Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Irish Neutrality and military alliances

by Frank Schnittger Tue May 24th, 2022 at 01:22:29 AM EST

The Irish Times: Neutrality and military alliances

A chara, - It has often been noted that generals tend to fight the battles of today with the weapons and strategies of the last war. Russia may be finding this out to its cost in the Ukraine.

Critics of Ireland's policy of neutrality and relative lack of military capability tend to call for us to join Nato or else to expend many billions of euro on fighters, tanks and ships to develop an independent capability to defend ourselves. /cont.

First, the notion that we could ever achieve a level of military capability sufficient to repel a major nuclear and conventional military power is laughable, not to mention the effect it would have of creating a very militarised society here.

Second, the possession of some such capability would make us more of a target for a potential military adversary, for fear of us directing that capability against them.

Far from making us more secure, it would therefore make us more vulnerable to attack.

Third, our neutrality, and relative lack of capability to attack others makes us more acceptable as a neutral, third-party, peacekeeping force, and a developmental partner who isn't using development aid as a cover for neo-colonial domination or arms sales.

Fourth, in a world evermore dominated by increasingly sophisticated and lethal weapons systems, the survival of the human race depends not on evermore arms purchases, but on developing our capabilities in diplomatic and peaceful conflict resolution, something we have some recognised expertise in.

But finally, and most importantly, the wars of tomorrow will increasingly be dominated by cyberwarfare, misinformation, and remote-controlled robotic, drone and missile technologies which bear little relationship to the battleships, aircraft carriers, bombers, fighter jets, tanks, and artillery of today.

If we must invest in increased military hardware and software, let it at least be appropriate to the real risks we will face in the future, and not some tokenistic homage to the defunct military strategies and weaponries of the past. - Is mise, FRANK SCHNITTGER

The invasion of Ukraine has led to a lot of soul searching about Ireland's policy of military neutrality. The policy arose at the time of the state's foundation in 1922 partly out of necessity. The state was bankrupt and had just gone through a bitter civil war. Centuries of resistance to British rule and the Great Famine had emptied the country of what little military capacity it had. It would not have been able to overcome a determined and well armed loyalist resistance in Northern Ireland had it sought to end partition at the time.

The 1932-38 trade war with the UK further eviscerated the country's ability to defend itself. But the bad feeling it left behind also shaped the determination of the new state not to do the UK's bidding when it came to the Second World War in 1939. 70 thousand Irishmen and some women joined the British armed forces partly because of the lack of any economic opportunities at home, but the state remained resolutely neutral. Not that it would have made much difference in any case. It's military capabilities were miniscule.

Behind the scenes the state provided valuable weather forecasting information which informed the D-day landings. British airmen who landed in Ireland were spirited across the border to N. Ireland, while German airmen were interned. But the public stance of neutrality was maintained, even to the point of an Taoiseach De Valera - a stickler for protocol - extending his condolences to the German ambassador on the death of Hitler. It was as much a statement of our independence from Britain as a sign of any support for Germany.

Ireland had joined the League of Nations in 1923 and the United Nations in 1955 to reinforce our status as an independent nation. It became an enthusiastic supporter of UN peace keeping missions and developed a reputation for being able to defuse very tense situations without resorting to military action. But its military budget remained tiny (c. 0.3% of GDP) with a complement of c. 10,000 service personnel. Its main roles included assisting the unarmed police force during the Troubles and against armed criminal gangs, UN peace Keeping missions, and fisheries protection. There was never a pretence we could defend ourselves against invasion by a foreign power.

Many have accused us of free-loading under the nuclear and military umbrella of the USA and NATO. But this protection, insofar as it exists, has been a mixed blessing. The USA has regularly used Shannon airport as a stopover for its troop deployments in Europe and the Middle east and allegedly for "extraordinary rendition" flights of captives to and from torture sites (always denied by the USA). Irish people have been very happy not to have been directly involved in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria and don't particularly want to pick a fight with Russia either.

