It is remarkable that the beginning of the First World War one hundred years ago (today, re Britain's declaration) is being remembered against a tragic series of conflicts which arguably are a continuation of that war: Gaza as a reaction to the State of Israel which came into being as a reaction to the Holocaust which occurred in a defeated Germany prone to the rise of Naziism; fighting in Syria and Iraq which to some degree reflects the way boundaries were drawn in the Middle East at the conclusion of the war; civil war in Ukraine reflects a series of changes for that region since WW1 (borders, demographic change) though such changes have been ever present through that part of Europe. (Postscript: much better said by Robert Fisk here).
Yet we can be grateful that much peace also abounds. Europe, for instance, since 1945 has worked out its differences in political forums rather than in trenches. Commitments to all regional wars by modern 'great powers' reckon with the dangers of dragging the globe into another world war. Despite profound mistakes about regional intervention (Iraq, Libya,Afghanistan), some ability to not intervene is being seen in respect of Syria.
From another perspective the collection of intelligence about the world and its hotheads is a vital part of maintaining as much world peace as possible.
If there is one politician in New Zealand right now who makes me want to gag, it is Russell Norman speaking against the government's involvement in the 'five powers' agreement whereby we take our place in world intelligence gathering through listening in to phone communications around the world. I am all for it on the Christian basis that the maintenance of peace is always preferable to going to war.
On the specific issue I have heard Norman attack with special vehemence, that this activity constitutes some infringement of privacy, as a Christian I say with Jesus 'for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known' (Matthew 10:26). If I am walking in the light then I have nothing to fear from surveillance. If I wish to see my children and grandchildren live lives freed from the fear of war I have every reason to support my government in playing its part, modest though it is, in the global task of preventing the spread of terrorism.
It is quite odd that the Green Party of all parties should be so opposed to intelligence gathering. Surely it is the least violent means of defending one's country from enemies?