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 Lisbon and Neutrality

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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Mon May 26, 2008 10:29 pm

Kate P wrote:
Forget Lisbon for a minute and just consider what kind of pathetic neutrality that is, that we simply don't get involved in military pacts. And then try to marry that with the agreement we have that allows thousands of American soldiers to land in Shannon. It seems rather inconsistent.

I don't feel that we have had any kind of genuine discussion in this country of the real nature of our neutrality, its implications and our international obligations and responsibilities and the practical framework within which any defensive action would be taken. I don't think Lisbon is clear enough on that either - with language lifted from NATO and an homage to the UN.

While I'm grateful for Cowen's succint definition of Irish neutrality, permit me at least to feel underwhelmed by its implications.

I know where you're coming from, but it's actually quite close to the approach of the non-aligned movement members who also avoided military pacts but foundered to some degree in the 1970s over Afghanistan where different countries took different sides. And a huge problem was that members of the NAM included Cuba (very clearly part of the Soviet sphere). So non-alignment is however difficult to achieve a genuine stance (and one that shades into neutrality as well). I'd only add that I think there are no clean hands in international relations, part of the spin-off of having to deal with whoever.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Mon May 26, 2008 10:49 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:

In fairness, that is because Shannon has everything to do with neutrality but the Treaty opposition would have to agree that the EU was more neutral than Ireland. It was EU citizens which opposed the war and the EU (Parliament?) which carried out extensive investigations into extraordinary renditions, including having a dig at Ireland. It would not suit the people opposing the Treaty to drag this up.


i don't think that's the problem, as i said i havn't heard the yes politicians bring it up but i have heard the no politicians bring it up.

well as we know the eu is just a gathering countries and the countries even the socialist governments and at the eu at eu wide meetings agreed to rendition etc
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Mon May 26, 2008 10:57 pm

WorldbyStorm wrote:
Kate P wrote:
Forget Lisbon for a minute and just consider what kind of pathetic neutrality that is, that we simply don't get involved in military pacts. And then try to marry that with the agreement we have that allows thousands of American soldiers to land in Shannon. It seems rather inconsistent.

I don't feel that we have had any kind of genuine discussion in this country of the real nature of our neutrality, its implications and our international obligations and responsibilities and the practical framework within which any defensive action would be taken. I don't think Lisbon is clear enough on that either - with language lifted from NATO and an homage to the UN.

While I'm grateful for Cowen's succint definition of Irish neutrality, permit me at least to feel underwhelmed by its implications.

I know where you're coming from, but it's actually quite close to the approach of the non-aligned movement members who also avoided military pacts but foundered to some degree in the 1970s over Afghanistan where different countries took different sides. And a huge problem was that members of the NAM included Cuba (very clearly part of the Soviet sphere). So non-alignment is however difficult to achieve a genuine stance (and one that shades into neutrality as well). I'd only add that I think there are no clean hands in international relations, part of the spin-off of having to deal with whoever.

Sure. We talk to China. If that doesn't get your hands dirty, what does?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Mon May 26, 2008 11:21 pm

ibis wrote:
WorldbyStorm wrote:
Kate P wrote:
Forget Lisbon for a minute and just consider what kind of pathetic neutrality that is, that we simply don't get involved in military pacts. And then try to marry that with the agreement we have that allows thousands of American soldiers to land in Shannon. It seems rather inconsistent.

I don't feel that we have had any kind of genuine discussion in this country of the real nature of our neutrality, its implications and our international obligations and responsibilities and the practical framework within which any defensive action would be taken. I don't think Lisbon is clear enough on that either - with language lifted from NATO and an homage to the UN.

While I'm grateful for Cowen's succint definition of Irish neutrality, permit me at least to feel underwhelmed by its implications.

I know where you're coming from, but it's actually quite close to the approach of the non-aligned movement members who also avoided military pacts but foundered to some degree in the 1970s over Afghanistan where different countries took different sides. And a huge problem was that members of the NAM included Cuba (very clearly part of the Soviet sphere). So non-alignment is however difficult to achieve a genuine stance (and one that shades into neutrality as well). I'd only add that I think there are no clean hands in international relations, part of the spin-off of having to deal with whoever.

Sure. We talk to China. If that doesn't get your hands dirty, what does?