Compared to the UK, there is a marked absence of a military culture with its the hierarchies and authoritarianism, and the fetishization of all the paraphernalia of militarism. There is no military industrial complex to speak of and the influence of the armed forces in public debate is miniscule. One of the great achievements of the Irish state was the development of an unarmed police force in the immediate aftermath of the civil war. It required the widespread development of the skills of non-violent conflict resolution which has stood us and our society well.

We are, of course, the beneficiaries of our geographical location far away from the current friction points in international relations (if you exclude the current EU/UK dispute over the Protocol!).  Were we located on the borders of the Russia, a different policy might be required. It is not that we are indifferent to the plight of the Ukraine - far from it - but it seems to me our best and most relevant contribution must be economic and humanitarian aid and sanctuary for Ukrainian refugees. We simply don't have the means to be of significant military assistance.

This has led to some scorn and derision chiefly from unionists in the North and Brexiteers in the UK who seem to see every conflict in terms of the projection of military power. They glory in their military support for Ukraine while taking in no refugees whatsoever. I don't want to see Ireland or the EU become that sort of country or alliance.

The EU is founded on a philosophy of making war unthinkable between member states by creating greater economic, social and political inter-dependencies. Some increased military capabilities may have to be developed to protect our external borders, but the primary focus must always be on developing good relations with our neighbours. The future of our continent and the planet depends on it.

As the USA and now Russia are discovering, no one wins wars any more. Everyone loses, and it is just a question of how much. Our challenge is to build a better peace where everyone's vital interests are protected and unnecessary provocations are avoided. It is not in Europe's interest to become entangled in a proxy war between nuclear superpowers for global hegemony.

Russia's war aims now seem restricted to hegemony over the Donbass region which will be a wasteland by the time the war is over. It is important that any gains they make there will be seen to be far outweighed by their costs. Ultimately some kind of peace will have to be negotiated and then the most urgent task will be to ensure that such a war of conquest is never attempted again. That is where the EU (and EU membership for Ukraine) can be of greatest influence and benefit to counter-act the polarising tendencies of NATO. Like Ireland, the EU's greatest strength is that it is not trying to become a military superpower.

Great rant Frank ... longing for a peaceful world after the two great wars devastating human kind across the globe and made Europe a wasteland. The failures of past decades have come home to haunt.

The EU-27 is more divided than ever, all to the advantage of Russia and the US ... policy of the last two presidents in the White House and the one-man ruler in the Kremlin.

The EU is founded on economic principles, has not a single voice on foreign policy and has no military power. Just like  under Churchill, Britain was the junior partner of America, so will Europe be a proxy and rely on the military might of the NATO alliance as America has designed it in Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11.

You are either with us ... or the enemy. No grey option in today's world. As the temperatures rise ... 🔥

Old Europe has gone, meet New Europe of Soviet frontline countries.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue May 24th, 2022 at 04:10:40 AM EST
"First, the notion that we could ever achieve a level of military capability sufficient to repel a major nuclear and conventional military power is laughable"

That is like arguing that Vermont can't defend itself. Ireland was lucky in WW2.

Extrapolating that strategy to current events seems like an example of "generals tend to fight the battles of today with the weapons and strategies of the last war."

by asdf on Tue May 24th, 2022 at 02:25:32 PM EST
So you are saying Vermont could repel a Russian invasion without federal assistance?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 24th, 2022 at 02:48:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he is saying that a EU member of insignificant military strength (Estonia, Malta, Ireland...) could not repel any invasion without federal assistance.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue May 24th, 2022 at 03:05:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct. Due to the incredible stupidity of humans, effective national defense now requires a huge budget both in money to be wasted and in people to be run through the meat grinder. The US, China, and Europe are roughly equivalent by those metrics, but Vermont and Ireland are not.
by asdf on Tue May 24th, 2022 at 03:55:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't have a problem with NATO membership if it didn't come with all the baggage of US foreign policy and the vicissitudes of domestic US politics. Victoria Nuland has a lot to answer for, and she will never be answerable to Ireland.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 24th, 2022 at 04:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One could imagine NATO gradually becoming obsolete if Europe took over the functions that the US currently provides. Plenty of people in the US would be happy if we no longer spent a bunch of money to prepare for WW2 version 2.
by asdf on Thu May 26th, 2022 at 12:44:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another reason why we need to house train Russia. We could never match their nuclear arsenal, nor would we want to.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 26th, 2022 at 08:15:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France has about the same nuclear arsenal as China. If China's enough to keep US away, France should be enough. Also Russia is downwind from most of EU so it would be hard to even dream of first strike wins.
by fjallstrom on Thu May 26th, 2022 at 09:14:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a young immigrant in the 1990s, I was shocked that the EU allowed a terrible war to happen on its doorstep in Yugoslavia.

France and Germany should have intervened conjointly to separate the belligerents in Croatia; they could have imposed an orderly secession, with future accession to the EU as incentive, and prevented most of the 140 000 deaths.

There are plenty of excuses why it didn't happen, but does anyone want to argue that it wouldn't have been a better outcome?

And ever since, I have been convinced that the EU needs an army. I'm as anti-militaristic as hell, but if you want to live in the real world, then you need to acknowledge that every sovereign entity needs to have the means to defend its existence.

I imagine there would be debates in Ireland about taking part in such an army, but I can't see any way around it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri May 27th, 2022 at 02:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think a two-pronged (at least) approach to national defense is needed. Obviously you need an army.

But then you need to make an equal (or larger) commitment to activities that promote peace. That includes a lot of things: disarmament, easing of tensions between countries, repudiating international economic factors that trigger hostilities.

In the case of the US border with Mexico, for example, the immediate problem is people wanting to escape bad economic and social conditions in Mexico. But a good deal of those bad economic conditions are the result of US policies regarding petroleum and subsidized farming and illegal weapons exports and drug imports. How can a small farmer in Mexico hope to compete with a gigantic government-subsidized industrial farm in Iowa, especially when every day he runs the risk of an encounter with a heavily-armed drug gang?

Admittedly, though, it is sort of hard to see what the west could have done to be more cooperative with Russia...

by asdf on Fri May 27th, 2022 at 05:21:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus being a case in point.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 24th, 2022 at 04:00:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Letter also published by the Irish Independent as their lead letter  here.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 24th, 2022 at 04:22:54 PM EST
This diary now also cross posted at Slugger O'Toole, N. Ireland's leading political blog-site, where it is generating some interesting discussion - including from a unionist/Brexiteer perspective.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 25th, 2022 at 07:54:50 AM EST
173 comments and counting on slugger. If only we could inspire that level of engagement here!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 25th, 2022 at 02:19:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Being from New Zealand, there would be a similar debate... if there was any debate at all.

Foreign policy for my country of origin consists mainly of refraining from criticising China (human rights, military expansionism...) because it's the principal trading partner, and because, for historical reasons, the traditional military "alliance" with the USA has been an arm's length affair for the last few days (nuclear powered/armed vessels not welcome)

Thus, AUKUS and not ANZUKUS.

So the lack of any serious military capacity is tacitly justified by the lack of any credible threat. And being nice to the Chinese.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed May 25th, 2022 at 08:07:05 AM EST
Well, we're still too militarised, with NZDF spending up large on big toys so they can have capabilities to offer for the next US war. When what we actually want them to do is disaster relief, search & rescue, peacekeeping, and corralling people who like to play with guns in Waiouru where they won't annoy the rest of us.
by IdiotSavant on Fri May 27th, 2022 at 10:19:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Fri May 27th, 2022 at 10:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Neutrality and military alliances
Thu May 26 2022 - 00:07

Sir, - Frank Schnittger (Letters, May 24th) claims that possessing a credible defence capability would make us more of a target for a potential military adversary.

If true, then why does Finland invest so heavily in both its civic and its military defence capability?

Mr Schnittger claims that fighter jets, tanks and artillery are the weapons of today, while cyberwarfare, misinformation, and drones are the weapons of tomorrow. Misinformation has always been a weapon of war, and cyberwarfare and drones have been weapons for several years now so they are already the weapons of today.

As Thomas Sowell said: "If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilisation, then be prepared to accept barbarism." Russia's invasion of Ukraine shows that every civilised country needs to invest in a credible defence capability to deter aggressive barbarians.

