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 Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?

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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 12:22 pm

jmcc wrote:
ibis wrote:
Well, apart from searching Cuba-bound Russian planes, I'm
not aware of any pressure for us to abandon our neutrality during the Cold War.
We stopped being neutral as soon as the Soviets detonated their first atomic bomb. The Soviets would never have respected neutrality anyway. And as for neutrality in WW2, while we may
not have been declared combatants, we certainly were involved.

Essentially on paper Ireland was neutral during the Cold War. But in terms of what was going on here and the critical position of Ireland, there was no real neutrality. Did it ever occur to anyone just who would need an airport
in the back of beyond in the West? And as for Shannon. Smile

Regards...jmcc

I beg your pardon jmcc ? It is the US that has dropped nuclear weapons on human populations, both at the end of the Second World War, and with depleted uranium weapons in the middle east.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 1:29 pm

cactus flower wrote:
I beg your pardon jmcc ? It is the US that has
dropped nuclear weapons on human populations, both at the end of the
Second World War, and with depleted uranium weapons in the middle
east.
The Soviets only 'tested' their bombs by detonating them.
Smile The argument about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks were that they
convinced the Japanese to surrender and thus saved potentially a
million Allied lives that would have been lost during the invasion of
Japan. However there are others that claim that the Japanese had made
surrender overtures and the attacks were a demonstration of power to
the Soviets. The scary thing is that most people still don't realise
how close the Cold War came to going hot.

Regards...jmcc
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 1:33 pm

Hi jmcc. Did you see the Channel 4 programme about the Abel Archer exercise in 1983 - without some guy I think called Igor who is now on the dole in Moscow, and who refused to press the button, we wouldn't be sitting here today.
It looked very much like the US was preparing a first strike until Reagan saw a drama doc that showed him what nuclear war would do.

If we were to be consistently neutral, we would have to be neutral irrespective of what any other parties were up to. So I don't really think what the US or USSR were doing affect the arguments really.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 1:46 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Hi jmcc. Did you see the Channel 4 programme
about the Abel Archer exercise in 1983 - without some guy I think
called Igor who is now on the dole in Moscow, and who refused to press
the button, we wouldn't be sitting here today.
Yep.

Quote :
It looked very much like the US was preparing a first strike
until Reagan saw a drama doc that showed him what nuclear war would
do.
Not exactly. The Soviet leadership were off their heads on
drugs and had become seriously paranoid about a first strike. They
thought that Able Archer, an exercise that was held every year I think,
was a cover for for an attack on the Warsaw Pact. The drama was 'The
Day After'. The UK had 'Threads'. From what I remember, the Soviets had
chemical and biological weaponry as a key part of their strategy.

Quote :
If
we were to be consistently neutral, we would have to be neutral
irrespective of what any other parties were up to. So I don't really
think what the US or USSR were doing affect the arguments
really.
There is an apt quote from Trotsky : "You may not be
interested in war, but war is interested in you." In a nuclear
conflict, there is no such thing as neutrality and Ireland's position
would have meant that it was going to be attacked if only to deny it to
NATO.

Regards...jmcc
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 2:08 pm

Able Archer was not annual and the European Nato leaders were so concerned about the security risks of how it was being operated that they pulled out of the ultimate stage leaving Reagan flying off the the east with a briefcase chained to this wrist.

I haven't got my mind on to whether it is right or wrong for Ireland to be neutral yet, I am only trying to clarify if we are technically and officially neutral (if such a status exists). The issues of what would or wouldn't happen to us in nuclear war between the major powers is a very interesting one, and maybe you might like to start a thread on it, but I don't think it is material to whether Ireland is or is not neutral in the here and now.

