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Ukraine has silenced Ireland’s ‘Tankies’ Anti-war activists are starting to panic

Putin's far-Left fan club. Credit: Gerry Mooney

Putin's far-Left fan club. Credit: Gerry Mooney


November 21, 2022   6 mins

The 52 Irish politicians who found themselves banned from Russia last week responded with varying degrees of surprise and sarcasm. Traditionally seen as politically “soft” on Russian aggression, Ireland has been increasingly vocal in its support for Ukraine — and has been met with accusations of “fuelling Russophobic hysteria” from the Kremlin. But the sanctions, and the reaction to them, largely obscure an awkward fact: Ireland has a significant political faction that does not support Ukraine’s war efforts.

This faction was dragged into the spotlight earlier this year by the wife of Irish president Michael D. Higgins, Sabina, who wrote a letter to the Irish Times calling for peace. While Ukrainian soldiers were countering an invasion into their internationally recognised territory, with near-total support from Western countries, Higgins seemed reluctant to come down on one side: “Until the world persuades President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to agree to a ceasefire and negotiations, the long haul of terrible war will go on. How can there be any winner?”

This is a nation with a national anthem entitled “The Soldier’s Song”. Our war for independence is the most deified part of our history books. Higgins’s decision to publish the letter on the president’s official website drew criticism from many Irish politicians: Fine Gael Senator John McGahon described it as “inappropriate, unhelpful and distasteful”. Higgins was supported, though, by Yuriy Filatov, Russia’s ambassador to Ireland who commented that her views “make sense”. “She’s against war. We’re all against war,” he told the Irish Times.

Higgins was lambasted, but her views aren’t unusual: she represents a significant far-Left camp in Ireland’s politics — one that uses the vague term “anti-war” to justify defanging the Irish military and, at its extremes, acts as an incubator for authoritarian sympathisers. These far-Leftists are known as the Tankies — a term initially used to describe those who supported the use of tanks to crush opposition in occupied areas of the Soviet Union, but is now commonly used to describe those sympathetic to Left-wing authoritarian regimes. In Ireland, it’s not uncommon for the Tankies to justify the actions of dictatorships by employing a toxic mix of whataboutery and generalised condemnation of western powers.

The Tankies aren’t fringe. While the far-Left in other EU countries remain on the outskirts of politics, in Ireland it has significant political sway. Encompassing members of the European Parliament, grassroots political organisers, national politicians and even the deputy speaker of the Irish Parliament, Catherine Connolly, Ireland’s far-Left are a loud minority with senior political positions.

They therefore have the power to shape international policy. In 2017, far-Left Irish politicians and activists travelled to Syria, having obtained visas from a man working with the dictatorship of Bashar Al Assad. The group comprised of several TDs (MPs) and future MEPs, as well as Connolly, who was yet to become deputy speaker. It arrived in Damascus at the same time as a Russian delegation. At this point, relations between the Syrian regime and most European governments were frosty to say the least, and the delegation was criticised by many in Ireland.

They were right to worry. Previously, one of the delegation’s members, former TD Maureen O’Sullivan, had advocated in the parliament for the Iranian regime to act as peacekeepers in Syria, a regime that is currently embroiled in the brutal suppression of a popular protest movement. And a month after their return from Syria, the group supported a motion to lift sanctions on the nation. (“It is following a visit to Syria and a tremendous amount of research that we stand here tonight to say we do not support the sanctions,” said Connolly.) The move shocked many in parliament — as well as Syrian activists, who accused the politicians of repeating pro-regime talking points. 

Five years later, in the early days of the Ukraine war, Connolly (now deputy speaker) and several other TDs, along with activists and academics, formed The Irish Neutrality Group. Irish troops were being volunteered to train soldiers in Ukraine in skills like demining: this was part of the Tankies’ panicked response.

It was popular support for Ukraine in Ireland that caused an overdue backlash against this motley, oft-ignored group. They have peddled the narratives of authoritarian regimes in Syria, Iran and Venezuela for years, and gone unnoticed. But they made headlines when they refused to applaud Zelensky’s address in Ireland’s parliament — and after making continuous requests for him to negotiate with Russia. 

This strange standpoint is also in evidence among the Irish Left across the border. Sinn Féin decries human rights abuses at home, within Ireland’s robust democracy. But it also has an MP who in 2017, after being vetted, was invited by the government of Venezuela to participate in a fake election observation: a practice where carefully chosen politicians, activists and trade unionists are invited to countries whose elections are widely seen as undemocratic. These countries often prohibit traditional election monitoring missions in lieu of these “sympathetic” delegations. Despite widespread criticism of the 2017 elections in Venezuela, MP for Newry and Armagh Mickey Brady described them as “fair and equitable”.

Meanwhile, we have Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, Irish MEPs from the Independents for Change party — a party that does not have an accessible membership portal. Both have been invited (by the government of Nicaragua in 2021 and Venezuela in 2020) to observe elections that have excluded recognised bodies and are widely seen as fraudulent. Both MEPs previously lauded the 2021 Syrian elections. And Wallace is known for often supporting Chinese positions on human rights issues — he has downplayed the repression of Uyghurs, for instance. China being a country that doesn’t even bother to hold fake democratic elections, of course. The very same Wallace has complained about EU military support for Ukraine, arguing in 2021 that Nazis within the nation were attacking its civil society.

While a few politicians with fringe views on dictatorships is normal in most democracies, in Ireland they tend to take up a lot of public space — often presenting an image of the country overseas that does not reflect the views of the majority. We have a long history of strong leftist thought, which emerged from the country’s seemingly David and Goliath battle with the British Empire. But those people who were once so opposed to empire now appear to be cheering for the behemoth. In one strange incident, “anti-imperial”, Belfast-based activist Francis Huges was part of a small, vetted group that travelled to Ukraine in 2018 to “observe” the internationally ignored general elections in Lugansk. Russia, which has been annexing territory in Georgia and Ukraine for years, is somehow seen as a liberator, a champion of human rights.

The Tankies have also been known to disseminate Russian propaganda, playing a crucial part in the Kremlin’s disinformation war. Irish politicians from the Left were often featured on Russia Today (RT) talking about Russophobia before it was effectively banned after Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine. And then there’s Irish MEP Clare Daly, who was a member of the EU’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including disinformation. In her minority report challenging the Committee’s finding she wrote: “The inquiry was used to inflate threats of Russian and Chinese interference”.

It’s a quote that has aged poorly given the recent bragging by Russian businessman and Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin that Russia did engage in election interference in the US. “We have interfered, we are interfering and we will continue to interfere  carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way as we know how to do it.” 

As many of these politicians call for negotiations with Russia and a scaling back of military support for Ukraine, Russia is, ironically, busy testing Ireland’s defences — which, even more ironically, are comprised largely of Royal Airforce Typhoon fighter jets (a fact ignored by the anti-war Left, of course). All the anti-imperial, anti-war sentiment means that having a sufficient military is seen as a threat to Irish neutrality — and it has left the country unable to defend its citizens in an increasingly unstable Europe. Ireland relies on its former coloniser to defend its seas and skies. 

When the US army used Shannon airport to refuel during the war in Afghanistan, a large strata of Irish society objected, emphasising the nation’s role as a peacekeeper and cementing a firm position on Nato. Ireland is not a member. But this leaves the nation vulnerable. Earlier this year, Russia carried out a series of naval exercises off the coast not far from Shannon, after discovering a legal loophole that allows them to enter Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The move was described as “unwelcome” by the Irish government — which could do very little about it.

Of course, when a real threat looms over Ireland, the far-Left buries its head in the sand. But this time, the Irish population’s response to the conflict du jour is too enthusiastic, and differs too much from that of the Tankies for them to be able to claim to represent it. Throughout the country, Ukrainian flags are painted on buildings. The Irish have opened their homes to refugees. Anti-Russian sentiment prevails. And that sentiment, as the Kremlin has recognised in recent days, is now gaining political momentum. Russia’s former hideaway on the edge of Europe has become, at last, unwelcome. 


Norma Costello is an award-winning Irish journalist who has been covering Isis since 2014. 

normcos

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Lennon Ó Náraigh
L
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago

I think Paul K’s observations here are spot-on.

Ireland is a very herd-like place. The herd used to be led by the Catholic Church, and everyone outcompeted each other to be as holy as possible, if you recite one mystery of the Rosary then I recite two. Awkward people were locked away in asylums, at one point the incarceration rate of people with mental problems was the highest in the world. Unmarried mothers were locked up and their babies taken off them. We had our own Gulag Archipelago.

With the prosperity that started up in the 1990s and the drip-drip of scandals from the Catholic Church that old belief system has been upended. Woke ideology (fueled in part by the tech companies that set up their European headquarters in Dublin) has eventually filled the void left by Catholicism.

But the vectors of the ideology remain the same. The state broadcaster. The utter bland conformity of the politicians, from the Centre-Left to the Centre-Right. The education system, from the creators of the curriculum to the elite fee-paying schools (teachers’ salaries paid by the taxpayer, thank you very much). The agencies that bring in the international investment. The priesthood. Only now the priests are the NGOs. Where once a government policy could not be approved without a nod and a wink from the Archbishop of Dublin, now the nod and the wink needs to come from some well-paid CEO of an NGO.

On top of this, “official Ireland” has this cringey desire to be loved by other countries. This means we need to be “best-in-the-world” at utterly random things. A construction project to build a new national children’s hospital has gone over budget by billions because it needed to be “world class”. Gender-critical feminists will now be threatened with prison because our hate-crime laws need to be updated to be… “world class”. Gender self-ID laws were brought in because that is … “international best practice”. Sinecures and makey-uppy jobs are handed out to “right-on” failed politicians to pontificate at the UN. In a weird way, the setup is similar to Qatar – a small country that desperately wants to be liked overseas and so pays over the odds for an international cable-news channel and a bizarre World Cup. Ireland is Qatar without the natural gas.