And if Finland, despite its defence capability, feels the need to join Nato, what should a country with a more paltry defence capability do? Countries that are unwilling or unable to provide a credible defence of their people should seek mutually defensive alliances with like-minded nations.

For Ireland, the logical conclusion is greater investment in our civic and military defence and Nato membership.- Yours, etc,


A Chara,- Jason Fitzpatrick (letters, 26th. May) misquotes me in order to make his point.  He claims I wrote: "that possessing a credible defence capability would make us more of a target for a potential military adversary"

I never used the word "credible".  In fact one of my main points was that even spending billions on the conventional weapons of today would not provide "a level of military capability sufficient to repel a major nuclear and conventional military power".

I went on to argue that "the possession of SOME (my word) such capability would make us more of a target for a potential military adversary, for fear of us directing that capability against them". The worst place to be is to be enough of a threat to be a nuisance, but not enough to deter or defeat.

Of course if we ever do come to the conclusion that an invasion by Russia is a realistic threat as Finland, in particular, has decided, then joining Nato might make sense. Many would argue that that is currently about as likely as an invasion by an ultra-nationalist UK government trying to drag us out of the EU and back into its sphere of influence. As the Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus showed, membership of Nato does not prevent or preclude aggressive actions against neighbouring states.

In the meantime, Jason Fitzpatrick might like to inform us which taxes he would increase or social programmes he would cut to fund the c. €7 Billion p.a. it would cost to bring our military spending up to the Nato target of 2% of GDP.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 26th, 2022 at 09:06:24 AM EST
A problem with cyberwarfare is that the people who are experts at it may be disproportionally gay, or overweight, or tattooed--thus disqualified for service in (at least the US) military. Interesting problem when you find that more than 3/4 of your cannon fodder aren't suitable.

It would be interesting to see a cost versus effectiveness comparison of, say, a jet fighter and its supporting cast compared to a malware development group.

by asdf on Thu May 26th, 2022 at 02:55:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spoehr manages to make a couple of points, but by and large I wouldn't trust the Heritage Foundation to make an honest assessment if you nailed the truth to their tongues.  Kids are out of shape so we need more sports programs, but he doesn't mention that sports don't necessarily lead to good physical health or that the Heritage Foundation routinely opposes funding for such community programs.  He says the Afghanistan withdrawal hurt recruiting, but he ignores that was a bomb that would eventually go off but the military did nothing to defuse it (He also ignores how unattractive the possibility of deployment to Afghanistan was to normal young person and the drawbacks of filling your ranks with rednecks who just want to "shoot up some ragheads".).  He says civic education is atrocious (He's right about that.), but he ignores that the Heritage Foundation is one of the leaders of blocking the teaching of actual history, as opposed to American Christian Exceptionalism.  He says kids think being in the military will interfere with college, but ignores that the real problem is that The Blessed St. Ronnie Ray-Gunz gutted the GI Bill.

So the Heritage Foundation thinks there is a recruitment shortage.  But the Heritage Foundation's policies both drive the need for more recruitment and undermine solutions to recruiting problems.

by rifek on Thu May 26th, 2022 at 06:14:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well of course you are correct about the Heritage Foundation. The original numbers came from the DOD and I should have quoted those.
by asdf on Thu May 26th, 2022 at 11:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If DOD would release its studies, and I certainly am not holding my breath.
by rifek on Sat May 28th, 2022 at 06:48:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The public fiasco with the Afghanistan withdrawal shook many Americans' confidence in the military."

IMO the Afghan defeat plays no role in recruitment

In About-Face, Army Expects to Shrink Next Year | DefenseOne - March 30, 2022 |

With unemployment low and inflation high, the Biden administration is proposing to give current service members a record pay raise while keeping the Army's budget about the same. 

To win more recruits, McConville said, his service needs to spread the Army word beyond the relatively small number of families whose young men and women have signed up in the past.

"Some people will talk about the Army and the military becoming a family business. A military family business. And I'm not so sure that's best for the nation," he said.

The vast majority--79 percent--of new recruits have a family member who served in the military. While only 10 percent of high schools in the U.S. have Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) programs, 49 percent of new recruits come from a high school with one--even if they didn't necessarily participate in the program. 

