Upcoming Events

National | Anti-War / Imperialism

no events match your query!

User Preferences

  • Language - en | ga
  • text size >>
  • make this your indymedia front page make this your indymedia front page

Blog Feeds

Human Rights in Ireland
www.humanrights.ie

offsite link Barriers to first trimester abortion care. Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:31 | admin

offsite link Why would any country put abortion in the Constitution? Thu Apr 20, 2017 17:28 | Máiréad Enright

offsite link Northern/Ireland After Brexit: Exploring the Human Rights Impact Tue Apr 18, 2017 15:06 | Liam Thornton

offsite link Call for Applications: Challenges to International Criminal Justice Summer Academy Northumbria Unive... Tue Apr 11, 2017 19:20 | Charles O'Mahony

offsite link #Strike4Repeal: Strike Against the Citizens? Assembly? Wed Mar 08, 2017 07:51 | Máiréad Enright

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link Bernadette McAliskey ? Gernika 80 ? Then & Now: Special commemorative magazine launch 17:08 Sun Apr 23, 2017 | irishelectionliterature

offsite link J.J. Smyths to close this evening? 11:16 Sun Apr 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week 10:28 Sun Apr 23, 2017 | Garibaldy

offsite link Another UK Poll 09:31 Sun Apr 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Babylon 5 redux 12:57 Sat Apr 22, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link Notes for a Book on Money and the Irish State - The Marshall Aid Program 15:10 Sat Apr 02, 2016

offsite link The Financial Crisis:What Have We Learnt? 19:58 Sat Aug 29, 2015

offsite link Money in 35,000 Words or Less 21:34 Sat Aug 22, 2015

offsite link THE WRATH OF KANE: BANKING CRISES AND POLITICAL POWER 09:32 Fri Jan 30, 2015

offsite link ALWAYS THE ARTISTS: WEEK THREE OF THE BANK INQUIRY 23:11 Thu Jan 22, 2015

Dublin Opinion >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

offsite link Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

Irish Neutrality is not Obsolete

category national | anti-war / imperialism | other press author Thursday April 20, 2017 23:55author by 1 of indy - ShannonWatch Report this post to the editors

In an article published in the Irish Times on April 8th, the paper's former foreign correspondent Patrick Smith claimed that the concept of neutrality was obsolete for Ireland. In a response published on April 14th John Maguire outlines why that is not the case. ShannonWatch has reprinted his excellent letter in full on their website and it is reprinted here too.

Patrick Smyth declares Irish neutrality obsolete (Opinion 8th April 2017), a report which manages to be simultaneously old and false news. Despite frequent P45s and applications of the last rites, neutrality just won't bow out. Maybe one reason is that it is endorsed by 78% of Irish people (RedC, 2013).

But maybe we're 78% wrong, and should be guided by Mr Smyth's chosen witnesses? These hail from other non-NATO EU countries, and display 'a pragmatic understanding and a candid discussion of strategic realities.' Such qualities should indeed inform a genuine debate about Irish defence policy - but they might not lead us where Mr Smyth would wish.

He rightly deplores the legal and ethical fudge labelled 'military neutrality', but it is not clear that we should drop the noun rather than the adjective. Nor might we thrive on his alternative product 'military nonalignment', even when obtainable, free from 'particular virtuousness' and 'ideological connotation', through all good think-tanks.

Ideology is in the mind of the beholder. It is not evident what clarity is achieved by Mr Smyth's preferred terms, or precisely how they are better, legally or ethically, than those he deplores. What they certainly do is nudge us towards absorption in NATO-based EU military structures.

I have reread Mr Smyth's article at least three times, astonished that he can discuss our future defence policy without once mentioning the UN. Even the EU's recent Rome Declaration, which he quotes in part, concedes it will be 'engaged in the United Nations'; how very civil of them!

The UN indeed has severe problems, often self-inflicted. But the 'rule-based multilateral system' vaunted by the Rome Declaration is greatly to blame for undermining and side-lining the UN, and the 'rules' it follows are all too rarely those of international law.

Is it 'particularly virtuous' to ask whether that system has made our world better or safer in recent decades? Former President Mary Robinson has called the Afghanistan and Iraq wars 'really very damaging.' The response to that damage through expanding military force has proved catastrophic.

Mr Smyth mentions 'the absence of direct security threats to this island', but argues that we should be motivated by the 'very real threats our partners see' for example in the Baltic. However, such threat-perceptions ignore how far the NATO-based system has played into President Putin's hands by reviving cold-war-era fears of encirclement.

A central strand of Irish neutrality derives from our history of 'great power' domination. Our Constitution commits us to promoting peaceful conflict-resolution under international law. Neutrality in this context is far from indifference: it is a clear commitment to the ordinary lives and communities facing devastation by armed aggression.

Was John F. Kennedy naïve or indifferent when, in the last days of his administration, he insisted against all the mandarins on negotiating neutrality for Laos, and even proudly saw it as a template for the rest of his foreign policy?

Related Link: http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/state-s-brand-of-neut...37655
author by disappointedpublication date Fri Apr 21, 2017 23:51Report this post to the editors

"However, such threat-perceptions ignore how far the NATO-based system has played into President Putin's hands by reviving cold-war-era fears of encirclement."


Good letter however I'm somewhat disappointed to see that Shannonwatch has bought into the US propaganda about Putin being evil and is routinely
regurgitating it in it's communications.

Putin is merely the patriotic leader of a proud independent people who are in a desperate existential battle for survival against a superior and belligerent force
intent on dominating them, taking their resources, silencing their dissent and integrating them into a global system of control.

I guess if you repeat something often enough, even people who really should know better eventually start to parrot it as truth too. :-(

author by Bengtpublication date Sat Apr 22, 2017 07:42Report this post to the editors

Russia is being encircled provocatively by USA--led NATO. What kind of regime is Putin leading, however? Is it democratic? Do dissenting journalists move freely without threats to personal safety? What about the clampdown on Jehovah's Witnesses? (JWs were among the assorted categories of political prisoners in Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago.) And the ex-communist party bosses are economically in cahoots with the oil, gold and natural gas oligarchs. Not a nice country to live in.

 
© 2001-2017 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy