View Poll Results: Do you believe that the EU should form its own military?

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  • Yes

    38 43.68%
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Thread: An EU Army - For or Against ?

  1. #31
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    German minister calls for Lisbon treaty EU army


    Quote Originally Posted by Lapsedmethodist View Post
    throw our weight around
    Fascism is alive and well in Europe it would appear.
    "Do not be misled by the promises of politicians. Remember that the whole history of Ireland is a record of betrayals by politicians and statesmen, and remembering this, spurn their lying promises and stand up for a United Ireland - an Ireland broad based upon the union of Labour and Nationality." - James Connolly.

  2. #32
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lapsedmethodist View Post
    For example ?
    Sorry for the delay.
    We are the first post colonial nation of the British empire.
    We are very much primus inter pares in that respect and that gives us disproportionate influence.

    We had a virtual export industry in the 60's and 70's sending senior councils and judges to other post imperial nations as advisors on how to establish government systems.

    Traditionally in education, it was more politically acceptable for post imperial african states to send their students to Ireland than to the UK.

    Neutrality and an independent foreign policy were, and remain, key aspects of the way we are percieved around the world.

    Still with education, the Irish catholic church set up premier schools throughout the former empire such as St. Augustines in Ghana and St Patricks in Lahore, it is worth noting that the last three leaders of Pakistan were educated in Irish Catholic establishments.

    We have, as a soverign nation unencumbered by military alliance the ability to do business with other countries, and long may it remain so.

  3. #33
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Simonj:- none of what you said stopped us signing the UN Charter which binds us to going to the aid of fellow UN members and that's just for starters. Secondly, that world is now unrecognisable with none of the areas of dispute owing anything to colonialism and the UN in the grip of either the Permanent Security Council or a large group of nations who have nothing in common bar a hatred of Israel.
    The question remains... if another Sarajevo occurred, who do you want to send as a relief ? Dithering means NATO - under its American domination as no-one is going to sit around and wait for the UN to compromise.
    Thirdly, what about the soldiers themselves ? How many of them want to be sent on missions where they're virtually unable to defend themselves never mind make a difference. Should they suffer so that civilians can feel good about themselves, all the while tut-tutting about casualties ?

  4. #34
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Given that Irish soldiers are unlikely to want to find themselves as part of an EU army legitimising the partition of Palestine and being used by the Israelis as cloud cover I'd say being UN peacekeepers is the better option.

    In the UN report on the Israeli attack on the flotilla it was pointed out that Israel under international law has a responsibility to ensure that the human rights of those within blockaded Gaza are upheld. As well as being responsible for human rights violations in the murder of flotilla activists when they chose to open fire from helicopters at unarmed people on the decks.

    The fog clears a little on Israel's attempt to involve the EU in doing their dirty work for them in partitioned Palestine- it would be a get-out clause under international law if the Israelis were able to pin responsibility for those under blockade on EU troops.

    The last people Irish soldiers should be listening to are Israel supporters.
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Con O'Sullivan View Post
    Given that Irish soldiers are unlikely to want to find themselves as part of an EU army legitimising the partition of Palestine and being used by the Israelis as cloud cover I'd say being UN peacekeepers is the better option.

    In the UN report on the Israeli attack on the flotilla it was pointed out that Israel under international law has a responsibility to ensure that the human rights of those within blockaded Gaza are upheld. As well as being responsible for human rights violations in the murder of flotilla activists when they chose to open fire from helicopters at unarmed people on the decks.

    The fog clears a little on Israel's attempt to involve the EU in doing their dirty work for them in partitioned Palestine- it would be a get-out clause under international law if the Israelis were able to pin responsibility for those under blockade on EU troops.

    The last people Irish soldiers should be listening to are Israel supporters.
    Well considering that the Leb/ Israel border is being mooted as the next o'seas mission, you're a bit off there as regards where Irish soldiers will end up. And why do you assume that the (an ? ) EU army would be used to provide cover for Israel ? I thought that that was Americas job description.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Are the Israelis not trying to foster a closer relationship with the EU in between using its citizens' passports to carry out assassinations?

    Did they not attempt to suggest that the EU play an enhanced role in Gaza recently? The only reason Israel would suggest something like that is the uncomfortable knowledge that they are responsible for upholding the human rights of those they are blockading under international law and are looking for some dupe to lay that liability off for them...

    On the subject of the EU army and Irish involvement the pro-Lisbon posters spent much time pointing out that it would be unconstitutional and that the Irish constitution would mean that Ireland would not be expected to be involved in any putative EU army.

    Or was that just another convenient lie in a sea of similar lies? In which case the EU and pro-Lisbon people make ideal bedfellows for the rogue state.
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    When it comes to promises on neutrality policy with regards the constitution, we saw Bertie break a promise and sign us into the PfP - NATO lite - with no referendum.

    With regards overseas deployment with a UN mandate, that is an entirely different matter to an EU force.

    I would disagree with you on one major point Lapsed, a lot of conflict in Africa and Asia stems from the post colonial legacy, Israel being just one - India/Pakistan is obviously the most worrying because of the potential use of nuclear weapons.
    But throughout the former British empire there are other countries, created on the basis of imperial administrative reasons where, sadly, tensions do come to the fore.