To McConville, all this means that being exposed to military service--via a family member or JROTC--greatly influences an interest in joining the military. And more Americans need this exposure. 

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri May 27th, 2022 at 09:24:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reagan Institute's national defense survey found the American people are continuing to lose confidence in the military | Military Times - Dec 1, 2021 |

Confidence in the military began to fall in 2019, from 70% to 63%, and then down to 56% earlier this year. In the nine months since that last survey, confidence dropped down to 45%, the sharpest decline and the lowest level of confidence in the military since the survey began.

Along party lines, every group reported a declining confidence, but it was more stark for Republicans: a 17% drop versus 9% for independents and 6% for Democrats.

When asked to elaborate on their choices, it came down to two camps: Those who are confident in the military report they are so because of confidence in service members, while those who aren't confident have several reasons why, without a clear prevailing opinion.

"But political leadership is at the top of that list," Hoff said. "So that could range from anything from presidents of the United States ― whether that's the current president, the previous president ― it could range from the way that our political leaders, say in Congress, talk about the military, the politicization of military leadership more broadly."

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri May 27th, 2022 at 09:25:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I mentioned in my original post, the entire Afghanistan nation-building farce was a ticking bomb.  DOD could have gotten out in front of it and pushed politicians for meaningful goals (and prepared the public when those goals were not forthcoming), but instead DOD just rode the gravy train for nearly 20 years, and when it blew up just went, "Wow, who could have seen THAT coming?"
by rifek on Sat May 28th, 2022 at 06:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
South Ossetia-Georgia-Ukraine stems from VP Cheney leaning on George Bush in the mansion of Ceausescu at the NATO Bucharest Summit in 2008 where a declaration of war was handed to Vladimir Putin.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat May 28th, 2022 at 02:48:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a set rule that when someone cites "Uncle Tom" Sowell as an authority, I know meaningful conversation is impossible.  Sowell's entire career has been built on being a token for RethugliKKKons.
by rifek on Thu May 26th, 2022 at 05:35:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A least one supportive letter!

Don't condemn our youth to cannon fodder like in WWI. Third letter down.

I agree fully with Frank Schnittger's letter (`Multiple reasons why neutral Ireland should not arm up', Irish Independent, May 24).

His view that our neutrality and relative capability to attack others makes us more acceptable as a third-party peacekeeping force and development partner who is not using aid as a cover for a neo-colonial past.

We should heed the words of Mahatma Gandhi, which were recalled in the editorial of the Irish Independent on April 12.

He said that "the dead and homeless are indifferent whether they died at the hands of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy".

If we were to join Nato, we would be condemning our youth to be cannon fodder as happened in World War I when we were led by John Redmond MP, who believed that if we joined the British Army it would lead to Home Rule.

There is a book by Michael MacDonagh that is a call to arms, written in 1916 and with a 14-page cringe-inducing introduction by Redmond.

He quotes General James Patrick Mahon, who led the 10th Irish Division at Suvla Bay. Mahon, in one of his statements from the deck of a ship in the bay, said of his troops: "What they all desired was to get in close grips with the Turks. How they hungered for the wild exultation of the bayonet charge and the shock of man to man in the deadly encounter."

Another cringe-maker was the latter, when he said: "The empire can do with a heap more `freshies' [a name for recruits] of the Irish brand. Their landing was the greatest thing you will ever read in books."

Redmond's final statement reads as follows: "Those brave sons in the field need not fear for the honour they have won for their country."

The last thing we need is a current politician coming out with a similar appeal.

Hugh Duffy, Cleggan, Co Galway

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu May 26th, 2022 at 10:35:31 AM EST
Letter also published by the Irish News, a Belfast based paper, as well (second letter down, below a letter calling for the re-unification of Britain and Ireland!)

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 27th, 2022 at 08:32:25 AM EST
Referendum today

Russia's war in Ukraine has pushed Finland and Sweden to apply to join NATO, and now Denmark -- already a member of the military alliance -- is considering scrapping its EU opt-out on security and defense.

On Wednesday, Danes will vote in a referendum on the future of the opt-out, which has been in place for 30 years.

