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 Lisbon and Neutrality

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PostSubject: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:45 pm

Maurice Hayes, Chairman of the National Forum on Europe said recently that while what is stated in the Treaty is a matter of fact, the implications of what is said in the Treaty are a matter of judgement.

This is particularly true in the debate regarding common defence policy and Ireland's military obligations under Lisbon. (Articles 10-28)

The word 'neutrality' does not appear in the treaty at all, though there is, in its stead a more general reference, as in Article 28A 7) for example, which states that the obligation to defend other nations which may be a victim of armed aggression on its territory shall be entitled by obligation to the aid and assistance by all th means in their power in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter of the other member states and that "This shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States" - which I presume we can understand to include Ireland and her neutrality, such as it is.

Sinn Féin and others have pointed out that since we joined the EU Ireland has become progressively more enmeshed in military activity and under Lisbon will have increased military obligations.

Is there anyone out there who would like to outline exactly the nature of that military progress?

The Yes side, as typified by Pat the Cope Gallagher speaking in Letterkenny on Monday night, say that Irish neutrality is ""stronger now than it has ever been" and that there is "no question of it changing in any way"."

So who do we believe?


Last edited by Kate P on Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : tidying up)
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:12 pm

Who was it in Alice in Wonderland said words mean exactly what I say they mean, no more, and no less?

Neutrality is one of those words. Certainly when used by Yes supporters like FF speakers quoted in the media during the Lisbon debate. I wish they would actually tell us what they think the word means in 2008. It would dispel a lot of confusion if they did.

At the time of the second Nice referendum the Dept of Foreign Affairs briefed editors that we were putting a new element into our Constitution that referred to common defence. This new element would provide that Ireland could not partake in EU common defence, that was the message. There was a brief explanation of what common defence meant. The Dept briefing was to the effect that it was generally understood to mean a mutual defence pact. With me so far?

I think most agree that a mutual defence pact is a pact or agreement between States that they will assist each other to defend themselves if attacked. In p.ie I have quoted the fairly short texts from the Nato treaty and the WEU treaty making that type of pact or agreement. The heart of those treaties is what is called in the trade the mutual defence clause. Article 5 in each case as it happens. Google them if you want to save time, though I quote them both in the p.ie Military angle thread as well.

Not surprisingly given the seriousness of the subject matter the Nato treaty allows each member to decide in any given situation whether and how it will assist. That does not mean that Nato is any less a military pact of course.

Fast forward to 4th December 2007 and this from Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso about the Lisbon treaty:

'It will introduce a mutual defence clause and a solidarity clause, including energy security'.

More here .

With that simple honest sentence he holed the Irish government argument about Lisbon not affecting neutrality below the waterline.

Unless someone has a definition of Irish neutrality that now incorporates membership of a military alliance. Because once the EU adds a mutual defence clause to its governing treaty that is part of what it becomes.

He also holed, incidentally, the meaning given by the DFA to the term common defence. They will have to come up with a new one fast.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:23 pm

Sigh. I'll say one thing - there are multiple sources that describe the treaty clause as a solidarity clause, including every official EU document, all the UK analyses, and every other analysis and guide I've seen whose first language is English. Yet I am asked to believe that it is "really" a mutual defence clause that blows a huge hole in the neutrality of 4 EU countries, and an equally huge hole in the existing NATO mutual-defence committments of 19 others, on the basis of a single document, a very loose reading of the clauses, and the word of PANA.

Really not buying the claim that this is the one "honest" source. In particular, you've been claiming this since well before this document came to light, on the basis of reading one sentence of the article and ignoring the others.

I appreciate you're simply not going to shift, because you deeply want to make this particular piece of mud stick - but let's actually discuss what Irish neutrality means, eh, instead of flogging this line on every discussion that touches the subject in any conceivable way?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:26 pm

You are the one who is not shifting in the face of the evidence ibis. And do you still really not know the solidarity clause and the mutual defence clause are two different clauses?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:30 pm

Aren't the solidarity pact and the mutual defence clause two different things, ibis? (where's the 'confused' smiley when I want it?)
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:31 pm

Helium Three wrote:
You are the one who is not shifting in the face of the evidence ibis. And do you still really not know the solidarity clause and the mutual defence clause are two different clauses?

You're offering a single piece of evidence. All the other evidence points the other way. That the one piece of evidence you're offering points the way you want does not actually add to its weight in any way.

If you have some new evidence, or a new "interpretation" of some other clause in the Treaty, put it on the stall and let's have a look. Otherwise, this bids fair to be a reprise of our p.ie threads.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:33 pm

Kate P wrote:
Aren't the solidarity pact and the mutual defence clause two different things, ibis? (where's the 'confused' smiley when I want it?)

I couldn't say, because there isn't a mutual defence clause. I will have to wait and be told what clauses are what.


Last edited by ibis on Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:35 pm

Is the Article I referred to above the one generally considered to be the mutual defence clause?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:37 pm

Kate P wrote:
Is the Article I referred to above the one generally considered to be the mutual defence clause?

Well, He3 was originally flogging Article 28 as the mutual defence clause. Has the excitement moved elsewhere?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:45 pm

Thanks for that H3, I had been about to ask for that quote. It seems that there are several different No campaigns. One is the group in favour of neutrality (political or religious reasons). The other is a group (US inclined) against a militarily strong Europe but not neutral - I would like to ask this group are they in favour of removing NATO/US bases and missiles from Europe.
'No' voters include deeply conservative people who oppose social change implicit in the EU model. They also include people who see the EU as a capitalist bloc controlled by an undemocratic elite. The Boston and Brussels choice is a subtext to the referendum.
The choice could appear to be between an EU bristling with arms and engaged in securing global resources - prototype Chad EUFOR -
and being squeezed to the pips between China and the US.
I thought the FG letter to the Times on Libertas was a surprising lurch towards Brussels - what exactly did it mean?

The alternative agenda would be not to go along with this, to oppose the Lisbon Treaty and to work towards transnational opposition to resource wars and global mugging.


Last edited by cactus flower on Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammmmer - splening)
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:52 pm

ibis wrote:
Kate P wrote:
Is the Article I referred to above the one generally considered to be the mutual defence clause?

Well, He3 was originally flogging Article 28 as the mutual defence clause. Has the excitement moved elsewhere?

Isn't the one I referred to in the OP Article 28? I assume that's the same one that He3 is referring to.

What term would you put on what is proposed by Article 28 as mentioned above?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:55 pm

Kate P wrote:
ibis wrote:
Kate P wrote:
Is the Article I referred to above the one generally considered to be the mutual defence clause?

Well, He3 was originally flogging Article 28 as the mutual defence clause. Has the excitement moved elsewhere?

Isn't the one I referred to in the OP Article 28? I assume that's the same one that He3 is referring to.

What term would you put on what is proposed by Article 28 as mentioned above?

"Mutual assistance". I've pointed out elsewhere that it could include mutual defence, but only for those countries that aren't neutral or in NATO - which leaves us, I think, with Cyprus and Malta.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:14 pm

Anyone here old enough to remember how they described the initial contingents of US soldiers sent by Kennedy to Viet Nam?

Advisers.

ibis - You are splitting a hair so fine that it is non-existent. I do not think that the CERN collider experiment would make it visible for a nanosecond. Even such a renowned diplomat as Barroso does not see it. I prefer his judgment, not just because it happens to agree with mine (and with the EU presidency, and with the others I have listed for you elsewhere and which you now profess no knowledge of) but because I have a fix on where he is coming from.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:30 pm

Helium Three wrote:
Anyone here old enough to remember how they described the initial contingents of US soldiers sent by Kennedy to Viet Nam?

Advisers.

ibis - You are splitting a hair so fine that it is non-existent. I do not think that the CERN collider experiment would make it visible for a nanosecond. Even such a renowned diplomat as Barroso does not see it. I prefer his judgment, not just because it happens to agree with mine (and with the EU presidency, and with the others I have listed for you elsewhere and which you now profess no knowledge of) but because I have a fix on where he is coming from.

Pointing out that the article contains no reference to military force, and that there are only two countries who are neither neutral nor in NATO, and are therefore the maximum possible extent of your 'mutual defence pact'...splitting hairs? I see...I do not think this term means what you think it means.

The point about advisers, however, is interesting.


Last edited by ibis on Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:33 pm

they keep saying we won't do nothing much miltarily even if other european countries do, but should we be in a organisation that would do shit
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:36 pm

lostexpectation wrote:
they keep saying we won't do nothing much miltarily even if other european countries do, but should we be in a organisation that would do shit

From one perspective, we already are.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:51 pm

well thats what im saying, its like people keep saying the uk troops in basra are not involved in the fight, of course they fucking are, somehow limited incursion by planes in turkey is not an invasion, and we're just peacekeeping,we're just refueling, pols keep raising the standard for what involves military engagement, strange in the 21st century
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:47 pm

Be fair - you can't do peacekeeping unarmed. Well, unless you enjoy being taken hostage.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:01 am

I half started a reference to Tom Clonan earlier and never finished it. The point was this. His claim about a Yes vote 'guaranteeing' our veto on a common defence is weird and entirely misleading as presented in my opinion.