Are you saying that we are not neutral because we have aligned ourselves since the Cold War with the US ? and that Shannon was developed as a US base?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 2:43 pm

cactus flower wrote:
I haven't got my mind on to whether it is right
or wrong for Ireland to be neutral yet, I am only trying to clarify if
we are technically and officially neutral (if such a status
exists).
Theoretically neutral would probably be closer to the
truth. A Soviet attack would have hit West Germany first and therefore
we would have been dragged in through our ties with the EU.

Quote :
The issues of what would or wouldn't happen to us in nuclear war
between the major powers is a very interesting one, and maybe you might
like to start a thread on it, but I don't think it is material to
whether Ireland is or is not neutral in the here and now.
Too
many bad memories of a future that luckily never was. Smile

Quote :
Are
you saying that we are not neutral because we have aligned ourselves
since the Cold War with the US ? and that Shannon was developed as a US
base?
Well that airport in Knock would also have been
extremely useful from a GIUK point of view.

Regards...jmcc
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 3:01 pm

Meh. We are neutral, by virtue of being a recognised neutral. The issue is that people think that means a whole load of things that it doesn't. It doesn't require political neutrality, it doesn't require the total avoidance of combat situations, it doesn't require us to deny the US the use of Shannon, and it doesn't require us never to engage in combat alongside other armed forces.

How do we know that this is the case? Because we're not politically neutral, we don't avoid all combat situations, we do let the US (and everyone else) use Shannon, and we engage in combat alongside other armed forces - but we're a recognised neutral. We're part of the definition.

There are only 8 currently recognised neutral countries - us, Austria, Costa Rica, Finland, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkmenistan.

When someone says "oh, we're not really neutral", all they actually mean is "we're doing something that doesn't fit with my definition" - which is an entirely irrelevant point as long as we're a recognised neutral.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 3:09 pm

cactus flower wrote:

The issues of what would or wouldn't happen to us in nuclear war between the major powers is a very interesting one...
Wasn't there an idea in Germany that South-West Ireland was the safest place to go in the event of a nucleur war? Because of the prevailing winds I think. This was before Shannon was an issue. This may be an urban myth.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 3:10 pm

if we're neutral by defintion of how other countries recongise us, well the other countires are only pretending that we are neutral too (cos it suits em), and by their defintion (because by any defintion) were not _neutral_.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 3:51 pm

lostexpectation wrote:
if we're neutral by defintion of how other countries recongise us, well the other countires are only pretending that we are neutral too (cos it suits em), and by their defintion (because by any defintion) were not _neutral_.

Neutral isn't a measurable physical quality, but a status accorded by the international community. If the international community stops recognising us as neutral, we're no longer neutral. There's no difference between the international community 'pretending' we're neutral and recognising us as neutral - they're the same thing.

So by the only definitions that have any weight, we're neutral. You may feel we're not entitled to that status, but that simply reflects your personal definition of neutrality.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Tue May 20, 2008 4:04 pm

905 wrote:
cactus flower wrote:

The issues of what would or wouldn't happen to us in nuclear war between the major powers is a very interesting one...
Wasn't there an idea in Germany that South-West Ireland was the safest place to go in the event of a nucleur war? Because of the prevailing winds I think. This was before Shannon was an issue. This may be an urban myth.

There is a high concentration of germans in the West Kerry Gaeltachtaí for that very reason.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 11:48 am

ibis wrote:
lostexpectation wrote:
if we're neutral by defintion of how other countries recongise us, well the other countires are only pretending that we are neutral too (cos it suits em), and by their defintion (because by any defintion) were not _neutral_.

Neutral isn't a measurable physical quality, but a status accorded by the international community. If the international community stops recognising us as neutral, we're no longer neutral. There's no difference between the international community 'pretending' we're neutral and recognising us as neutral - they're the same thing.