The Danish government is in favor of abolishing the opt-out. "We have a Europe before the 24th of February and after the 24th of February when Russia started the illegal war against Ukraine," Foreign Affairs Minister Jeppe Kofod told POLITICO, adding that getting rid of the opt-out would be a "strong signal" of a united Europe.

The polls suggest a solid lead for the "Yes" campaign. But experts say it will be a close race, with "No" votes expected to go up in the final days as the 20 to 30 percent of undecided voters make their decision. The deciding factor could be the Euroskeptics.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jun 1st, 2022 at 09:49:28 AM EST
Not being an expert on European history, I wonder what phase of "re-running WW2" we are at now.

Gradually defining two groups of allies on opposite sides, increasing armament production and recruitment, hardening diplomatic positions, setting out more "red lines."

Turkey's future is becoming interesting, for example, but I don't know the 1930s comparison.

by asdf on Wed Jun 1st, 2022 at 02:31:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Turkey stayed neutral during WWII.
Given that WWI put an end to the Ottoman empire, that was pretty sensible.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jun 1st, 2022 at 03:50:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am more looking to the stumbling towards war in the years leading up to world war one. Anything but a short war - the boys will be home by Christmas - was considered impossible by many, as all sides would lose so much. Ah well, at least they didn't have nukes.

Given the opportunistic Turkish attacks on its neighbours, I would say Turkey is more in the role of the Ottoman empire before world war one, angling to use the conflicts to increase its power. To illustrate, I didn't know until today that Turkey started a special military operation in Iraq (the Iraqis might call it an invasion) in April.

by fjallstrom on Wed Jun 1st, 2022 at 07:45:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey has been a combatant in Syria since the beginning of NATO's mission to dislodge Assad. While ISRAEL arial assualt against real and imagined Iran cadres in Syria and Iraq continues, Turkey remains very active on the Syria-Iraq borderlands--mobilizing, deploying, and supplying ISIL/ISIS/DAESH militias sheltering in Idlib to repel both Kurdish and Syrian gov armies.

That's why I read South Front.

by Cat on Wed Jun 1st, 2022 at 09:44:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, so Turkey is pursuing NATO goals in Syria!!
Seriously, that's my first laugh of the day.

Rule 1 in international relations : Everything is the fault of US imperialism.
Rule 2 : If that doesn't make any sense, see rule 1.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jun 2nd, 2022 at 08:40:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One amusing consideration is the incredible inefficiency of US imperialism. After a century of it, the US has yet to add anything substantial in terms of conquered territory.
by asdf on Thu Jun 2nd, 2022 at 02:43:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The corporations that drive our imperialism are pretty insistent that political control be indirect.  They want their offshore operations to remain safely off shore.
by rifek on Thu Jun 2nd, 2022 at 03:51:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sputnik | Sri Lanka Detains Russian Aeroflot Plane, 3 June
"The departure of Aeroflot Flight SU289 from Colombo to Moscow on 02.06.2022 was delayed and further cancelled due to the lack of permission from the Sri Lankan aviation authorities. The court hearing on lifting the arrest of the aircraft is scheduled for 8 June 2022", Aeroflot's press service said.
Earlier, a Colombo court issued a verdict on the detention of the Aeroflot plane, which did not receive a flight permit on Thursday, until 16 June. The decision was made in connection with a complaint filed by the leasing company Celestial Aviation Trading Limited from Ireland. Aeroflot has 12 Airbus A330 aircraft in its fleet. In May, the company bought eight aircraft from foreign owners.
Gulf News | Sri Lanka detains Russian aeroplane, 2 June
"The Aeroflot Airbus A330 - which had arrived from Moscow earlier in the day - was not allowed to return following an order from Colombo Commercial Court, said an official for Bandaranaike International Airport"
SimplyFlying.com | Aeroflot Airbus A330 Detained In Sri Lanka, 3 June
"Following its invasion of Ukraine, foreign lessors had to terminate contracts with Russian operators due to the sanctions imposed on the country. [...] Meanwhile, a new report from Reuters says that five Russian airlines have returned more than two dozen leased airplanes to foreign lessors in the last few months."
Reuters | Five Russian airlines have returned leased jets -document, 1 June
The sanctions barred Russia from receiving planes, parts and maintenance and aircraft leasing companies asked Moscow to return jets under lease, a move that threatened to halt air transportation across Russia.
o protect domestic flights, Russia seized hundreds of planes owned by foreign leasing companies, putting them on the country's aircraft register.
"The fate of the planes seized abroad is unknown to us," Nordwind said in a written reply to Reuters, declining further comment.
Some of Russia's top airlines, including state airline Aeroflot (AFLT.MM), have opened special rouble accounts at domestic banks to deposit cash for jets under lease, and lessors will be able to claim the money once sanctions are lifted
by Cat on Fri Jun 3rd, 2022 at 01:35:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The character of imperialism and empire, you are vulnerable to lose more than gaining. So when you didn't succeed in Cold War 1.0 ... why change policy, just go ahead with Cold War 2.0. Old warriors never die .... as a matter of fact they don't fade away. Rebirth to make the same mistakes ... taking Europe down, their sole alliance left beyond Five Eyes.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jun 2nd, 2022 at 07:07:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps a difference is that Cold War 1.0 was the direct result of severe aggression against the USSR by Germany. The anti-NATO argument for the current war is pretty weak: NATO has not done much in the way of aggression.
by asdf on Fri Jun 3rd, 2022 at 02:30:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jun 3rd, 2022 at 06:02:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Imperium is as imperium does.