As for the neutrality thing, the origin of Ireland’s neutrality was a snub to the UK, while the island of Ireland was still partitioned into two jurisdictions. Ireland was firmly in the West’s camp during the Cold War (being a Catholic country meant we were very anti-communist). Now things on the surface are shifting but the underlying dynamic is the same: we want to be liked by our European neighbours, we move in a herd, so neutrality will be ditched and anyone who questions it will be sidelined.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lennon Ó Náraigh
Kevin Kehoe
KK
Kevin Kehoe
1 year ago

Exellent points, and very well made.

Frank McCusker
FM
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

“so neutrality will be ditched and anyone who questions it will be sidelined.”
Your whole lament is predicated on the basis that there is any neutrality to ditch. Irish “neutrality” is and always has been bogus.
Ireland has always been on the side of the British and the Americans – and why not, they’re our friends and both countries have large Irish diasporas.
Annually, Irish leaders visit the White House on Paddy’s day – don;t recall them jetting off to Moscow lol.
In WW2, “neutral” Ireland had more VCs from the British army than non-neutral N Ireland did. In WW2, Allied pilots who crash-landed were cleaned up, fed, and given free transport to the border, whereas German ones were interned. And Ireland has always facilitated military flight stopovers for the Americans at Shannon. “Neutrality” my foot.
It’s not so much about “ditching” neutrality as finally facing up to the reality that Irish “neutrality” doesn’t exist in the first place. Better to be honestly aligned than to persist in this pretentious, phoney “neutrality”. 

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I heard the Irish interned Allied airmen.
To cut a long story short they were released on their own recognisance during the day but had to give their word not to attempt to escape. At night they would be locked up and then they could escape.
One American thought sod this for gam of soldiers. Walked out of the camp during the day, having given his word not to escape, an promptly fled to Northern Ireland and then to mainland UK.
Instead of giving him a hero’s reception the British authorities promptly returned him to Ireland.
If this story is not true it should be

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

For those interested deValera was begged NOT to enter the war on the Aliied side by Churchill! (despite the rancour displayed) as neither the Irish nor the British could have prevented a German invasion of Ireland. That would have meant GB having to defend its west coast as well as its east coast: a clear impossibility. How do I know this: my uncle was Ireland’s ambassador to Nazi Germany! Our value as a neutral country came into its own. That does NOT mean we were collaborators: what is does mean is we were bloody useful!
The brave Irishmen who fought IN the British Army were not fighting for GB but for the small nations that were being attacked by the monster that was Hitler and his Nazi hoard. You hardly think the Poles in the British army were fighting for GB do you? It was nerely the best way to help Poland and oppose their enemy!
These things are not black and white.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So your uncle was a Nazi sympathizer

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

He was the ambassador you idiot! Ireland was neutral. Which British ambassadors anywhere in the world sympathise with the nation they reside in? None! They sympathise with their own nation. That is their job. My uncle did an incredibly good job in inbelievably difficult circumstances.. and a good job for us all. If Hitler had invaded Ireland we and you wouldn’t have had a prayer!

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So do you know the background to Irish politicians and presumably diplomats in the Irish embassy in Germany deciding to send the Germans their condolences on the death of Hitler?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I meant it as a compliment.

Fat Dave
FD
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The US Ambassador to the UK, Kennedy, was pro Nazi. Or perhaps more accurately, anti UK. So yes, Ambassadors can be prejudiced.

L Walker
LW
L Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Fat Dave

He was definitely an embarrassment to the U.S. and GB. Roosevelt should have recalled him.

L Walker
L Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Fat Dave

He was definitely an embarrassment to the U.S. and GB. Roosevelt should have recalled him.

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So do you know the background to Irish politicians and presumably diplomats in the Irish embassy in Germany deciding to send the Germans their condolences on the death of Hitler?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I meant it as a compliment.

Fat Dave
FD
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The US Ambassador to the UK, Kennedy, was pro Nazi. Or perhaps more accurately, anti UK. So yes, Ambassadors can be prejudiced.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

He was the ambassador you idiot! Ireland was neutral. Which British ambassadors anywhere in the world sympathise with the nation they reside in? None! They sympathise with their own nation. That is their job. My uncle did an incredibly good job in inbelievably difficult circumstances.. and a good job for us all. If Hitler had invaded Ireland we and you wouldn’t have had a prayer!

Fat Dave
FD
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You are right 😉 Things are complicated. For example, Churchill BEGGED de Valera to enter the war on the allies side. The UK was even prepared to offer NI to Dublin, in exchange for Irish entry into WW2. That was far more important to the UK (and allies) than neutrality.
A neutral Ireland was a threat to the UK. Everyone was aware of pro Nazi sympathisers in Ireland and that includes members of the IRA leadership who saw a Nazi victory as must. A neutral Ireland offered a gateway for Germany to exploit. Which is why Britain considered invading from the North.
Often forgotten that Ireland was also reliant on British merchant shipping and sailors in order not to starve, whilst Ireland sat in comfortable neutrality.
Rather a bitter irony there, given the famine. Payback perhaps.

Michael Kellett
MK
Michael Kellett
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

No, they’re not black and white are they? In WW2 ‘neutral’ Ireland was so ‘neutral’ that de Valera went to express his sympathy and that of his government and signed the book of condolence at the Nazi embassy after Hitler committed suicide.

Michael Askew
MA
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

W.B. Yeats poem An Irish airman foresees his death admirably expresses the sense of emotional neutrality. towards beleagured Britain.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Since Ireland had no military capability to speak of, what would have been the benefit to the Allies of its entry into the war?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So your uncle was a Nazi sympathizer

Fat Dave
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You are right 😉 Things are complicated. For example, Churchill BEGGED de Valera to enter the war on the allies side. The UK was even prepared to offer NI to Dublin, in exchange for Irish entry into WW2. That was far more important to the UK (and allies) than neutrality.
A neutral Ireland was a threat to the UK. Everyone was aware of pro Nazi sympathisers in Ireland and that includes members of the IRA leadership who saw a Nazi victory as must. A neutral Ireland offered a gateway for Germany to exploit. Which is why Britain considered invading from the North.
Often forgotten that Ireland was also reliant on British merchant shipping and sailors in order not to starve, whilst Ireland sat in comfortable neutrality.
Rather a bitter irony there, given the famine. Payback perhaps.

Michael Kellett
MK
Michael Kellett
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

No, they’re not black and white are they? In WW2 ‘neutral’ Ireland was so ‘neutral’ that de Valera went to express his sympathy and that of his government and signed the book of condolence at the Nazi embassy after Hitler committed suicide.

Michael Askew
MA
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

W.B. Yeats poem An Irish airman foresees his death admirably expresses the sense of emotional neutrality. towards beleagured Britain.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Since Ireland had no military capability to speak of, what would have been the benefit to the Allies of its entry into the war?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

For those interested deValera was begged NOT to enter the war on the Aliied side by Churchill! (despite the rancour displayed) as neither the Irish nor the British could have prevented a German invasion of Ireland. That would have meant GB having to defend its west coast as well as its east coast: a clear impossibility. How do I know this: my uncle was Ireland’s ambassador to Nazi Germany! Our value as a neutral country came into its own. That does NOT mean we were collaborators: what is does mean is we were bloody useful!
The brave Irishmen who fought IN the British Army were not fighting for GB but for the small nations that were being attacked by the monster that was Hitler and his Nazi hoard. You hardly think the Poles in the British army were fighting for GB do you? It was nerely the best way to help Poland and oppose their enemy!
These things are not black and white.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

It is possible to be neutral AND friendly to both sides. Indeed that’s the whole point isn’t it? You can have two friends who fight and, given your friendly, neutral stance you can intervene, right? Your case seems to be it would be better to take sides and fight with the friend you are closer to. Totally unproductive, obviously.
Despite what you assert we did have good relations with Moscow and had they not been destroyed by our current cowardly government we might even be of use in helping to negotate a settlement and subsequently securing the ensuing peace. What a great contribution that would be! But no, we have to align our puny forces with the warmongeting, murderous regime that killed millions of Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghans etc. and goaded Putin into this war. A pox on both their houses I say.
I am proud of Sabina Highins, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace. They reflect my views and those of many more of my countrymen.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
AN
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Me too.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Cowardice you mean?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Whose cowardice are you referring to?

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Whose cowardice are you referring to?

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Fully agree. Irish media has shut down any debate or analysis and derides anyone with sn alternative view – this journalist is a specialist in this, deriding Sabina Higgins – for daring to make a plea for peace. The daggers came out instead of this leading to any reasoned debate. Same for Clare and Daly and Mick Wallace. Media isdoing huge disservice tothe public, pushing debate underground, as well as being a betrayal of journalistic principles of unbiased reporting, informing citizens…

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So you’d prefer that Ireland be aligned with the warmongering Russians? Odd logic.

Fat Dave
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I quite enjoyed reading your posts, even if you are wrong about Churchill wanting Ireland to be neutral in WW2. But this post is poor. There is no negotiated settlement. This is very naive and almost malign. Clare Daly is vile and a fascist sympathiser. Russia will not negotiate unless Ukraine capitulates and this has been clear from the start. There is no negotiation to be done.
The US did not goad Russia. Russia is 100% guilty for the atrocity caused by Moscow. And you are edging towards whataboutism.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

They don’t represent me.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Please explain how the USA pushed Vladimir Putin into invading Ukraine. Hiw own writings and speeches reveal that he regards Ukraine as part of Russia that Russia is entitled to reclaim by force.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
AN
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Me too.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Cowardice you mean?

