Clean hands

Nato Conference Room

FitzJamesHorse pithily describes the formality that Irish is the “first national language” as Ireland’s “first national hypocrisy”. But Ireland is not short of hypocrisies. Its second national hypocrisy has long been the pretence that Ireland is somehow free of the sin of abortion. And to this list we should add a third, the conceit that Ireland is a “neutral country”. The second and third national hypocrisies are remarkably similar. In both cases Ireland has dodged a controversial issue by washing … Read more

If Brexit means Brexit, the UK Can’t Block an EU Army

“This is not going to happen. We are full members of the EU and we will go on resisting any attempt to set up a rival to NATO.” Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon’s response to proposals for an EU army discussed at the Bratislava summit ‘informal gathering’ of EU Heads of Government (minus Theresa May), reported in The Times yesterday cannot be, if Brexit means Brexit, anything other than a denial of reality. If government statements are honest, then the … Read more

Ukraine Crisis: the folly of false historical analogies

The ceasefire in Ukraine seems to be sort of holding. No one, however, seems terribly optimistic that peace is going to come. Certainly there is no sign of the displaced refugees returning home. The conflict has repeatedly been portrayed as a binary good vs. bad situation analogous to the most simplistic of cowboy films by the West with the only dissent tending to be from the usual suspects (such as John Pilger here – that said good to see the … Read more

Ukrainian crisis: it hasn’t gone away

The conflict in Gaza seems to have largely pushed that in Ukraine off international consciousness. The Guardian, however, reports that the Ukrainian government have been making steady gains against the pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country. The west has become somewhat quieter about the downing of the Malaysian airliner MH 17 over the last couple of weeks and the Americans seem to have accepted that it was a mistake. The internet is still awash with conspiracy theories about … Read more

“It is highly unlikely that channel will get any airing in San Sebastián this week.”

As of yet, there’s been no response from Basque terrorist group ETA to the declaration by the great and the good Former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, former Norwegian Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Bruntland, Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Former French Minister, Pierre Joxe, International Representative for west Belfast Louth, Gerry Adams, TD, and… ermm… his sometime speech-writer, Tony Blair’s former Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell.  That’s despite it being what the BBC described as a “carefully choreographed” event. Not that I’d expect … Read more

Time to end the war in Afghanistan?

Yesterday was the deadliest day so far for the United States of its 10-year war in Afghanistan, as thirty members of the American special forces were killed when the Taliban shot down a Chinook helicopter. That brings the US death toll since the start of the conflict to over 1,000. The UK has lost over 300. Afghanistan: countless thousands (ISAF / NATO hasn’t cared to count too closely). This year, the projected total cost to the US relating to Afghanistan is … Read more

“Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics…”

Over a month after US President Barack Obama’s unilateral decision to authorize US forces to use missile strikes “kinetic military action” against Libya without the approval of Congress, and the UN withdraws from Tripoli as its offices, and other foreign missions, are attacked in the aftermath of a NATO air strike on one of Muammar Gadafy’s homes. In addition, “world leaders and security experts have urged renewed vigilance against retaliatory attacks” after President Obama authorised a targeted killing, of Osama bin Laden, on Pakistani soil – … Read more