    If anything the Francophone colonies are just as bad if not worse, the two Belgian colonies Rwanda and DRC being tragic examples.

    There are too many examples to cover all such conflicts, but even in recent times the Soviet Union was an empire, and there we see tensions in Georgia, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan and Khyrgizstan.

    Being part of an EU army would not in my opinion have stopped Sarajevo, which was partially caused by failures in the NATO/UN command structure.
    Even now there are problems in operations in Afghanistan and a disjoint between UK/US forces and the other NATO forces. The Dutch and I believe the Spanish withdrew, the Germans are unwilling to station troops in regions like Helmand.

    Any Irish overseas deployment must have a clear mandate and a clear chain of command, with the final say on deployment and rules of engagement resting with overall command remaining firmly Irish

  8. #38
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Wow ... there's a huge amount to talk about on this topic as contributors have already shown. For my part, I think that there are three primary issues for us here in Ireland to think about when we're discussing security structures:

    1. What are our strategic international interests and how are these interests served by varying degrees of engagement with existing military and foreign policy structures?

    2. What are the EU's strategic interests? Are these diferent to our own and if so, how? How are these interests served?

    3. Given that CFSP (Common Foreign and Security Policy) and battlegroup deployment decisions are made, in the first instance, on the basis of unanimity within the EU's institutions to what extent could (or should!) Ireland frustrate or enable the development of specific competences by the EU in these areas?

    As regards Ireland's strategic international interests, I would argue that our first interest is to work for increasing weight to be given to international law, the courts necessary to adjuducate that body of law and the development of the necessary capacity, including military capacity, to enforce the judgments of those courts as well as a wider respect for international law. What depresses me most about Guido Westerwelle's comments (and those of the militarists in NATO and in certain parts of the EU) is that they continue to perceive the resolution of competing interests between nation states through the prism of military might and one's readiness to deploy it. That is a profoundly mistaken approach that leads to immoral and often illegal military adventurism. Such an approach raises tensions, deepens injustice and reduces our security. The bogus "War on Terror" is a clear example of this dynamic. Ireland's strategic interets are best served by working to strengthen international law and the institutions that are necessary to apply and enforce it. That applies with respect to the UN and other global bodies as well as to the European Union.

    On the second area I raised. Notwithstanding the musings of Westerwelle and other militarists, there is no compelling evidence that the EU's strategic interests (for stablility in our near abroad, the security of resource supplies or the projection of the rule of international law) require a standing EU army. Whatever they might say, European leaders don't really buy into this nonsense either. The thinness of the militarist's positon was illustrated when the former NATO Sec Gen was moved to comment in his valedictory speech that, in spite of warm words and repeated assurances from European political leaders, the integration of NATO and the EU had moved no further forward at all during his term of offfice. This illustrates the real problem for NATO and the Atlanticists within EU governments and Departments of Defence, namely the question of the continuing relevance of NATO. At the end of the Cold War, NATO sought to reinvent itself as some kind of world policeman. A more "cuddly" NATO won early praise in the Balkans, but the unsustainability of this new posture has been laid cruelly bare with the catastrophic entanglement in Afghanistan. Once more, in spite of "... warm words and repeated assurances from European political leaders" the US continues to complain that its European allies have failed to shoulder their "fair share" of body bags, troops, equipment and finance. All of this should serve to warn us against relying too much on what people like Westerwelle say, and instead, cause us to focus much more on what they actually are able to deliver and, so far, that's not very much. In my view, the EU's strategic interests are best served in much the same way that Ireland's are, i.e. by "... by the increasing weight being given to international law, the courts necessary to adjuducate that body of law and the capacity, including military capacity, to enforce the judgments of those courts and wider respect for international law."

    That brings me to the final area I identified, Ireland's role and influence in these matters within the institutions of the EU. I do not think that there is any serious appetite amongst the governments of the EU member states to cede responsibility for defence matters to the EU. The statement of the European Council this week asking Catherine Ashton to explore this spoke volumes about the leaders' reluctance to commit to any meaningful pooling of sovereignty on this matter never mind anything as dramatic as an EU army. This, however, is Ireland's opportunity. I believe that we should do more than simply rely upon our veto to remain outside any future proposed defence structures. We should instead use our position (including the veto if necessary) to insist that any military integration that does take place at the EU level must only happen on the basis of very specific conditions ... the Petersburg Tasks, UN Charter, unanimity in the Council and a positive vote in the European Parliament.

    Blithely remaining outside of the room while such discussions take place is not a credible option for Ireland as it does not serve our strategic interests, which depend upon the extension of international law and humanitarian norms across the globe. Such a posture runs the risk of reducing our talk of "solidarity" to little more than a self-indulgence and would reveal our actual position of relative indifference to the real issues of poverty and oppression in the world and how they can be combatted.

  9. #39
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Con O'Sullivan View Post
    On the subject of the EU army and Irish involvement the pro-Lisbon posters spent much time pointing out that it would be unconstitutional and that the Irish constitution would mean that Ireland would not be expected to be involved in any putative EU army.