0 0
DD
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Fully agree. Irish media has shut down any debate or analysis and derides anyone with sn alternative view – this journalist is a specialist in this, deriding Sabina Higgins – for daring to make a plea for peace. The daggers came out instead of this leading to any reasoned debate. Same for Clare and Daly and Mick Wallace. Media isdoing huge disservice tothe public, pushing debate underground, as well as being a betrayal of journalistic principles of unbiased reporting, informing citizens…

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So you’d prefer that Ireland be aligned with the warmongering Russians? Odd logic.

Fat Dave
FD
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I quite enjoyed reading your posts, even if you are wrong about Churchill wanting Ireland to be neutral in WW2. But this post is poor. There is no negotiated settlement. This is very naive and almost malign. Clare Daly is vile and a fascist sympathiser. Russia will not negotiate unless Ukraine capitulates and this has been clear from the start. There is no negotiation to be done.
The US did not goad Russia. Russia is 100% guilty for the atrocity caused by Moscow. And you are edging towards whataboutism.

Dermot O'Sullivan
DO
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

They don’t represent me.

Michael Askew
MA
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Please explain how the USA pushed Vladimir Putin into invading Ukraine. Hiw own writings and speeches reveal that he regards Ukraine as part of Russia that Russia is entitled to reclaim by force.

David Ryan
David Ryan
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

It’s true to say that Irish neutrality during WW2 was biased in favour of Britain and the US. However, Allied pilots who crash landed in Ireland were interned, at K-Lines camp in the Curragh, Co. Kildare. See T. Ryle Dwyer’s book Guests of the State for more on the subject.

Ben M
Ben M
1 year ago
Reply to  David Ryan

My mom was Irish – two of her older siblings came to fight for Britain – freedom they both told me – they were not welcome back after the war – my aunt telling me she was spat at in the street.

Ben M
Ben M
1 year ago
Reply to  David Ryan

My mom was Irish – two of her older siblings came to fight for Britain – freedom they both told me – they were not welcome back after the war – my aunt telling me she was spat at in the street.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I heard the Irish interned Allied airmen.
To cut a long story short they were released on their own recognisance during the day but had to give their word not to attempt to escape. At night they would be locked up and then they could escape.
One American thought sod this for gam of soldiers. Walked out of the camp during the day, having given his word not to escape, an promptly fled to Northern Ireland and then to mainland UK.
Instead of giving him a hero’s reception the British authorities promptly returned him to Ireland.
If this story is not true it should be

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

It is possible to be neutral AND friendly to both sides. Indeed that’s the whole point isn’t it? You can have two friends who fight and, given your friendly, neutral stance you can intervene, right? Your case seems to be it would be better to take sides and fight with the friend you are closer to. Totally unproductive, obviously.
Despite what you assert we did have good relations with Moscow and had they not been destroyed by our current cowardly government we might even be of use in helping to negotate a settlement and subsequently securing the ensuing peace. What a great contribution that would be! But no, we have to align our puny forces with the warmongeting, murderous regime that killed millions of Vietnamese, Iraqis, Afghans etc. and goaded Putin into this war. A pox on both their houses I say.
I am proud of Sabina Highins, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace. They reflect my views and those of many more of my countrymen.

David Ryan
DR
David Ryan
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

It’s true to say that Irish neutrality during WW2 was biased in favour of Britain and the US. However, Allied pilots who crash landed in Ireland were interned, at K-Lines camp in the Curragh, Co. Kildare. See T. Ryle Dwyer’s book Guests of the State for more on the subject.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

I’m not sure how relevant your (accurate) depiction of Ireland’s past is to the current situation? We are a people emancipated from the British yoke and subsequently from the RC yoke and finally are free to express our true sense of national identity. But you make our international popularity sound like a bad thing and our proven abilities at peacekeeping seem like a weakness! I see them as quite the opposite. If we have any real standing in the world it is for those laudable qualities. Any contribution we might make to warmongering NATO would be puny: indeed irrelevant.
The world has enough money driven murderous regimes without we civilized Irish adding to that primitive brutality. What the world needs far more is what we already have to offer: our proven peacekeeping skills possible only thanks to our neutral, non aligned stance fast being eroded by our brown nosing gutless politicians devoid of the balls shown by Clare Daly and Mick Wallace! Well done to those two..

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
Mark S
Mark S
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

“The world has enough money driven murderous regimes without we civilized Irish adding to that primitive brutality” …. Ever heard of a very recent period of Irish history where a bunch of bigots bombed, shot and kidnapped thousands of fellow Irish people in the name of Ireland? It was called The Troubles and it was about as primitive as can be imagined.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark S

You have the wrong country there mate! That happened in the UK, under your watch! You created the cauldron and then made a dog’s dinner of sorting it out! You made it, you broke it, you own it. We Irish had not hand, act nor part in that debacle!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Nuffink to do wiv me guvnor!
You keep providing arguments of principle then destroy your credibility with ridiculous assertions such as this.

Mark S
Mark S
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Irish people, of which I am one, consider Northern Ireland to be part of Ireland. Every poll says so.
Your’s is a very strange viewpoint.
PS – Irish people don’t tend to use the word ‘mate!’ like you have. People from certain other countries do.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark S
Fat Dave
FD
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

We Irish did our own slaughtering of innocents during the civil war. And let’s not whitewash the links between Ireland and the IRA in the north.

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Nuffink to do wiv me guvnor!
You keep providing arguments of principle then destroy your credibility with ridiculous assertions such as this.

Mark S
MS
Mark S
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Irish people, of which I am one, consider Northern Ireland to be part of Ireland. Every poll says so.
Your’s is a very strange viewpoint.
PS – Irish people don’t tend to use the word ‘mate!’ like you have. People from certain other countries do.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark S
Fat Dave
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

We Irish did our own slaughtering of innocents during the civil war. And let’s not whitewash the links between Ireland and the IRA in the north.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark S

You have the wrong country there mate! That happened in the UK, under your watch! You created the cauldron and then made a dog’s dinner of sorting it out! You made it, you broke it, you own it. We Irish had not hand, act nor part in that debacle!

Fat Dave
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Estonia joined NATO and their armed forces are very small. The point is that it is a defensive alliance with every contribution valued.
When neutral nations like Sweden and Finland see the threat and ask to join, it is time for Dublin to think also

Mark S
MS
Mark S
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

“The world has enough money driven murderous regimes without we civilized Irish adding to that primitive brutality” …. Ever heard of a very recent period of Irish history where a bunch of bigots bombed, shot and kidnapped thousands of fellow Irish people in the name of Ireland? It was called The Troubles and it was about as primitive as can be imagined.

Fat Dave
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Estonia joined NATO and their armed forces are very small. The point is that it is a defensive alliance with every contribution valued.
When neutral nations like Sweden and Finland see the threat and ask to join, it is time for Dublin to think also

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
1 year ago

I think of the story of Frank Aiken banging the table as he sat across from FDR and refused to take sides in WW2. These fools who lead us now will lead us to war. Weak men create hard times

Kevin Kehoe
Kevin Kehoe
1 year ago

Exellent points, and very well made.

Frank McCusker
FM
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

“so neutrality will be ditched and anyone who questions it will be sidelined.”
Your whole lament is predicated on the basis that there is any neutrality to ditch. Irish “neutrality” is and always has been bogus.
Ireland has always been on the side of the British and the Americans – and why not, they’re our friends and both countries have large Irish diasporas.
Annually, Irish leaders visit the White House on Paddy’s day – don;t recall them jetting off to Moscow lol.
In WW2, “neutral” Ireland had more VCs from the British army than non-neutral N Ireland did. In WW2, Allied pilots who crash-landed were cleaned up, fed, and given free transport to the border, whereas German ones were interned. And Ireland has always facilitated military flight stopovers for the Americans at Shannon. “Neutrality” my foot.
It’s not so much about “ditching” neutrality as finally facing up to the reality that Irish “neutrality” doesn’t exist in the first place. Better to be honestly aligned than to persist in this pretentious, phoney “neutrality”. 

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

I’m not sure how relevant your (accurate) depiction of Ireland’s past is to the current situation? We are a people emancipated from the British yoke and subsequently from the RC yoke and finally are free to express our true sense of national identity. But you make our international popularity sound like a bad thing and our proven abilities at peacekeeping seem like a weakness! I see them as quite the opposite. If we have any real standing in the world it is for those laudable qualities. Any contribution we might make to warmongering NATO would be puny: indeed irrelevant.
The world has enough money driven murderous regimes without we civilized Irish adding to that primitive brutality. What the world needs far more is what we already have to offer: our proven peacekeeping skills possible only thanks to our neutral, non aligned stance fast being eroded by our brown nosing gutless politicians devoid of the balls shown by Clare Daly and Mick Wallace! Well done to those two..

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
1 year ago

I think of the story of Frank Aiken banging the table as he sat across from FDR and refused to take sides in WW2. These fools who lead us now will lead us to war. Weak men create hard times

Lennon Ó Náraigh
L
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago

I think Paul K’s observations here are spot-on.

Ireland is a very herd-like place. The herd used to be led by the Catholic Church, and everyone outcompeted each other to be as holy as possible, if you recite one mystery of the Rosary then I recite two. Awkward people were locked away in asylums, at one point the incarceration rate of people with mental problems was the highest in the world. Unmarried mothers were locked up and their babies taken off them. We had our own Gulag Archipelago.

With the prosperity that started up in the 1990s and the drip-drip of scandals from the Catholic Church that old belief system has been upended. Woke ideology (fueled in part by the tech companies that set up their European headquarters in Dublin) has eventually filled the void left by Catholicism.

But the vectors of the ideology remain the same. The state broadcaster. The utter bland conformity of the politicians, from the Centre-Left to the Centre-Right. The education system, from the creators of the curriculum to the elite fee-paying schools (teachers’ salaries paid by the taxpayer, thank you very much). The agencies that bring in the international investment. The priesthood. Only now the priests are the NGOs. Where once a government policy could not be approved without a nod and a wink from the Archbishop of Dublin, now the nod and the wink needs to come from some well-paid CEO of an NGO.