I have no doubt that when future historians draw maps over this time period (assuming there are future historians) most of the map will be colored to reflect US dominance. These maps condense complicated political and legal relationships into dominance.

For example, classic map of the situation at the eve of the first punic war:

Roman republic in red to the right, versus grey Carthage. (Syracuse in green). Simple isn't it?

However, looking at the situation on the Italian peninsula at a later point:

Here Roman and roman colonies are green, while its Latin allies are pink and red. Most of Rome on the Rome vs Carthage isn't Rome at all. Because the map above showed dominance, not legal and political entities (one can argue that all entities are about dominance, but that is a longer discussion).

So what about the US empire?

Here is the US dominated world (blue and green) in 1953 after the european colonial empires has largely destroyed and weakened each other:

That is some empire right there. Sure, if you go into the details there is overlapping political and legal and economic relationships, but in the end they spell out US dominance. Just like the Rome above. Then in the following 70 years, you have some expansion (most notably with the Societ collapse) and some defections and request here and there. And now incresingly it looks like the empire will collapse form its own internal contradictions and environmental degradation.

Sure it was easier with empires that loudly proclaimed themselves as such and printed postcars of the areas where their dominance was established, preferably in a nice color:

The US empire prefers to keep its hand hidden and hates when its hands are showed to be strongly influencing nominally independent governments (see cablegate and the persecution of Assange). This doesn't mean that there isn't power in capitals around the world, just as there was other power centres then Rome in the Roman empire, it just means that as long as the empire lasts other power centres has limited freedom of action.

by fjallstrom on Mon Jun 6th, 2022 at 12:16:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see Ireland is a grey area! This comment is worthy of a diary in its own right.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 6th, 2022 at 10:24:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That map is from 1953, when the US empire was probably at its greatest extent, and when the Cold War was in full swing. Empires come and go, that's for sure.
by asdf on Mon Jun 6th, 2022 at 11:10:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd dispute that. Since 1953 the Non-aligned movement has been destroyed, China and the USSR parted ways and finally the USSR itself collapsed and was effectively turned into a US colony. If I'd have to time the "greatest extent" of the US empire I'd go for 2000-2010ish.
by generic on Tue Jun 7th, 2022 at 11:23:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure I buy the proposition that Russia is a US colony. China and Europe are (were) the primary purchasers of Russian petroleum products.

There is obviously an ebb and flow of smaller countries that change their geopolitical alignments over time.

by asdf on Tue Jun 7th, 2022 at 01:28:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Is" would be a stretch, but "was" is pretty solid. You had Larry Summers write Yeltsin's laws for him while something like four million people died in destitution. Like half the ghouls on Twitter that are now deeply concerned about Russia's fall into barbarism got rich on the loot they carried off.
by generic on Tue Jun 7th, 2022 at 04:34:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]