Not only, but also... Saudi... I think in an interconnected world those sort of paradoxes will be thrown up all the time. Granted we don't sell arms to these people, but we trade with them which on one reckoning is actually worse for assisting regimes. Problem is, how exactly does one deal ethically with such instances, or.. as in the Saudi case do anything to ameliorate the internal situation?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Mon May 26, 2008 11:27 pm

WorldbyStorm wrote:


Not only, but also... Saudi... I think in an interconnected world those sort of paradoxes will be thrown up all the time. Granted we don't sell arms to these people, but we trade with them which on one reckoning is actually worse for assisting regimes. Problem is, how exactly does one deal ethically with such instances, or.. as in the Saudi case do anything to ameliorate the internal situation?

At the same time, we can't be inveterate moralisers, too busy wringing our hands instead of grabbing hold of major political and economic opportunities out there.

We should look to our own self-interest, see how that is furthered and enhanced in international engagements, and pursue it.

Trade is actually a great thing, and the more of it which occurs, the more peaceful the world will be. If we are busy buying and selling goods from each other, we are less likely to fight and bomb each other.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Mon May 26, 2008 11:33 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Trade is actually a great thing, and the more of it which occurs, the more peaceful the world will be. If we are busy buying and selling goods from each other, we are less likely to fight and bomb each other.

Pretty much the basis for the EU.


Last edited by ibis on Tue May 27, 2008 12:57 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Edited for clarity!)
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 12:05 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
WorldbyStorm wrote:


Not only, but also... Saudi... I think in an interconnected world those sort of paradoxes will be thrown up all the time. Granted we don't sell arms to these people, but we trade with them which on one reckoning is actually worse for assisting regimes. Problem is, how exactly does one deal ethically with such instances, or.. as in the Saudi case do anything to ameliorate the internal situation?

At the same time, we can't be inveterate moralisers, too busy wringing our hands instead of grabbing hold of major political and economic opportunities out there.

We should look to our own self-interest, see how that is furthered and enhanced in international engagements, and pursue it.

Trade is actually a great thing, and the more of it which occurs, the more peaceful the world will be. If we are busy buying and selling goods from each other, we are less likely to fight and bomb each other.

There is an enormous gap between the inveterate moralisers - of which I would venture to suggest there are relatively few - and those who are lustily grabbing hold of political and economic opportunities out there. Infact I'd say there's a large contingent somewhere in the middle who are victims of the latter and are wondering where the former have disappeared to.

Trade is of itself entirely ambivalent but in reality it's a political tool - which is why it often comes with sanctions, labour issues and tariffs attached, or not. Maybe that's a debate for another thread.

I think that in saying that while we are busy consuming and trading we are less likely to be bombing each other, you're really just pointing out the grander scale of what we've seen with the Celtic Tiger in this country; in a foetor of aquisitiveness we think very little of anybody else.

Worldbystorm is right
Quote :
Not only, but also... Saudi... I think in an interconnected world those sort of paradoxes will be thrown up all the time. Granted we don't sell arms to these people, but we trade with them which on one reckoning is actually worse for assisting regimes. Problem is, how exactly does one deal ethically with such instances, or.. as in the Saudi case do anything to ameliorate the internal situation?


I don't know how we as individuals can have much control or say in how we as a nation deal ethically with unsatisfactory regimes (though I have untold admiration for an employee at Dunnes Stores who, in refusing to handle South African oranges held the trading nations of the world up to shame). I'm sure if there was a convenient solution, far greater minds than mine would have thought of it already.

When we call ourselves a neutral country and redefine neutrality to suit our particularly Irish brand of looking "to our own self-interest, see how that is furthered and enhanced in international engagements, and pursue it," to quote AT out of context, then I find myself more than a little ashamed and embarrassed.

I'm not happy that Lisbon gives the green light to enhanced co-operation, I'm not happy that European tax dollars are going into the progressive improvement of national militaries for purposes which, despite numerous requests have not been clearly defined. I'm not happy that this amorphous mess that is Irish neutrality is being hijacked by both sides of the Lisbon campaign for their own ends. I don't trust Britain in particular in the light of the travesty that has been the invasion of Iraq and I am not happy to sign my name to a document that would allow the nations of Europe to conceivably engage in a similar activity under a European banner. I don't have a better solution, but that doesn't mean I have to sign up to this one.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 12:14 am

Well said, Kate P.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 11:58 am

Kate P, can you think of a statement of Ireland's neutrality that would in broad terms satisfy you?