So by the only definitions that have any weight, we're neutral. You may feel we're not entitled to that status, but that simply reflects your personal definition of neutrality.


of course it makes a difference, people have minds they think, they say one thing and think another.

you accepted that our neutraility was under constent review and pressure during ww2 and the cold war, as it is now.

earlier you accepted that our politicians give one impressive of irish neutrailty of spreading pixie fairy peace dust across the word ,whiile carrying out other contrary policies, rare statements that show there real thoughs on the issue, that are neutrailty is a farce why can't other countries have hte same multi-level recognition of the facts.

wearing a green football shirt while in danger areas will work less and less.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 12:07 pm

lostexpectation wrote:
ibis wrote:
lostexpectation wrote:
if we're neutral by defintion of how other countries recongise us, well the other countires are only pretending that we are neutral too (cos it suits em), and by their defintion (because by any defintion) were not _neutral_.

Neutral isn't a measurable physical quality, but a status accorded by the international community. If the international community stops recognising us as neutral, we're no longer neutral. There's no difference between the international community 'pretending' we're neutral and recognising us as neutral - they're the same thing.

So by the only definitions that have any weight, we're neutral. You may feel we're not entitled to that status, but that simply reflects your personal definition of neutrality.


of course it makes a difference, people have minds they think, they say one thing and think another.

you accepted that our neutraility was under constent review and pressure during ww2 and the cold war, as it is now.

Er, no, I didn't. I pointed to the only example of pressure that I know of.

lostexpectation wrote:
earlier you accepted that our politicians give one impressive of irish neutrailty of spreading pixie fairy peace dust across the word ,whiile carrying out other contrary policies, rare statements that show there real thoughs on the issue, that are neutrailty is a farce why can't other countries have hte same multi-level recognition of the facts.

wearing a green football shirt while in danger areas will work less and less.

Because our neutrality is not a 'farce', unless you happen to have a definition of neutrality that doesn't match what we actually do. Our particular style of neutrality is the same as it has been all along - we were politically aligned with the Allies in WW2, the West in the Cold War, and now with the EU. We've allowed foreign powers to use Shannon since we built it. We've taken part in peacekeeping under UN auspices for decades. All of these things are therefore part of our neutrality - not Switzerland's, or any other nation's.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 12:35 pm

I don't agree with the idea that Ireland is neutral because others say we are. Others did not propose or initiate Ireland's neutrality policy.

A neutral with regard to conflict is not some amorphous and vaguely defined entity. On the other hand Ireland's declared neutrality is.

The Hague Convention defines neutrality and the Geneva Conventions which in effect supercede the Hague Convention define neutrality. The fact that Ireland as a declared neutral is in violation of these definitions is not an excuse to suggest that neutrality is poorly defined, it is reason to suggest that Ireland's declared neutrality is a farce and an example of hypocrisy of the highest order. There are many countries that exhibit practices other than those enshrined in international law with regard to neutrality, however the majority do not violate and weaken the international definition. Whilst it is true to say that Ireland is and was not a signatory to the Hague Convention, Ireland is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, and they specify very succinctly how a neutral should act with regard to conflict.

Just because airports like the one at Shannon have always been used, to one degree or another, to profiteer from conflict, is absolutely no excuse to continue this practice into the future. No more than the fact that murder has always been happening is any reason to condone it.

Ireland's decalred neutrality and practice of same has not been consistent, regardless as to the uses that the likes of Shannon airport has been put to. DeValera at least recognised that a neutral could not be used as a staging point or a base for a foreign belligerent.


Last edited by Hermes on Wed May 21, 2008 1:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 1:04 pm

Declaring neutrality is another way of saying 'I'm not getting involved - nothing to do with me Jack'

Which is a despicable position to hold IYAM.

We don't have to be declared or perceived neutral to promote peace and reconcilement.

Neither do we have to be overly militarily active.

We should state an opinion on military conflicts, border conflicts, human rights conflicts etc.

This neutrality hang-up is just denying us a voice in world affairs.

I think we should join the UN Security Council and be done with it.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 1:25 pm

I was wondering when the topic would turn to the second question posed: "And should we be neutral?"