On top of this, “official Ireland” has this cringey desire to be loved by other countries. This means we need to be “best-in-the-world” at utterly random things. A construction project to build a new national children’s hospital has gone over budget by billions because it needed to be “world class”. Gender-critical feminists will now be threatened with prison because our hate-crime laws need to be updated to be… “world class”. Gender self-ID laws were brought in because that is … “international best practice”. Sinecures and makey-uppy jobs are handed out to “right-on” failed politicians to pontificate at the UN. In a weird way, the setup is similar to Qatar – a small country that desperately wants to be liked overseas and so pays over the odds for an international cable-news channel and a bizarre World Cup. Ireland is Qatar without the natural gas.

As for the neutrality thing, the origin of Ireland’s neutrality was a snub to the UK, while the island of Ireland was still partitioned into two jurisdictions. Ireland was firmly in the West’s camp during the Cold War (being a Catholic country meant we were very anti-communist). Now things on the surface are shifting but the underlying dynamic is the same: we want to be liked by our European neighbours, we move in a herd, so neutrality will be ditched and anyone who questions it will be sidelined.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lennon Ó Náraigh
Roddy Campbell
RC
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago

These useful idiots are united by a deep, malign, historical hatred of anything to do with England. Pro-Russian, pro-Syrian, pro-anything that England doesn’t like. The excuse may differ but the motive, never.

“My enemy’s enemy is my friend”

Scratch the surface of any Hard Left enthusiast and you’ll find a deep, abiding hatred of England and the USA.

Frank McCusker
FM
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

That’s true of aging hippies in many Western countries. They however are a tiny minority of Irish people, and very unrepresentative of Irish society at large. And you also ignore that, esp in the US, the Putin fan boys are made up of both hard right and hard left.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Have you ever considered the possibility that duch “reprehensibles” might be trying to redress the balance? To show that it’s not all nice and simple, black and white, good guys and bad guys etc?
Clearly, all sides are horrible! Nato, Russia and the unbelievably corrupt regime in Ukraine. A plague on all their houses. We neutral, peace-loving Irish should stay the hhell out of it. It’s a cesspit of evil, greed and murder on every side!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Have you ever considered the possibility that duch “reprehensibles” might be trying to redress the balance? To show that it’s not all nice and simple, black and white, good guys and bad guys etc?
Clearly, all sides are horrible! Nato, Russia and the unbelievably corrupt regime in Ukraine. A plague on all their houses. We neutral, peace-loving Irish should stay the hhell out of it. It’s a cesspit of evil, greed and murder on every side!

Samir Iker
SI
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

That’s the funny bit about leftists.
I would for instance claim that Western foreign policy across the globe has been quite despicable.
But that doesn’t detract from the fact that Western societies themselves are very open, egalitarian, offer opportunities to all, and have done a great job at uplifting weaker or oppresses segments of society.
As a leftist you should admire and respect what these societies have achieved.
But they are too full of hatred towards them for heating their precious communists I reckon, and have decided they want to burn down the West and all its culture as retribution.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

A blind, simplistic, naïve assessment which paints all non-warmongerers with one brush. We peace-loving neutrals are a very diverse bunch.. what we do have in common is the ability to see beyond our noses and to not be suckers to MSM distortion and omission!

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

A blind, simplistic, naïve assessment which paints all non-warmongerers with one brush. We peace-loving neutrals are a very diverse bunch.. what we do have in common is the ability to see beyond our noses and to not be suckers to MSM distortion and omission!

R S Foster
R S Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

…unnervingly, much the same sentiment pervades the views of the SNP…people who care about the defence of the West should think long and hard about their views on Scottish Independence…because although they no longer talk about neutrality…
…it is clear that in defence and foreign policy terms, the main consequence of their departing the UK would be to undermine our position as the leading European Nato power, and one of the providers of it’s nuclear capabilities…
…and very possibly leave the GIUK Gap extremely vulnerable to the Czar’s cable-cutters and pipeline-bombers…that gap being in their sea-space, which effectively gives them a maritime border with the Russian Navy
As you rightly say, in both cases the only thing that really matters to them is doing as much harm as they can to the hated English…despite the fact that Ireland is dependent on our good-will for fast-jet cover…and an independent Scotland would struggle to protect either it’s sea or air space up to Nato standards. Unless they intend to massively increase defence spending as other “Frontier States” like Finland do…

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

In my case it is not deep nor is it hatred, though it is abiding. What it is instead is an upfront distrust of two world powers that care nothing for us Irish nor for Ukraine except how we might be exploited and used as a staging post and canon fodder resp. to help them attain their greedy, murderous, merciless domination of world economics!
I suspect the people of Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and many other countries might well feel the same? A plague on warmongerers wherever they come from.

Fat Dave
FD
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Whatever US involvement in those countries, it was at least underpinned by good intent…..path to hell etc etc. Vietnam, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were all wars based on fighting authoritarian oppression.
Now I will be guilty of whataboutism. Russia has a murderous history of malign intervention around the world and internally, so does China and Iran.
It is time to take sides. Ukraine is fighting for its survival. Everyone in Ireland should understand the import of fighting for independence from an overlord. Ireland should be at the fore of nations supporting Kyiv.

Fat Dave
Fat Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Whatever US involvement in those countries, it was at least underpinned by good intent…..path to hell etc etc. Vietnam, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were all wars based on fighting authoritarian oppression.
Now I will be guilty of whataboutism. Russia has a murderous history of malign intervention around the world and internally, so does China and Iran.
It is time to take sides. Ukraine is fighting for its survival. Everyone in Ireland should understand the import of fighting for independence from an overlord. Ireland should be at the fore of nations supporting Kyiv.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

That’s true of aging hippies in many Western countries. They however are a tiny minority of Irish people, and very unrepresentative of Irish society at large. And you also ignore that, esp in the US, the Putin fan boys are made up of both hard right and hard left.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

That’s the funny bit about leftists.
I would for instance claim that Western foreign policy across the globe has been quite despicable.
But that doesn’t detract from the fact that Western societies themselves are very open, egalitarian, offer opportunities to all, and have done a great job at uplifting weaker or oppresses segments of society.
As a leftist you should admire and respect what these societies have achieved.
But they are too full of hatred towards them for heating their precious communists I reckon, and have decided they want to burn down the West and all its culture as retribution.

R S Foster
RF
R S Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

…unnervingly, much the same sentiment pervades the views of the SNP…people who care about the defence of the West should think long and hard about their views on Scottish Independence…because although they no longer talk about neutrality…
…it is clear that in defence and foreign policy terms, the main consequence of their departing the UK would be to undermine our position as the leading European Nato power, and one of the providers of it’s nuclear capabilities…
…and very possibly leave the GIUK Gap extremely vulnerable to the Czar’s cable-cutters and pipeline-bombers…that gap being in their sea-space, which effectively gives them a maritime border with the Russian Navy
As you rightly say, in both cases the only thing that really matters to them is doing as much harm as they can to the hated English…despite the fact that Ireland is dependent on our good-will for fast-jet cover…and an independent Scotland would struggle to protect either it’s sea or air space up to Nato standards. Unless they intend to massively increase defence spending as other “Frontier States” like Finland do…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

In my case it is not deep nor is it hatred, though it is abiding. What it is instead is an upfront distrust of two world powers that care nothing for us Irish nor for Ukraine except how we might be exploited and used as a staging post and canon fodder resp. to help them attain their greedy, murderous, merciless domination of world economics!
I suspect the people of Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and many other countries might well feel the same? A plague on warmongerers wherever they come from.

Roddy Campbell
RC
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago

These useful idiots are united by a deep, malign, historical hatred of anything to do with England. Pro-Russian, pro-Syrian, pro-anything that England doesn’t like. The excuse may differ but the motive, never.

“My enemy’s enemy is my friend”

Scratch the surface of any Hard Left enthusiast and you’ll find a deep, abiding hatred of England and the USA.

Paul K
Paul K
1 year ago

I’m not Irish, but I live in Ireland, so I’ll offer a counter-perspective on this piece in case it’s useful.
My take is that this is a smear aimed at those who want Ireland to remain a neutral country. Ireland has been neutral since independence – this is the reason why, for example, so many objected to the use of Shannon by the US during the Iraq war. Far from there being a sizeable collection of far-left ‘Tankies’ about the place, my experience is that Ireland is a country whose people quietly follow the state/media line on almost every big issue, from Ukraine to covid to abortion. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that the state and the media mostly sing from the same hymsheet on almost every major political issue. The two main parties and the media/cultural elite are effectively one body here.
At present, there is a big push by the Irish establishment to end Ireland’s neutral status. This is in line with the reality that Ireland is, in effect, no longer an independent nation: it is run politically by Brussels and economically by Silicon Valley, and its elite are globalist to the core. It is clear that there is pressure from above for Ireland to end its pesky political neutrality, a relic of its founders, and become a good and obedient NATO member. If smearing its current president (hardly a man of the ‘far left’) as a ‘Tankie’ is the necessary precondition – well, then apparently so be it.

Ray Mullan
RM
Ray Mullan
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Very well put.

Kevin G Conroy
Kevin G Conroy
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Ireland is not and never has been politically neutral we are militarily neutral. You’ve stated you are not Irish and it’s quite obvious from your comment that you don’t know what you are talking about.