The untramelled "morals" based foreign policy of the USA is malleable uncontrolled and dangerous. To my mind, the aspirations towards non-violent resolutions by arbitration and an adherence to international law, as already contained in our constitution, is the best statement there is. I do not see how one can aspire to uphold international law if one does not have the means to do so.

Perhaps the core problem with our commitment to international law is the disproportionate power held by the Security Council members.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 12:29 pm

Ireland is so small that its contribution to international military actions is not likely to be more than symbolic. We have 7 soldiers in Afghanistan, for example. The symbolism can be very important though and I think the current trend (with or without the Treaty) is towards a situation where we will no longer be able to credibly present ourselves as neutral.

I have great admiration for people who take a stand for peace, but pacificism and neutrality aren't identical.
Ireland up to the present seems to me to have quite successfully clothed itself in a mist of deliberate confusion on this issue, doing a delicate balancing act of being all things to all people - cooperative partner to the US and EU and neutral, peacekeeping opponent of colonialism to the rest of the world. It is an expression of our survival needs in a position of vulnerability.

I agree with you Zhou about the Security Council. The "Cold War" provided some balance, but now a "UN action" is almost synonymous with a US action.

Some people seem to consider that if the UN has permitted an action/invasion then participation in it is not a breach of neutrality. Under the circumstances of the Security Council power structure, that would progressively dilute the meaning of the word to nothing.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 1:25 pm

In fairness to the UN, I think it refused to sanction the invasion of Iraq. Nor did it sanction action in Bosnia.

On a more interesting note, I understand that Irish soldiers who served in Kosovo were bestowed with and accepted medals from NATO.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 5:18 pm

in fairness to the un, they are now used to justify what the us/uk and the rest did before the un post-santcion the invasion.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 6:19 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
In fairness to the UN, I think it refused to sanction the invasion of Iraq. Nor did it sanction action in Bosnia.

On a more interesting note, I understand that Irish soldiers who served in Kosovo were bestowed with and accepted medals from NATO.

The Afghanistan action was NATO sponsored.

I would love some more clarity on the UN's role in relation to military operations. I am not clear what a UN mandate is exactly - I have the impression that there are different levels of UN "approval". Then there are UN peacekeepers (don't seem to hear of them so much these days) and UN mandated? approved? forces like EUFOR.
Is this worth a thread of its own?
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 6:44 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
In fairness to the UN, I think it refused to sanction the invasion of Iraq. Nor did it sanction action in Bosnia.

On a more interesting note, I understand that Irish soldiers who served in Kosovo were bestowed with and accepted medals from NATO.

The Afghanistan action was NATO sponsored.

I would love some more clarity on the UN's role in relation to military operations. I am not clear what a UN mandate is exactly - I have the impression that there are different levels of UN "approval". Then there are UN peacekeepers (don't seem to hear of them so much these days) and UN mandated? approved? forces like EUFOR.
Is this worth a thread of its own?

Part of a series entitled "Acronymic International Organisations - EU, UN, WTO, WEU, NATO, WTF?".
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 6:51 pm

ibis wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
In fairness to the UN, I think it refused to sanction the invasion of Iraq. Nor did it sanction action in Bosnia.

On a more interesting note, I understand that Irish soldiers who served in Kosovo were bestowed with and accepted medals from NATO.

The Afghanistan action was NATO sponsored.

I would love some more clarity on the UN's role in relation to military operations. I am not clear what a UN mandate is exactly - I have the impression that there are different levels of UN "approval". Then there are UN peacekeepers (don't seem to hear of them so much these days) and UN mandated? approved? forces like EUFOR.
Is this worth a thread of its own?

Part of a series entitled "Acronymic International Organisations - EU, UN, WTO, WEU, NATO, WTF?".

and EUFOR, KOFOR, PfP and what exactly is IBIS an acronym for? Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 7:38 pm



Thoth, the ibis-headed Egyptian God of Wisdom.
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Tue May 27, 2008 8:36 pm

Some smart alecs here would have a different word to describe that creature
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PostSubject: Re: Lisbon and Neutrality   Wed May 28, 2008 8:28 pm

the eu backers of rendition http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/regions/europe-and-central-asia

vs a few socialist mep trying to track down stuff that happened years ago.

clearly the eu is not a force for good when it comes to rendition

http://www.statewatch.org/news/2005/dec/05eu-usa-flights.htm
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