Patrick Gower: Syria strike - will New Zealand give military support?

Here is a big question coming out of the American strike on Syria: Is there going to be a war - and will New Zealand take part?

The answer: a request for our military to help is highly possible, depending on where this goes next.

New Zealand is officially backing the United States' attack on the Assad regime - Bill English has given our support for Donald Trump's move.

Call it support, backing, an endorsement, approval or affirmation - New Zealand is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States on this one.

This is very significant: remember this is an attack on another Government where its troops have been killed that is not sanctioned by the United Nations.

Given the atrocities committed by Assad and the strong international condemnation of what's happening in Syria, Bill English is on solid ground.

But what comes next? If there is another strike, does New Zealand support that?

If American fighter jets start air raids on Syrian Government targets - does that get our backing?

What about if traditional allies like the United Kingdom or Australia start taking part in bombings - will we endorse that?

These are all very real possibilities right now - a full-scale ground war is unlikely and much further down the track.

The United States always looks for international backing and it is no surprise that New Zealand was on a list of countries on the ring-around.

Moral support is the first request - military support is the next thing America wants. It wants as many flags as possible flying alongside it.

And despite what the Government here says publicly - there will be pressure.

New Zealand is lucky in that without an air force, there is very little we can practically do immediately given a ground war is unlikely.

But depending what happens from here, there could be requests for all kinds of military support - such as planes and troops helping with logistics.

It will take time to play out, but the reality is there could be a war - and New Zealand could take part.

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