Paul K
PK
Paul K
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin G Conroy

I don’t think that that political and military neutrality can easily be disentangled, as Western support for Ukraine is currently demonstrating. You’re right though to say that the word ‘political’ was probably used in the wrong context in my comment above.
I’ll stand by my overall point though, and if you think I’m wrong I’d be happy to hear how and why. Would you disagree that there is currently a significant push to end the country’s neutrality? Because I’m seeing it everywhere since the Ukraine war started. This current article is one example. A couple of others from influential sources can be found here and here. It looks to me as if this is building up to a clear shift in direction – indeed, the next Taoiseach stated it baldly back in the summer, when he spoke confidently of being able to persuade the Irish to vote to join an EU army. At present the line is that Ireland would not join NATO, but I would expect that to change in coming years.
But as I say, I’d be happy to hear why you think I’m wrong.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul K
Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

You’re comments are pretty much on the money, especially with regard to the powers that be and the media lovefest. Generally speaking I view Ireland’s ‘military’ neutrality as a good thing, but circumstances can change. See Finland/Sweden.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Grow up – Ireland has never been neutral – merely dishonest about its alignment.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Apologies, my growth possibilities ended a long time ago.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Apologies, my growth possibilities ended a long time ago.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago

From an interview with the Finnish PM recently (Hardtalk – BBC2), it seems that the Finnish decision to join NATO has cooled. It has been seen from the conflict in Ukraine that American dominated NATO does not always have the best interests of Europe at heart when making unilateral decisions..

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

All the more reason for European NATO members to do as Trump suggested, step up to the plate and put their money where the US’s money currently is.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

Don’t doubt the report on your first sentence – but is it just an opinion? I feel they’re going to join.
The second sentence is not surprising.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

All the more reason for European NATO members to do as Trump suggested, step up to the plate and put their money where the US’s money currently is.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

Don’t doubt the report on your first sentence – but is it just an opinion? I feel they’re going to join.
The second sentence is not surprising.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Grow up – Ireland has never been neutral – merely dishonest about its alignment.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago

From an interview with the Finnish PM recently (Hardtalk – BBC2), it seems that the Finnish decision to join NATO has cooled. It has been seen from the conflict in Ukraine that American dominated NATO does not always have the best interests of Europe at heart when making unilateral decisions..

Kevin Kilcoyne
KK
Kevin Kilcoyne
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Paul, while I largely agree with the sentiment of your message – I do not accept your outlook for the future. While we have shown ourselves to be compliant and even malleable to whims of the technocratic elite – we also have a fairly firm sense of identity, of which military neutrality is held in high regard. There is a clear majority in favor of maintaining this, and none of the leading political parties have suggested abandoning our status. The furthest I have heard is some suggestions towards ‘looking at the subject again’, and tone deaf assertations by a politician on a firm path away from power (Varadkar on EU Army). Any meaningful pushes to change this would encounter very stiff popular resistance. The pandemic highlighted the unhealthy relationship between the media and state in this country for many, and untold damage has been done to trust in public bodies. As with the rest of the ‘developed’ world, we are approaching a reckoning between the will of the people and the will of the corporate technocrats who currently hold undue sway over how democratic societies are run. I am more optimistic than you that we will see sense before we get dragged into joining an EU Army, Nato, or any other organization that would threaten our independence further.

Paul K
Paul K
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Kilcoyne

I very much hope you are right! Thanks for replying.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Kilcoyne

That’s all very well, but how does an independent Ireland plan to defend its airspace and undersea cables?

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Kilcoyne

Now THAT really IS on the money!

David Ryan
DR
David Ryan
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Kilcoyne

I hope you’re right Kevin, but unfortunately recent history shows just how easily the public will fall in line with a policy when faced with combined government / media pressure

Paul K
PK
Paul K
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Kilcoyne

I very much hope you are right! Thanks for replying.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Kilcoyne

That’s all very well, but how does an independent Ireland plan to defend its airspace and undersea cables?

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Kilcoyne

Now THAT really IS on the money!

David Ryan
DR
David Ryan
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Kilcoyne

I hope you’re right Kevin, but unfortunately recent history shows just how easily the public will fall in line with a policy when faced with combined government / media pressure

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

You’re comments are pretty much on the money, especially with regard to the powers that be and the media lovefest. Generally speaking I view Ireland’s ‘military’ neutrality as a good thing, but circumstances can change. See Finland/Sweden.

Kevin Kilcoyne
KK
Kevin Kilcoyne
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Paul, while I largely agree with the sentiment of your message – I do not accept your outlook for the future. While we have shown ourselves to be compliant and even malleable to whims of the technocratic elite – we also have a fairly firm sense of identity, of which military neutrality is held in high regard. There is a clear majority in favor of maintaining this, and none of the leading political parties have suggested abandoning our status. The furthest I have heard is some suggestions towards ‘looking at the subject again’, and tone deaf assertations by a politician on a firm path away from power (Varadkar on EU Army). Any meaningful pushes to change this would encounter very stiff popular resistance. The pandemic highlighted the unhealthy relationship between the media and state in this country for many, and untold damage has been done to trust in public bodies. As with the rest of the ‘developed’ world, we are approaching a reckoning between the will of the people and the will of the corporate technocrats who currently hold undue sway over how democratic societies are run. I am more optimistic than you that we will see sense before we get dragged into joining an EU Army, Nato, or any other organization that would threaten our independence further.

Liam F
Liam F
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin G Conroy

Bit harsh on PaulK – I thought he made some useful observations. Maybe some of the Tankies are just Pacifists? People think being a pacifist is ok but its really not. George Orwell put it well : ‘a pacifist can exist only because someone else chose to fight on their behalf’

Paul K
PK
Paul K
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin G Conroy

I don’t think that that political and military neutrality can easily be disentangled, as Western support for Ukraine is currently demonstrating. You’re right though to say that the word ‘political’ was probably used in the wrong context in my comment above.
I’ll stand by my overall point though, and if you think I’m wrong I’d be happy to hear how and why. Would you disagree that there is currently a significant push to end the country’s neutrality? Because I’m seeing it everywhere since the Ukraine war started. This current article is one example. A couple of others from influential sources can be found here and here. It looks to me as if this is building up to a clear shift in direction – indeed, the next Taoiseach stated it baldly back in the summer, when he spoke confidently of being able to persuade the Irish to vote to join an EU army. At present the line is that Ireland would not join NATO, but I would expect that to change in coming years.
But as I say, I’d be happy to hear why you think I’m wrong.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul K
Liam F
LF
Liam F
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin G Conroy

Bit harsh on PaulK – I thought he made some useful observations. Maybe some of the Tankies are just Pacifists? People think being a pacifist is ok but its really not. George Orwell put it well : ‘a pacifist can exist only because someone else chose to fight on their behalf’

Roddy Campbell
RC
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Ireland has held a strange and schizophrenic neutrality over the last century, all powered by a strange and schizophrenic love-hate relationship with England.

Frank McCusker
FM
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Nonsense

Lennon Ó Náraigh
L
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

This is not nonsense… at least, a charitable rephrasing of the comment is not nonsense. A cursory glance at Dáil speeches from when NATO was being set up will show why this is so, e.g. in 1949, speaking in the Dáil, Seán Mac Bride, the minister for external affairs, said this:

“Ireland, as an essentially democratic and freedom-loving country is anxious to play her full part in protecting and preserving the Christian civilization and the democratic way of life. With the general aim of the proposed Atlantic Pact in this regard, therefore, we are in agreement. In the matter of military measures, however, we are faced with an insuperable difficulty, from the strategic and political points of view, by reason of the fact that six of our north-eastern counties are occupied by British forces against the will of the overwhelming majority of the Irish people. Partition is natrually and bitterly resented by the people of this country as a violation of Ireland’s territorial integrity…

Lennon Ó Náraigh
L
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

This is not nonsense… at least, a charitable rephrasing of the comment is not nonsense. A cursory glance at Dáil speeches from when NATO was being set up will show why this is so, e.g. in 1949, speaking in the Dáil, Seán Mac Bride, the minister for external affairs, said this:

“Ireland, as an essentially democratic and freedom-loving country is anxious to play her full part in protecting and preserving the Christian civilization and the democratic way of life. With the general aim of the proposed Atlantic Pact in this regard, therefore, we are in agreement. In the matter of military measures, however, we are faced with an insuperable difficulty, from the strategic and political points of view, by reason of the fact that six of our north-eastern counties are occupied by British forces against the will of the overwhelming majority of the Irish people. Partition is natrually and bitterly resented by the people of this country as a violation of Ireland’s territorial integrity…

R S Foster
RF
R S Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

…as an Englishman, I haven’t noticed much love…even from people who have chosen to come here and make a living. Feels more like the relationshp between one of those big, sometimes thoughtless, but mostly good-natured people who worry about the well-being of a vindictive and shrewish neighbour who occasionally throws things at him…because he feels guilty about upsetting her many decades ago…

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Nah: too simplistic! You might need to study what neutrality is! It us NOT a sit on the fence and do nothing stance! It comes into its own in peacekeeping operations, arguably far more important than blowing boys to smithereens! It also allows for honest intervention yo bring about peace. We’re goid at both. Our military capability is so puny as to be irrelevant!

Frank McCusker
FM
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Nonsense

R S Foster
RF
R S Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

…as an Englishman, I haven’t noticed much love…even from people who have chosen to come here and make a living. Feels more like the relationshp between one of those big, sometimes thoughtless, but mostly good-natured people who worry about the well-being of a vindictive and shrewish neighbour who occasionally throws things at him…because he feels guilty about upsetting her many decades ago…

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Nah: too simplistic! You might need to study what neutrality is! It us NOT a sit on the fence and do nothing stance! It comes into its own in peacekeeping operations, arguably far more important than blowing boys to smithereens! It also allows for honest intervention yo bring about peace. We’re goid at both. Our military capability is so puny as to be irrelevant!

