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Thread: Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

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    Default Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

    Two of my Irish aunts served as nurses in the British Army in WWII and an Irish uncle served in the British merchant navy. The uncle experienced the horror of two of his ships being torpedoed. Britain's merchant marine saw huge casualties from U Boats,with the loss of around half a million lives according to one estimate. I'm proud of the adventurous spirit of these Irish relatives and of other Irish people like them who served in the great cause of defending western democracy against fascist Germany and its allies. With the wartime boom in the Irish economy,these people could have stayed at home. In my village,even the humble occupation of snaring rabbits was highly profitable with a huge sum of around 10 shillings a rabbit,which ended up in the top London restaurants.

    I am not proud of the Irish government's policy of cowardly neutrality during the euphemistic "Emergency" as it was called.Had the German fascists defeated Britain,Ireland would have been conquered immediately. Ireland was a defence freeloader,depending on Britain to defend the country but doing nothing to help. Nicholas Monsarrat in his novel "The Cruel Sea" said that the sailors in the merchant navy were very bitter at "Irish eyes are smiling" while their ships were being sunk because the Royal Navy lacked access to Irish ports.

    At best, Irish neutrality in WWII can be considered a selfish, pragmatic policy to keep the country out of the war. I view it as an embittered piece of narrow Republican nationalism that ignored the need to take a stand in defence of the European democracies. Since the war,many Irish political leaders and many Irish people,instead of being ashamed of our neutralism in WWII,seem to regard it as a great diplomatic and foreign policy achievement.

    Today,the persistence of this thinking is hampering efforts to engage in the mutual defence of EU countries with which we are supposedly engaged in "ever closer union". There would be nothing honourable in cowardly hiding under the bed in the event that men and women from other EU countries went to war in our place.

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    Default Re: Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

    Irish neutrality, as opposed to actual neutrality, seems more to based on a "peace on Earth, goodwill to man" outlook - as opposed to the "come near us and die" outlook of the Swiss and Swedes.
    FG have said that they're not wedded to strict neutrality, and I think a mature debate on the issue is overdue, if it possible to address it maturely in this country.
    "Unless you are an absolute pacifist, then you acknowledge that there are times when taking up arms is appropriate."
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    Politics.ie Member wombat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

    Waste of time even raising the issue, people like neutrality. Reminds me of a story of 2 Irish guys in WWII in an RAF bomber over Germany arguing about Dev - "Say what you like about him, at least he kept us out of this"
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    Default Re: Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

    I was always amazed at people so attachd to Irish neutrality when it would be very generious to call it neutrality at all.

    What we did during WWII was a disgrace, and I've never understood the concept of neutrality anyway, it striks me as being very immoral to be neutral in every situation.
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    Politics.ie Member merle haggard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

    Quote Originally Posted by patslatt
    Two of my Irish aunts served as nurses in the British Army in WWII and an Irish uncle served in the British merchant navy. The uncle experienced the horror of two of his ships being torpedoed. Britain's merchant marine saw huge casualties from U Boats,with the loss of around half a million lives according to one estimate. I'm proud of the adventurous spirit of these Irish relatives and of other Irish people like them who served in the great cause of defending western democracy against fascist Germany and its allies. With the wartime boom in the Irish economy,these people could have stayed at home. In my village,even the humble occupation of snaring rabbits was highly profitable with a huge sum of around 10 shillings a rabbit,which ended up in the top London restaurants.

    I am not proud of the Irish government's policy of cowardly neutrality during the euphemistic "Emergency" as it was called.Had the German fascists defeated Britain,Ireland would have been conquered immediately. Ireland was a defence freeloader,depending on Britain to defend the country but doing nothing to help. Nicholas Monsarrat in his novel "The Cruel Sea" said that the sailors in the merchant navy were very bitter at "Irish eyes are smiling" while their ships were being sunk because the Royal Navy lacked access to Irish ports.

    At best, Irish neutrality in WWII can be considered a selfish, pragmatic policy to keep the country out of the war. I view it as an embittered piece of narrow Republican nationalism that ignored the need to take a stand in defence of the European democracies. Since the war,many Irish political leaders and many Irish people,instead of being ashamed of our neutralism in WWII,seem to regard it as a great diplomatic and foreign policy achievement.

    Today,the persistence of this thinking is hampering efforts to engage in the mutual defence of EU countries with which we are supposedly engaged in "ever closer union". There would be nothing honourable in cowardly hiding under the bed in the event that men and women from other EU countries went to war in our place.


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    Default Re: Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

    Quote Originally Posted by Bedstore
    Would abstention from EU involvement in a hypothetical conflict in the middle east also be cowardice ?
    It's mutual defence,not aggression. It would be a justifiable defence to wage war on Iran if its fanatical revolutionary Islamist governing clique should try to develop nuclear weapons. European cities would be within the range of medium rage missiles based in Iran.

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    Default Re: Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

    Quote Originally Posted by patslatt
    Quote Originally Posted by Bedstore
    Would abstention from EU involvement in a hypothetical conflict in the middle east also be cowardice ?
    It's mutual defence,not aggression. It would be a justifiable defence to wage war on Iran if its fanatical revolutionary Islamist governing clique should try to develop nuclear weapons. European cities would be within the range of medium rage missiles based in Iran.
    There are measures less inflamatory than bombing runs.
    "Unless you are an absolute pacifist, then you acknowledge that there are times when taking up arms is appropriate."
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    Default Re: Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

    Neutrality during WW II saved Irish lives. The Luftwaffe had over a thousand fighters, while Ireland had three. Its bombers would have reduced Dublin and other cities to rubble.

    Our army was no match for theirs and we had no navy. What exactly was Ireland supposed to do? When the worlds imperial powers go to war, the best thing to do is stay out of their way and let them get on with it.

    We may not have fought against Hitler, but we should be proud that we did not aid Stalin in his take over of Eastern Europe.
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    Default Re: Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

    Quote Originally Posted by fergalr
    Irish neutrality, as opposed to actual neutrality, seems more to based on a "peace on Earth, goodwill to man" outlook - as opposed to the "come near us and die" outlook of the Swiss and Swedes.
    FG have said that they're not wedded to strict neutrality, and I think a mature debate on the issue is overdue, if it possible to address it maturely in this country.
    Sweden throughout the 1930s almost uniquely among democracies recognised the threat from German fascism and acted on it by increasing military spending massively,at around 30% a year if I remember correctly. The Swedes were publicly very critical of the human rights abuses of the German fascists.

    Sweden was criticised for supplying Germany with iron ore and raw materials during the war but it was either that or face invasion from occupied Norway.

    Hitler left Switzerland alone, possibly because of its large German population,but also because it was very well defended.Uniquely in Europe, it maintains universal conscription. All the mountain roads are covered by numerous fortified artillery emplacements in the mountains that would be impossible to take out without massive casualties.

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    Default Re: Neutralism for EU members is cowardice

    Quote Originally Posted by patslatt
    Quote Originally Posted by fergalr
    Uniquely in Europe, it maintains universal conscription. All the mountain roads are covered by numerous fortified artillery emplacements in the mountains that would be impossible to take out without massive casualties.
    The only other democracy (careful, lefties..) that does the same, to my knowledge, is Israel.
    "Unless you are an absolute pacifist, then you acknowledge that there are times when taking up arms is appropriate."
    - cactusflower

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