EVM wrote:
Declaring neutrality is another way of saying 'I'm not getting involved - nothing to do with me Jack'

I'd agree with you 100% if you mean that this is the implied reasoning behind Ireland's declared neutrality. Neutrality itself is very necessary. There are two main arguments for neutrality. The first is the noble one, a neutral country can facilitate peace negotiations and encourage them without prejudicing any of the belligerents. Secondly, a neutral protects itself from an attack from a party to a conflict, by not lending aid in any way to any party. Ireland's neutrality facilitates neither of these two aims.

Ireland's neutrality is all about control. We can support any particular conflict in any fashion we desire thanks to our neutrality policy. If we had to back up our policy by deploying Irish troops, the proverbial shite would hit the fan. For example: if Ireland had declared an intention to send troops to Iraq to butcher men, women and children, already softened up by more than a decade of genocidal sanctions, our government would have been brought to its knees, instantly. Even if we had deployed troops to this invasion and occupation, the first flag-draped Irish coffin would have ended our involvement. That's the purpose of our neutrality, to prevent such a thing - i.e. having to back up our opinions with acts and bodies.

I believe, even though we are a small country and such a belief would be problematic to implement, that we should not be a neutral. Sending our kids to die would have a way of shaping opinion on foreign conflict, that our current policies both misrepresent and propagandize.

A national example of: shit or get off the pot.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 1:58 pm

absolutely - damn the Yanks for ending our trade in subsidised beef to Saddam Hussein.

Middle Eastern Dictatorships and Despots love Irish Beef - we dont ask any questions because we're neutral - just show us the money and if you do something really bad ,like gassing your own people - dont worry because all we'll do is have a big march up O'Connell street and give out like feck about the nasty people who might try and stop you.

Down with fighting for Democracy - up with Irish Beef!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 2:07 pm

Didn't we get shafted with regard to that beef money? Twisted Evil
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 2:13 pm

Hermes wrote:
Didn't we get shafted with regard to that beef money? Twisted Evil

Yep - we the taxpayer got the bill and Larry Goodman made off like a Bandit with the taxpayers money and probably a little something from Saddam in his backpocket.

Well standard modus-operandi for the FF establishment in this country when you think about it - only its property developers not Beef barons who are in the limelight now.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 2:16 pm

Edo wrote:
Yep - we the taxpayer got the bill and Larry Goodman made off like a
Bandit with the taxpayers money and probably a little something from
Saddam in his backpocket.

Well standard modus-operandi for the
FF establishment in this country when you think about it - only its
property developers not Beef barons who are in the limelight now.

Hear hear!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 3:07 pm

our position is we're not getting involved.... officially *wink wink*

and all the others countries are *nudge nudge*


Last edited by lostexpectation on Wed May 21, 2008 3:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 3:12 pm

Sounds like we're having your cake and eating it. Hypocrisy is hardly unique to Ireland, not that that neccessarily makes it right though.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 3:56 pm

905 wrote:
Sounds like we're having your cake and eating it. Hypocrisy is hardly unique to Ireland, not that that neccessarily makes it right though.

It doesn't - and Hermes is quite correct that a case that Ireland is in breach of Article 2 of the Hague Convention on the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers would probably succeed. The use of Shannon by the US in respect, particularly, of the Iraq war and occupation would seem to be in breach of our de jure status as a neutral.

However, that doesn't change our de facto recognition as a neutral - and of the two, that's the important one as far as being regarded as a neutral goes.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 4:02 pm

The Hague Convention piece sounds like what cactus flower was after. Do you think our de facto status helps Ireland or hinders, leaving out the morals of the situation for a moment.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ireland a Neutral Country? And should we be Neutral?   Wed May 21, 2008 4:21 pm

that a case that Ireland is in breach of Article 2 of the Hague Convention on the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers would probably succeed

was that not the what the horgan case was about who said it was only aspirational, isn't that what we're all talking about?


so when do we,when could we breach our neutrality?
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