D Oliver
DO
D Oliver
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

MDH is a very much a man of the far left. Just read up on his comments about Venezuela and Cuba.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

A good enough assessment. However you fail to see the immense value of our neutrality and world class reputation as peacekeepingers compared to the puny, irrelevant and highly damaging effect of us joining the warmongering US puppet that Nato is.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
AN
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Costellos is just a useless idiot, but too dim-witted to realise it

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
KS
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

(It seams that I can’t add this properly, so I put it here)
Apparently, there is a devision on this issue on Unherd. This dreadful war is pushing us, is pushing Unherd on this occasion, to the limits. This article presents a blindfold and rather unnecessary patriotism. But the patriotism is thin air after the point “Ireland relies on its former coloniser to defend its seas and skies”. Which may be true, but should be a very irrelevant thing to say when writing on the war in Ukraine. To my opinion this article presents an aggressive type of patriotism with a lot of “whataboutery and generalization” mush alike the one the Tankies are accused for having. And so very much one-sided and biased.
Enough though with my “counter attack”. I only wish to express my sorrow for the author’s overwhelming patriotic feelings that are turned into war mongering ideas. How can you write on a supposedly serious opinion site such as Unherd about national groups of people that you “don’t like”. Where can this lead..? Do you not understand that this thinking supports the escalation of war..? Some may do, but still wish to fight on and “kick those bastards”..! Kind of naive..!
But the thing that worries me the most with this immature article has to do with the future of Unherd. This great place, for this is what Unherd is, a great place indeed, has endured the storm of the pandemic madness. It seams very difficult to remain sensible if the war overheats. I see a lot of comments on this and other controversial issues that -excuse me to phrase it this way- reveal a lot of pain in the commentator’s souls and show minds full of anguish.
If I hurt your feelings please excuse me. It is only very desperate to my eyes to accept the notion for an escalation of this war. And before you say the “Russian global threat” thing, first make up your mind about “Russia loosing the war” according to the “non misinforming” western media. Either is losing the war or is threatening the whole world. Can’t do both. And possibly neither..!

Ray Mullan
RM
Ray Mullan
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Very well put.

Kevin G Conroy
KC
Kevin G Conroy
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Ireland is not and never has been politically neutral we are militarily neutral. You’ve stated you are not Irish and it’s quite obvious from your comment that you don’t know what you are talking about.

Roddy Campbell
RC
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Ireland has held a strange and schizophrenic neutrality over the last century, all powered by a strange and schizophrenic love-hate relationship with England.

D Oliver
DO
D Oliver
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

MDH is a very much a man of the far left. Just read up on his comments about Venezuela and Cuba.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

A good enough assessment. However you fail to see the immense value of our neutrality and world class reputation as peacekeepingers compared to the puny, irrelevant and highly damaging effect of us joining the warmongering US puppet that Nato is.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
AN
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Costellos is just a useless idiot, but too dim-witted to realise it

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
KS
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

(It seams that I can’t add this properly, so I put it here)
Apparently, there is a devision on this issue on Unherd. This dreadful war is pushing us, is pushing Unherd on this occasion, to the limits. This article presents a blindfold and rather unnecessary patriotism. But the patriotism is thin air after the point “Ireland relies on its former coloniser to defend its seas and skies”. Which may be true, but should be a very irrelevant thing to say when writing on the war in Ukraine. To my opinion this article presents an aggressive type of patriotism with a lot of “whataboutery and generalization” mush alike the one the Tankies are accused for having. And so very much one-sided and biased.
Enough though with my “counter attack”. I only wish to express my sorrow for the author’s overwhelming patriotic feelings that are turned into war mongering ideas. How can you write on a supposedly serious opinion site such as Unherd about national groups of people that you “don’t like”. Where can this lead..? Do you not understand that this thinking supports the escalation of war..? Some may do, but still wish to fight on and “kick those bastards”..! Kind of naive..!
But the thing that worries me the most with this immature article has to do with the future of Unherd. This great place, for this is what Unherd is, a great place indeed, has endured the storm of the pandemic madness. It seams very difficult to remain sensible if the war overheats. I see a lot of comments on this and other controversial issues that -excuse me to phrase it this way- reveal a lot of pain in the commentator’s souls and show minds full of anguish.
If I hurt your feelings please excuse me. It is only very desperate to my eyes to accept the notion for an escalation of this war. And before you say the “Russian global threat” thing, first make up your mind about “Russia loosing the war” according to the “non misinforming” western media. Either is losing the war or is threatening the whole world. Can’t do both. And possibly neither..!

Paul K
PK
Paul K
1 year ago

I’m not Irish, but I live in Ireland, so I’ll offer a counter-perspective on this piece in case it’s useful.
My take is that this is a smear aimed at those who want Ireland to remain a neutral country. Ireland has been neutral since independence – this is the reason why, for example, so many objected to the use of Shannon by the US during the Iraq war. Far from there being a sizeable collection of far-left ‘Tankies’ about the place, my experience is that Ireland is a country whose people quietly follow the state/media line on almost every big issue, from Ukraine to covid to abortion. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that the state and the media mostly sing from the same hymsheet on almost every major political issue. The two main parties and the media/cultural elite are effectively one body here.
At present, there is a big push by the Irish establishment to end Ireland’s neutral status. This is in line with the reality that Ireland is, in effect, no longer an independent nation: it is run politically by Brussels and economically by Silicon Valley, and its elite are globalist to the core. It is clear that there is pressure from above for Ireland to end its pesky political neutrality, a relic of its founders, and become a good and obedient NATO member. If smearing its current president (hardly a man of the ‘far left’) as a ‘Tankie’ is the necessary precondition – well, then apparently so be it.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago

The Russian ambassador said “We’re all against war”. True enough, but the crunch question is: are we all against Special Military Operations?

Samir Iker
SI
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Or wars to eradicate WMDs…or wars against “terror”…or wars with just some vague reason because we don’t like Gaddafi…or wars where we are cutely no involved, other than the weapon and training being used by our “allies” to bomb civilians…..

Are we against them, or it’s too much “whataboutery” ( a term which is short for do as I say, not as I do)

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Glad you know what everyone else favored in all those situations.
I thought Bush’s invasion of Iraq was the greatest strategic blunder of the 21st Century.
But I found out I was wrong–on 24 Feb 2022

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

You might need to go back and study the antics of Nato, the CIA and MI5 in 2012 if you’re tracking down blunders.
On the other hand, if you look at the overall goal of weakening Russia because of its opposition to the Unipolar dollar based order you might conclude it was all worth it?
After all, what’s a few hundred thousand Ukrainian and Russian Iives versus the value of the US dollar and US ‘interests’ around the world? Probably just as valueless as Iraqi, Afghan and Vietnamese lives right?

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Indeed.
The US prediction of a Russian invasion, and warnings not to invade were all a clever ruse to lure in that Eternal Victim, poor Vova Putin.
The US started a war to stress its allies over the winter, spend 10s of billions of dollars, just so it could weaken Russia.
You do know that conspiracy theories usually come from people who don’t bother to actually look at evidence?
Trump and Putin both rely on them.
I hope you will all be very happy together…

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

If YOU check out the facts you’ll see that the CIA actually boasted about the Maidan coup saying it cost the US $5bn. Not my theory. CIA’s own boast!

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

If YOU check out the facts you’ll see that the CIA actually boasted about the Maidan coup saying it cost the US $5bn. Not my theory. CIA’s own boast!

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Indeed.
The US prediction of a Russian invasion, and warnings not to invade were all a clever ruse to lure in that Eternal Victim, poor Vova Putin.
The US started a war to stress its allies over the winter, spend 10s of billions of dollars, just so it could weaken Russia.
You do know that conspiracy theories usually come from people who don’t bother to actually look at evidence?
Trump and Putin both rely on them.
I hope you will all be very happy together…

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

If you count the numbers of dead (assuming that is even a consideration for you?) you’ll find you were correct first time!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

You might need to go back and study the antics of Nato, the CIA and MI5 in 2012 if you’re tracking down blunders.
On the other hand, if you look at the overall goal of weakening Russia because of its opposition to the Unipolar dollar based order you might conclude it was all worth it?
After all, what’s a few hundred thousand Ukrainian and Russian Iives versus the value of the US dollar and US ‘interests’ around the world? Probably just as valueless as Iraqi, Afghan and Vietnamese lives right?

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

If you count the numbers of dead (assuming that is even a consideration for you?) you’ll find you were correct first time!

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Glad you know what everyone else favored in all those situations.
I thought Bush’s invasion of Iraq was the greatest strategic blunder of the 21st Century.
But I found out I was wrong–on 24 Feb 2022

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

“Stupid Military Operation” is a far better term, given its amazing results so far.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Putin was told that some bloke called Tolstoy had written a book titled “War and Peace”. Putin insisted that the title should be changed to “Special Military Operation and Treason”.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

I suggest you read that great book. You might learn something about the people who won WW2 and saved us from Nazi tyranny!

Peter Francis
PF
Peter Francis
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” (Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.)
Napoleon was the tragedy and Putin is the farce.
If you really have read War and Peace, I suggest that a re-reading is in order. Maybe that time around, you will see that the boot is on the other foot..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

I have indeed read Tolstoy’s War and Peace and I suggest a bit more carefully than you. I referred to the Russian PEOPLE.. not the regimes.. aside from your war games fought so courageously from your own armchairs, you’ll discover that people count for something as well. I see almost no mention of the utterly pointless loss of innocent lives all avoidable if..
1. NATO didn’t encroach on and threaten Russian security AS IT PROMISED!
2. Ukraine had adhered to the Minsk Accord AS IT PROMISED.
3. Ukraine hadn’t mercilessly attacked the Donbas (with their avowedly Nazi Azov battalion) who, after only all wanted to assert THEIR right to self determination.
4. The NATO puppet Boris Johnson hadn’t scuppered peace initiatives WHICH WOULD UNDOUBTEDLY HAVE SAVED THOUSANDS IF LIVES. You guys make me sick with your gung-ho, kill ’em all, warmongering garbage!

