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Irish Left Review
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left

offsite link New Books Worth Reading Mon Sep 19, 2016 23:25 | Seán Sheehan

offsite link 13 Billion ? Lucky for some? Mon Sep 05, 2016 13:04 | Tony Phillips

offsite link Rebuilding Ireland: Long on Promise, Short on Detail Mon Aug 29, 2016 22:20 | Eoin O'Mahony

offsite link Brexit and Other Issues: Comments on the Current Situation Mon Aug 29, 2016 21:52 | Brendan Young

offsite link Bin Charges: From Private Circus to Public Service Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:38 | Michael Taft

Irish Left Review >>

Spirit of Contradiction

offsite link What is Dogmatism and Why Does It Matter? Wed Mar 21, 2018 08:10 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link The Case of Comrade Dallas Mon Mar 19, 2018 19:44 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link Review: Do Religions Evolve? Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:54 | Dara McHugh

offsite link Fake News: The Epistemology of Media Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:52 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

offsite link Officials and Provisionals Sat Apr 01, 2017 22:54 | James O'Brien

Spirit of Contradiction >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Denis O’Brien: Are the sharks closing in?

offsite link Kathy Sheridan: Afraid to speak truth to power? Anthony

offsite link Una Mullally: The youth of Ireland are on the march Anthony

offsite link Gombeen democracy v real democracy Anthony

offsite link RTE news bias – Destroying credibility Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Hassan Nasrallah: ISIS is over, Israel on its own against Iran, Syria & Hezbollah Tue Oct 16, 2018 17:01 | The Saker
Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on September 19, 2018, on the tenth night of the Islamic month of Muharram, commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan

offsite link October 16, 2018: Idlib Demilitarization Zone Agreement Reaches Its First Deadline Tue Oct 16, 2018 16:45 | Scott
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offsite link Is Britain getting ready to fight against Russia in Libya? by Ruslan Ostashko Tue Oct 16, 2018 04:55 | Scott
Translated and subtitled by Eugenia.    

offsite link Welcome to the G-20 from Hell Mon Oct 15, 2018 18:54 | The Saker
World leaders wrestle with a maelstrom of complex, burning issues as they prepare for November 30 summit by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the

offsite link The Khashoggi Extortion Fiasco: Mon Oct 15, 2018 08:00 | The Saker
by Ghassan and Itbah Kadi for The Saker Blog A mystifying diplomatic escalation ensued following the disappearance of Saudi Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, after visiting the Saudi Consulate in

The Saker >>

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 naďve 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-neutrality-has...37655

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   Even shannonwatch have swallowed some of the kool aid it seems!     disappointed    Fri Apr 21, 2017 23:51 
   What sort of regime in Russia?     Bengt    Sat Apr 22, 2017 07:42 
   I'd happily live in Russia. Not so sure about the US though!     fred    Wed Apr 26, 2017 01:17 
   How many want to emigrate to Russia?     Bengt    Wed Apr 26, 2017 08:44 
   your rose tinted reality is an illusion     fred    Thu Apr 27, 2017 00:21 
   I gotta emigrate to Russia     Bengt    Fri Apr 28, 2017 00:25 
   Good luck with that     fred    Fri Apr 28, 2017 05:11 


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