    Or was that just another convenient lie in a sea of similar lies? In which case the EU and pro-Lisbon people make ideal bedfellows for the rogue state.
    That's some jump to make in trying to tar Lisbon supporters with support for apartheid Israel, and I for one resent the accusation.

    For the record, Ireland is bound by law that its troops cannot be deployed overseas except through the mechanism of the triple-lock. That is the law, my friend, and it is very clear indeed as to the mechanism that must be followed. Furthermore, Ireland has a clear-cut, concrete and immovable veto on its own participation in any defence structures or deployments that the EU or any group of member states may engage in. That is treaty law and it protects our position for as long as we wish it to.

    In both domestic and European law, Ireland's defence policy is very strictly our own concern. When it comes to perfidy with respect to our much-vaunted neutrality you need to look much closer to home than Brussels.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    A paper prepared in NUI Galway on Irish neutality makes some interesting points:-
    http://www.nuigalway.ie/law/GSLR/

    I don't know how to post PDF links so you'll have to scroll down and click the neutrality paper yerselves, if that's not too much trouble.

  11. #41
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lapsedmethodist View Post
    A paper prepared in NUI Galway on Irish neutality makes some interesting points:-
    http://www.nuigalway.ie/law/GSLR/

    I don't know how to post PDF links so you'll have to scroll down and click the neutrality paper yerselves, if that's not too much trouble.
    Very interesting article ... well-researched, balanced and informative. I was particularly struck by this paragraph on p166 of the article:

    In the post Cold War era, “security” tends to focus more on the long-term prevention of conflict. It also de-emphasises military forces. “Defence” is likewise a changing concept, with less emphasis on mutual security and deterrence. Instead, defence has been approached in the context of CESDP [Common European Security and Defence Policy], concentrating on the military aspects of international crisis management. The present European security environment requires more security action than defence action.

    Ireland, in line with its traditional foreign goals, is an active collective security actor, with a desire to promote both global and European peace and security. As Daniel Keohane opines, Ireland may be “military neutral” about defence but it is not “military neutral” about security. And Patrick Keating observes that “where co-operative security is concerned there is precious little to be neutral about. Nothing is achieved by abstention.”

    Thus, a better description of Irish security and defence policy would be non-alignment, not neutrality. Nonalignment still means that Ireland is not a member of a collective or mutual defence alliance, such as NATO. But non-alignment does not imply, as military neutrality does, that Ireland is not prepared to use force or deploy its troops for collective security and crisis management operations.

    The utilitarian nature of neutrality has enabled this realignment. Its commitment of up to 850 troops to the ERRF [European Rapid Reaction Force] represents tangible evidence of how far Ireland has come in realigning its neutrality.

  12. #42
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Intersting blog article (in French) that purports to reveal private discussions held at a recent informal meeting of EU defence ministers with Catherine Ashton.

    Given the subject of this thread, the most intersting comment was that of the Austrian minister, Norbert Darabos, who said in an Austrian TV interview after the meeting, " A European army is as realistic as the abolition of celibacy in the Catholic Church.".

    Note; I can't appear to get the hotlink to work so here is the full URL:
    http://www.bruxelles2.eu/europe-de-la-defense/defense-ue-droit-doctrine-politique/petites-phrases-prononcees-a-linformelle-defense.html[/url]

  13. #43
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Quote Originally Posted by PES activist View Post
    Intersting blog article (in French) that purports to reveal private discussions held at a recent informal meeting of EU defence ministers with Catherine Ashton.

    Given the subject of this thread, the most intersting comment was that of the Austrian minister, Norbert Darabos, who said in an Austrian TV interview after the meeting, " A European army is as realistic as the abolition of celibacy in the Catholic Church.".

    Note; I can't appear to get the hotlink to work so here is the full URL:
    http://www.bruxelles2.eu/europe-de-la-defense/defense-ue-droit-doctrine-politique/petites-phrases-prononcees-a-linformelle-defense.html[/url]
    It does seem to me that we are a long way from one, and that realistically even if we wanted one we can't afford it.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    Quote Originally Posted by PES activist View Post
    Very interesting article ... well-researched, balanced and informative. I was particularly struck by this paragraph on p166 of the article:
    There's another article written last week which I'll try to dig up which gave the percentage liklihoods(?) of war in the cases of bi-polar, unipolar, or no-polar(?) configurations.
    BTW, what is a PES that thou shouldst be an activist thereof. We need to know!!

  15. #45
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    Default Re: An EU Army - For or Against ?

    The PES or Party of European Socialists (www.pes.org) is the pan-European political party which brings together the Socialist, Social Democratic and Labour Parties of the European Union, including the Labour Party in Ireland. It also includes the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament to which Proinsias de Rossa, Nessa Childers and Alan Kelly belong.

    Four years ago the PES established an activists layer in its organisation, the only pan-European party to do so. There are now over 20,000 PES activists organised in over 100 citygroups across Europe including in Dublin (for which I am the co-ordinator) and Belfast. PES activists are involved in policy development within the PES and pan-European campaigns on, e.g. on the Financial Transaction Tax (europeansforfinancialreform.org/) as well as election campaign exchanges.

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