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Wow a who read what d**k-swinging war, supplemented by claims of who can read better. Francis you seem to be wise enough to know that you just can’t beat the blinkered arrogance of some people!
Ah middle class privilege! How the bombed out kids of Ukraine would laugh.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

I have indeed read Tolstoy’s War and Peace and I suggest a bit more carefully than you. I referred to the Russian PEOPLE.. not the regimes.. aside from your war games fought so courageously from your own armchairs, you’ll discover that people count for something as well. I see almost no mention of the utterly pointless loss of innocent lives all avoidable if..
1. NATO didn’t encroach on and threaten Russian security AS IT PROMISED!
2. Ukraine had adhered to the Minsk Accord AS IT PROMISED.
3. Ukraine hadn’t mercilessly attacked the Donbas (with their avowedly Nazi Azov battalion) who, after only all wanted to assert THEIR right to self determination.
4. The NATO puppet Boris Johnson hadn’t scuppered peace initiatives WHICH WOULD UNDOUBTEDLY HAVE SAVED THOUSANDS IF LIVES. You guys make me sick with your gung-ho, kill ’em all, warmongering garbage!

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Wow a who read what d**k-swinging war, supplemented by claims of who can read better. Francis you seem to be wise enough to know that you just can’t beat the blinkered arrogance of some people!
Ah middle class privilege! How the bombed out kids of Ukraine would laugh.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
R S Foster
R S Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

…the people who saved you from Nazi Tyranny were the British that you so obviously and publicly loathe. After September 1940, there was no possibility that our Islands would fall, and every possibility we would…eventually…win, by maintaining the “Command of the Ocean”…
…and at that time, Stalin was Hitler’s principal ally and was joining with him in the partition of Eastern Europe…where one of the Soviet Unions contributions was the mass execution of Polish Officers at the Katyn Forest…
…Stalin and the Soviets ended up on the right side ONLY because Hitler attacked them in June 1941…and managed to stay in the War long enough to re-organise themselves to win their part of it…and place much of Eastern Europe in a servitude that lasted almost fifty years…because of the blood and treasure we expended to supply them with war materiel via the Arctic Convoys and the Persian Gulf…
…meanwhile, the Irish were sending IRA terrorists to bomb Britain because “England’s Trouble is Ireland’s Opportunity”…
…not exactly benevolent “Neutrality” in my book…which in any case, you can only maintain because we essentially provide for your defence…not least the fast-jet CAPs…

Last edited 1 year ago by R S Foster
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  R S Foster

What utter rubbish! Look at the scale of the war fought and won by Russia against the combined forces of the Nazi German plus Ukrainian alliance: the war in the west was a mere skirmish by comparison!
Your so-called command of the oceans buckled very severly under the onslaught on the U-boats: had it not been for Turing’s genius (a man you subsequently abandonned! ..a bit like your treatment of Julian Assange!).. you were sunk! Literally!
Had Hitler not turned his attentions to Russia you would now be a German provence: that is indisputable. Hitler already had plans drawn up for the invasion of Ireland as a stepping stone to invade England from east and west simultaneously. You wouldn’t have stood a chance. You owe your freedom more to the 20 million dead Russian than to the ½million dead English. Please have the decency to at least recognise that!

R S Foster
R S Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

…buckled but did not fail, and there was no possibility of a successful German invasion after September 1940…through Ireland or anywhere else…on which, what plan for an invasion through Ireland? Source please?…
…and the idea that the slogging match in the East could have been maintained without British War materiel in those key early months, and for years afterwards is nonsense…as is the idea that either side in the East could have beaten the other without being impacted by events taking place elsewhere in the world…
…especially those taking place in the Mediterranean and the West…and at sea…which were mostly about vital supplies, especially of oil..
You seem to be retelling the Soviet version of the Great Patriotic War, pretty much uncritically…and without apparently noticing that they started as Hitler’s key allies and enablers…or indeed that it was a World War, rather than a solely European one…were the Soviets, once forced to join the right side, important? Of course…
…but was everyone else negligible? Equally, and clearly, not…

R S Foster
RF
R S Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

…buckled but did not fail, and there was no possibility of a successful German invasion after September 1940…through Ireland or anywhere else…on which, what plan for an invasion through Ireland? Source please?…
…and the idea that the slogging match in the East could have been maintained without British War materiel in those key early months, and for years afterwards is nonsense…as is the idea that either side in the East could have beaten the other without being impacted by events taking place elsewhere in the world…
…especially those taking place in the Mediterranean and the West…and at sea…which were mostly about vital supplies, especially of oil..
You seem to be retelling the Soviet version of the Great Patriotic War, pretty much uncritically…and without apparently noticing that they started as Hitler’s key allies and enablers…or indeed that it was a World War, rather than a solely European one…were the Soviets, once forced to join the right side, important? Of course…
…but was everyone else negligible? Equally, and clearly, not…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  R S Foster

What utter rubbish! Look at the scale of the war fought and won by Russia against the combined forces of the Nazi German plus Ukrainian alliance: the war in the west was a mere skirmish by comparison!
Your so-called command of the oceans buckled very severly under the onslaught on the U-boats: had it not been for Turing’s genius (a man you subsequently abandonned! ..a bit like your treatment of Julian Assange!).. you were sunk! Literally!
Had Hitler not turned his attentions to Russia you would now be a German provence: that is indisputable. Hitler already had plans drawn up for the invasion of Ireland as a stepping stone to invade England from east and west simultaneously. You wouldn’t have stood a chance. You owe your freedom more to the 20 million dead Russian than to the ½million dead English. Please have the decency to at least recognise that!

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” (Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.)
Napoleon was the tragedy and Putin is the farce.
If you really have read War and Peace, I suggest that a re-reading is in order. Maybe that time around, you will see that the boot is on the other foot..

R S Foster
RF
R S Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

…the people who saved you from Nazi Tyranny were the British that you so obviously and publicly loathe. After September 1940, there was no possibility that our Islands would fall, and every possibility we would…eventually…win, by maintaining the “Command of the Ocean”…
…and at that time, Stalin was Hitler’s principal ally and was joining with him in the partition of Eastern Europe…where one of the Soviet Unions contributions was the mass execution of Polish Officers at the Katyn Forest…
…Stalin and the Soviets ended up on the right side ONLY because Hitler attacked them in June 1941…and managed to stay in the War long enough to re-organise themselves to win their part of it…and place much of Eastern Europe in a servitude that lasted almost fifty years…because of the blood and treasure we expended to supply them with war materiel via the Arctic Convoys and the Persian Gulf…
…meanwhile, the Irish were sending IRA terrorists to bomb Britain because “England’s Trouble is Ireland’s Opportunity”…
…not exactly benevolent “Neutrality” in my book…which in any case, you can only maintain because we essentially provide for your defence…not least the fast-jet CAPs…

Last edited 1 year ago by R S Foster
Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

I suggest you read that great book. You might learn something about the people who won WW2 and saved us from Nazi tyranny!

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Putin was told that some bloke called Tolstoy had written a book titled “War and Peace”. Putin insisted that the title should be changed to “Special Military Operation and Treason”.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Obviously not if you looks at the dozens of ‘special military operations’ perpetrated by the US, UK, NATO over the years.. the death toll from those I’m told stands at 6 million dead! But to be fair the US, UK and NATO are also against war. Gimme a break!

Samir Iker
SI
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Or wars to eradicate WMDs…or wars against “terror”…or wars with just some vague reason because we don’t like Gaddafi…or wars where we are cutely no involved, other than the weapon and training being used by our “allies” to bomb civilians…..

Are we against them, or it’s too much “whataboutery” ( a term which is short for do as I say, not as I do)

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

“Stupid Military Operation” is a far better term, given its amazing results so far.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Obviously not if you looks at the dozens of ‘special military operations’ perpetrated by the US, UK, NATO over the years.. the death toll from those I’m told stands at 6 million dead! But to be fair the US, UK and NATO are also against war. Gimme a break!

Peter Francis
PF
Peter Francis
1 year ago

The Russian ambassador said “We’re all against war”. True enough, but the crunch question is: are we all against Special Military Operations?

AC Harper
AH
AC Harper
1 year ago

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a tank rolling over a human face— forever.  Apologies to George Orwell, 1984
There are people who honestly believe that authoritarian violence is ‘merely’ an unavoidable activity on the path to Utopia. We should resist their fantasies.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

We’re still waiting for our omelette.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

And the mere act of breaking seven million eggs does not an omelette make.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

And the mere act of breaking seven million eggs does not an omelette make.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

These are not fantasies, that is what Russian troops did many times both during war and when crushing Eastern European uprisings…

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Have you found the cure for violence..? Authoritarian or not..! Please share it with us..! It would bring peace on earth at last..! Please excuse the irony..! The only way I know that ends violence is acceptance and love..! It isn’t NATO..!

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

You are right of course.. isn’t it sad that so many relish warfare and bloodshed? A sad world indeed..

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago

While we’re at it, can we get rid of gravity? Every time I hear about someone who has been killed in a fall, it makes me so sad.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

You are right of course.. isn’t it sad that so many relish warfare and bloodshed? A sad world indeed..

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago

While we’re at it, can we get rid of gravity? Every time I hear about someone who has been killed in a fall, it makes me so sad.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Please put your case to the Iraqi, Afghanistan and Vietnamese people and let me know their response.. obviously not to the millions of innocent men, women and children now dead thanks to the West’s love of humanitarianism and freedom. Sadly their voices have been stiffled.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

We’re still waiting for our omelette.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

These are not fantasies, that is what Russian troops did many times both during war and when crushing Eastern European uprisings…

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Have you found the cure for violence..? Authoritarian or not..! Please share it with us..! It would bring peace on earth at last..! Please excuse the irony..! The only way I know that ends violence is acceptance and love..! It isn’t NATO..!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Please put your case to the Iraqi, Afghanistan and Vietnamese people and let me know their response.. obviously not to the millions of innocent men, women and children now dead thanks to the West’s love of humanitarianism and freedom. Sadly their voices have been stiffled.