We already have that ability. We do not need to vote Yes to secure it.

On the contrary a Yes vote moves common defence up the stage from something that we agreed 'might' happen (under the present treaty) to something we say 'will' happen (under the new wording in Lisbon).
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:19 am

Helium Three wrote:
I half started a reference to Tom Clonan earlier and never finished it. The point was this. His claim about a Yes vote 'guaranteeing' our veto on a common defence is weird and entirely misleading as presented in my opinion.

We already have that ability. We do not need to vote Yes to secure it.

On the contrary a Yes vote moves common defence up the stage from something that we agreed 'might' happen (under the present treaty) to something we say 'will' happen (under the new wording in Lisbon).

As you say, the Treaty certainly introduces no new veto in that area...however, the Treaty can certainly be said to "guarantee" it in the sense that the veto is retained, which I think is a perfectly fair use of the word - particularly given the claims that Lisbon sucks us into a common defence straight away.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:48 am

I'm glad they've begun asking riddles.--I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud.

`Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare.

`Exactly so,' said Alice.

`Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.

`I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.'

`Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. `You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!'

`You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, `that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!'

`You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, `that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!'

`It IS the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much. http://intranet.dalton.org/ms/alice/37.html

The Lisbon Tea Party is making me feel all strange alien.

Perhaps because the debate over the wording of the Treaty doesn't take on its full meaning without keeping in mind the context of "the end of the 60 year boom", of Chad, of Turkey, of Kosovo, of the new Franco - British alignment, the additional French troops being sent to Afghanistan, the Shannon stopover, the US moves to bring the Ukraine into NATO, the horrible imbalance between the US's growing economic vulnerability and its military dominance. Maybe throw in the end of oil and climate change as well. One thing about Libertas, they might to me be on the wrong side, but they do recognise the wide geopolitical implications of the Treaty.

When the vote is over, the wording, whether we voted for it or not, is not what will decide what happens.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:57 am

Quote :
When the vote is over, the wording, whether we voted for it or not, is not what will decide what happens.

If that were really the case there would be no need whatsoever for new treaties!
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:00 am

Straight talking from Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Dermot Donnelly, in a letter in the IT today -

Madam, - Your Security Analyst, Tom Clonan, writes (March 27th) that if we vote Yes to the Lisbon Treaty that it "would guarantee Ireland's ability to veto any future common defence concept - or indeed any EU military mission or operation that Ireland deemed inappropriate".
Does he expect a country that allowed its airports to be used to prosecute an illegal invasion of another country and that continues to let its facilities be used for the rendition of kidnapped prisoners for torture to stand up to the rest of Europe?

Surely he is aware that that would require a government with a strong moral sense.

Even more worryingly, Dr Clonan goes on to state that a Yes vote will "commit the EU to considering a wider suite of options than has been stated in previous treaties and summits. This would in theory allow the EU to take robust and rapid action independent of Nato and the US to combat threats of genocide, terrorism or criminality within its sphere of influence".

Note the use of the word "threat" and the omission of any UN mandate for these "robust and rapid actions".

Dr Clonan should know from his military studies that engaging in such action is illegal. No country may go to war without UN approval except in the case outlined by Article 51 of the UN Charter. It states that:
"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security."

At the Nuremberg trials, the principles of international law identified by the tribunal and subsequently accepted unanimously by the General Assembly of the United Nations stated "that to initiate a war of aggression. . . is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime".

Let there be no doubt that there is every willingness on the part of the vast majority of EU states to engage in such crimes, although they will be dressed up as "humanitarian interventions".
Voting Yes will further facilitate these types of crimes. - Yours, etc,
DERMOT DONNELLY, Lieut Col (Retd), Balbriggan, Co Dublin.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:09 am

Quote :
Let there be no doubt that there is every willingness on the part of
the vast majority of EU states to engage in such crimes, although they
will be dressed up as "humanitarian interventions".
Voting Yes will further facilitate these types of crimes.

Hmm. If nothing in the Treaty allows the EU to act illegally, then the Treaty will certainly not facilitate these crimes, which will remain just as illegal as currently.

Can someone perhaps point to the clause in the Treaty that will allow the EU to ignore legality in order to undertake a war of aggression?

I fear the good Lieut Col is very confused, although he is quite correct on the supineness of the Irish government with respect to the US. Oddly, amongst those who have stood up to the US on the matter is the much-maligned EP.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:23 am

But of course. They would never start an illegal war unless there was a clause in Lisbon allowing them to! Why did I not think of that? How about something like: ''You may start an illegal war if you really want to? Just try to end it by Christmas.'' Would that do the trick?
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