z. I'm considering here, war involving direct attacks on us; not the more usual situation where we are at war elsewhere on behalf of others, normally Britain and, more recently, the U.N.
Bearing in mind that people like Winston Churchill couldn't convince the U.S. to enter WW2 on our side until Pearl Harbour, I have to conclude that the level of goodwill required to get U.S. troops into N.Z. wars is nothing less than astronomical. There would need to be direct American interests involved, and as I mentioned, this means American investments.
I think I've covered all your points, Haggis. If not, or if anything's not clear, I'll try to explain further if you ask.