AC Harper
AH
AC Harper
1 year ago

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a tank rolling over a human face— forever.  Apologies to George Orwell, 1984
There are people who honestly believe that authoritarian violence is ‘merely’ an unavoidable activity on the path to Utopia. We should resist their fantasies.

Laurian Boer
Laurian Boer
1 year ago

The article is very one-sided. And, to be honest, I don’t see what can be wrong with this statement: Until the world persuades President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to agree to a ceasefire and negotiations, the long haul of terrible war will go on. How can there be any winner?”
Does the author really think that the conflict will ended differently, like a Ukrainian or Russian total victory?

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Laurian Boer

Unless Russia is decisively defeated, there will just be another war when Russia recovers and rearms. This war occurred because Russia wasn’t defeated in 2014, and people wrongly assumed it was still a major power.
Ukraine can decide when the war should end, not 3rd parties interested in another Munich

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Not if the peace deal was achieved and enforced under International Law, any violation answerable to the International Criminal Court.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

What planet are you on?
Just read real Russian history and not Moscovy propaganda about “Great Patriotic War”.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

Russia already signed the Budapest Memorandum, guaranteeing to “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine”. Fat lot of good that did.
If you think the ICC can enforce anything against a major power without the backing of some heavy military force you’re living in lala land. China, the US, Russia – they’d laugh themselves sick.

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

What planet are you on?
Just read real Russian history and not Moscovy propaganda about “Great Patriotic War”.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

Russia already signed the Budapest Memorandum, guaranteeing to “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine”. Fat lot of good that did.
If you think the ICC can enforce anything against a major power without the backing of some heavy military force you’re living in lala land. China, the US, Russia – they’d laugh themselves sick.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

I’d love to know what the decisive defeat of Russia looks like to you. Do Ukrainian troops need to take Moscow? I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that that isn’t going to happen. Should NATO troops invade and conquer Moscow? Because I don’t see that happening either – not least because of the incredibly high chances of a nuclear response.

Does it mean a long war of attrition, like the Soviet Union’s experience in Afghanistan or Russia’s In Chechnya?

All the indications suggest that Russia can keep going as it is for quite some time – as it did in both of those conflicts – and that Ukraine will be reduced to rubble before the Russians concede.

Or, are you simply hoping that the Putin regime collapses, that Alexei Navalny escapes from prison, seizes power in a bloodless coup and lays down Russian arms at the feet of NATO.

Because, whilst that could happen, I would suggest that it isn’t likely and for two reasons:

First, the last time that Russians ended their hostilities with the West and turned towards the west, it ended very badly indeed. The shock therapy administered after the collapse of the USSR, lead to one of the largest peacetime economic collapses ever recorded. So the chances that the collapse of Putin’s regime leads to one more favourable to the West are not great.

Second, even Alexei Navalny himself sees Crimea as part of Russia.

It therefore seems that your idea of the “decisive defeat” of Russia means a regime change to someone more pro-Western than the most pro western of any of the significant resistance figures so far identified. I think the chances of that are slim but I concede they exist. Or am I misreading you?

Do you think that a decisive defeat could be achieved some other way?

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

Russians are on the back foot and most Ukrainians want to kill every one of them. Putin won’t be able to supply his forces over the winter. Indeed, the more mobiks there are, the less he will be able to hold the line. Even pro-Kremlin commentators agree on that.
Decisive defeat means either a million Russian casualties by spring, or a breakthrough by the Ukrainians.
And just now I wouldn’t get in their way. The Russians who have so far are very sorry.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Please return in the Spring to comment further on your (not very well informed) statement so you can tell us all how “you told us so”! I for one look forward to your further contribution after the next 4-5 months.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Just to be clear, your idea of the best possible outcome is “a million Russian casualties”. In your assessment, casualties on that scale, will result in a defeat for Putin which will lead to some sort of regime change in Russia and the next regime will have the good sense never to mess with the West again.

I accept that a huge number of Russian casualties (mostly conscripts, many of them only children because of Russia’s low birth rate) will destabilise the regime in Moscow.

What I quesiton is whether Russia will meekly accept that it has lost, return its troops to their bases and vow never to mess with the international order again or whether it might escalate instead. If the former, great, I will eat a big portion of humble pie. But, if it opts for escalation, what price are you willing to pay for the liberation of the Donbas?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Please return in the Spring to comment further on your (not very well informed) statement so you can tell us all how “you told us so”! I for one look forward to your further contribution after the next 4-5 months.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Just to be clear, your idea of the best possible outcome is “a million Russian casualties”. In your assessment, casualties on that scale, will result in a defeat for Putin which will lead to some sort of regime change in Russia and the next regime will have the good sense never to mess with the West again.

I accept that a huge number of Russian casualties (mostly conscripts, many of them only children because of Russia’s low birth rate) will destabilise the regime in Moscow.

What I quesiton is whether Russia will meekly accept that it has lost, return its troops to their bases and vow never to mess with the international order again or whether it might escalate instead. If the former, great, I will eat a big portion of humble pie. But, if it opts for escalation, what price are you willing to pay for the liberation of the Donbas?

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

I imagine ot cwn be but only within his own comfortable armchair. In the real world? Eh, not so much..

martin logan
ML
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

Russians are on the back foot and most Ukrainians want to kill every one of them. Putin won’t be able to supply his forces over the winter. Indeed, the more mobiks there are, the less he will be able to hold the line. Even pro-Kremlin commentators agree on that.
Decisive defeat means either a million Russian casualties by spring, or a breakthrough by the Ukrainians.
And just now I wouldn’t get in their way. The Russians who have so far are very sorry.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

I imagine ot cwn be but only within his own comfortable armchair. In the real world? Eh, not so much..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Ah yes! Gung-ho! Let’s fight it out to the last Ukrainian then yeah? I take it you won’t be putting yourself forward as canon fodder? You’ll see the tens of thousands slaughtered from your own armchair won’t you. Brave man that you are..
How much warmongering has Russia engaged in compared to US/UK/NATO? Let me see: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Vietnam to mention just a few. And the death toll? Ah a few million.. all brown skinned so who’s counting eh?

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Not if the peace deal was achieved and enforced under International Law, any violation answerable to the International Criminal Court.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

I’d love to know what the decisive defeat of Russia looks like to you. Do Ukrainian troops need to take Moscow? I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that that isn’t going to happen. Should NATO troops invade and conquer Moscow? Because I don’t see that happening either – not least because of the incredibly high chances of a nuclear response.

Does it mean a long war of attrition, like the Soviet Union’s experience in Afghanistan or Russia’s In Chechnya?

All the indications suggest that Russia can keep going as it is for quite some time – as it did in both of those conflicts – and that Ukraine will be reduced to rubble before the Russians concede.

Or, are you simply hoping that the Putin regime collapses, that Alexei Navalny escapes from prison, seizes power in a bloodless coup and lays down Russian arms at the feet of NATO.

Because, whilst that could happen, I would suggest that it isn’t likely and for two reasons:

First, the last time that Russians ended their hostilities with the West and turned towards the west, it ended very badly indeed. The shock therapy administered after the collapse of the USSR, lead to one of the largest peacetime economic collapses ever recorded. So the chances that the collapse of Putin’s regime leads to one more favourable to the West are not great.

Second, even Alexei Navalny himself sees Crimea as part of Russia.

It therefore seems that your idea of the “decisive defeat” of Russia means a regime change to someone more pro-Western than the most pro western of any of the significant resistance figures so far identified. I think the chances of that are slim but I concede they exist. Or am I misreading you?

Do you think that a decisive defeat could be achieved some other way?

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Ah yes! Gung-ho! Let’s fight it out to the last Ukrainian then yeah? I take it you won’t be putting yourself forward as canon fodder? You’ll see the tens of thousands slaughtered from your own armchair won’t you. Brave man that you are..
How much warmongering has Russia engaged in compared to US/UK/NATO? Let me see: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Vietnam to mention just a few. And the death toll? Ah a few million.. all brown skinned so who’s counting eh?

Patrick Heren
PH
Patrick Heren
1 year ago
Reply to  Laurian Boer

Do you really not understand that Putin’s Russia is an unabashed aggressor, and will not abandon its insane attempt to annex Ukraine whatever “deal” might be done? All backed up by cod-mystical pan-Slavic nonsense about restoring Greater Russia.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Patrick Heren

Are you aware of the Minsk accord? Was it Russia that reneged on that? Are you aware of the undertaking not to move NATO eastwards? Was it Russia that reneged on that? Are you aware of fledgling peace talks that were scuppered? Was iit Russia that scuppered them? I’m no apologist for Russia but when it comes to breaking deals and acting in bad faith I’m afraid it’s the other side that is grossly at fault.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Patrick Heren

Are you aware of the Minsk accord? Was it Russia that reneged on that? Are you aware of the undertaking not to move NATO eastwards? Was it Russia that reneged on that? Are you aware of fledgling peace talks that were scuppered? Was iit Russia that scuppered them? I’m no apologist for Russia but when it comes to breaking deals and acting in bad faith I’m afraid it’s the other side that is grossly at fault.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  Laurian Boer

When an army from a foreign power embarks on a war of conquest against a sovereign state, the only solution is the ejection of the invading army. Calls for both parties to negotiate are simply demands that the victims give up all or part of their territory to the aggressor. Why should they be expected to do that?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Does that apply to Palestine as well? Or is that an inconvenient comparison?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Jeez that’s exactly the kind of whataboutery that we know is used by those who can’t debate a point.

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Jeez that’s exactly the kind of whataboutery that we know is used by those who can’t debate a point.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Does that apply to Palestine as well? Or is that an inconvenient comparison?