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Saturday, 30 July 2011

The paralysis of Neutrality

When the subject of militarism or war is brought up in Ireland you'll get a variety of opinions on various matters pertaining to just about everything besides the modern Irish Military. And even if you direct the conversation towards the topic you will find the majority of the people you meet will have not given it considerable thought, and if they do they will usually fall into rough groupings of liberals grumbling about Irish Neutrality to try to steer the conversation away fromt he topic and that'd be the end of it. Either that or you'll end up in the other secular camp that shout vehemently about the nature of chaplaincies in the Irish armed forces. In either case the result is the same.

For some bizarre reason the modern Irishman is hostile to any state run body of National pride and masculine projection made manifest in physical form.

I could go on with touching upon the hypocrisies of Irish Republicans on the matter but that would give the impression this problem is limited to them in some way.

In truth the modern Irish mind is so dedicated to Neutrality, long instituted since the founding of the Republic, that it forgets both the disservice it has done us in the past and lamenting the memory of why it was instituted in the first place.

When the Republic was young, the Irish army was not vast, we had virtually no navy or fighting aircraft, we were in every essence a fledgling state and proclaiming neutrality was a wise move to protect ourselves until we had the means with which to defend ourselves. Europe was a very dangerous place at the time. The problem with this policy happened early on, when the second world war rolled around our Neutrality cost us the favour of the Allied forces, with whom we were actively, if not admittedly, aiding in the war. Americans refuelled their plans here and their troops did exercises and did bunk here, but because we never actively taken part in the war effort when we were under the best protection to do so (what with England being a good buffer state between us and Hitler), we were penalised by our erstwhile allies with poor trade deals. And got bombed by the occassional Luftwaffe sortie for our troubles regardless. Now, nearly a century onwards pray tell why are we still neutral?

I ask that question earnestly, why are we still neutral? Look across Europe, to Switzerland and Austria, both neutral countries, both with fine military traditions and proud displays of patriotism (in comparison to the Irishman's own at any rate) It is all well and fine for them to remain neutral, being better equipped to fuel their own needs and sharing mostly land borders they need not worry for want of battleships. Neutrality does these countries well because they are fully prepared to go to war should that neutrality fail them. Has it been doing us well? we are on the corner of Europe, who is our enemy? England? They could care less for conquest these days, the Scots or the welsh? Their own grievances with the English they could care less about us, it is no secret the French are jealous of our corporate taxes making us more competitive economically, but they will never go to war with us for such a petty prize, who then? The Americans? Icelanders? Neutrality is doing us nothing but hampering us economically.

Upon talking with friends at University about the Ireland's economic nature and how we are perfectly poised on a trade route between the North Americas and Europe, and lamenting how no one seems to have the will to push us forward to be more prominent in markets we already excel in and to feed a burgeoning trading industry among our coastal cities. Lord knows the poorer regions of Ireland would be grateful for it and the entire nation would benefit from it. But even if in our discussions I find that my compatriots are in agreement with me in this issue, they will ask, 'But will that mean we will have to give up our neutrality?' and I am dumbstruck.

I have argued before that if Ireland did cease upon a greater economic destiny Europe would take note and our rise would upset the market balances in Western Europe and many a man would direct their Ire to Ireland. And yes, this would mean we would have to sacrifice our neutrality. For to become a player on the world stage, however small, we will have to show we are prepared for the consequences of winning over the pot at the poker table. But because of this bizarre and unnecessary neutral mentality we are paralysed with fear of success, for success brings antagonism. Who dares, wins, and it is the Pious, masculine nation who values its honour and integrity in all things, even its approach to material success, that will be smiled upon by God. For if we never play the game because of fear, then we will never win.


  1. Excellent post - you have touched upon something that goes right to the heart of our nation's malaise. And it also resonates with what I am currently in the process of posting over on my blog, as a resource for Irishmen like ourselves: The Philosophy of Irish Ireland, by D.P. Moran.

    Moran was an incisive, intelligent observer of our nation's character and condition - but he didn't gild the lily, and he most certainly did not express himself in a politically correct manner. His fighting words are as cuttingly relevant today as they were a century ago. (It's shockingly depressing how relevant they are, in fact.)

    Anyway, consider what you have just written and the following:

    "If, instead of talking pikes and blunderbusses and bragging about being a great people, we learned in public, what so many have a suspicion of in private, that we are getting parlously near that time when we shan't be a distinctive people at all, we might then mend our ways and do something masculine."

  2. IMHO dropping neutrality would be not be a good move at this point in time. I suspect had we not a tradition of neutrality, we probably would have joined the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I doubt we could afford the extra military spending. (I am also totally opposed to joining NATO --- which should have been disbanded after the fall of the USSR)

  3. I don't believe Ireland had any obligation (moral or legal) to the Allies during WW2. IMHO if we were to change history, and pick any side (and again I think neutrality was the right decision) we should have made a strategic alliance with the Axis nations. We could then have turned England into a colony (after all it possessed a vast empire...what goes around, comes around) and did what they inflicted on Germany after WWI (extracting reperations for years to come).

  4. Shane - dropping neutrality does not mean you'd be joining those wretched adventures. You might join them, yes, but a certainty? I should think not.

    And to the contrary, Ireland was still a constitutional monarchy in personal union with the UK during WWII. To have gone against the Allies and the UK would have been treason, and would have been dealt with accordingly.

    I really couldn't care what injustices were committed by the British against the Irish - no injustice can ever justify further injustice. Your ideal of revenge against Britain is disgusting, and I would suggest you give some great thought to which it is - Christ, or revenge. Because you can't have both.

  5. If the Irish had joined the Axis, I would probably be hostile to Ireland today. As it is,the antics of the socialist terrorists that are the face of Republicanism/Nationalism today have made me support either the scheme of our friend Servant of the Cheif here, or union with Britain. As for now, I would like to see the Republic ally with the US and the UK in the fight against evil. (I admit that our politicians are busy trying to make us lose, though, the Traitors.)

  6. LAW Wells, I think you have an unduly elevated estimation of Britain's capabilities during WW2. The UK had already effectively ceded control of its foreign/imperial policy to the US (which is why it was later unable to prevent decolonization); the Irish-American lobby in the US was sufficiently strong in those days to prevent any inclement reaction against Ireland. In the event of being on the losing side, Ireland would have been treated like, er, Italy.

    You state that you don't care about British injustices committed against the Irish. Fair enough. I am equally indifferent to Irish injustices against the British.

  7. If I may interrupt gentlemen, my pointing out to the disservice neutrality did our country during WWII was not due to a lack of foresight on behalf of our predecessors, I am sorry if I made it seem that way. Rather it was due to a lack of determining the way the wind was blowing at the time. While legally speaking had Ireland sided with Germany in the war it would technically have been treason to the British Empire, it would have also been suicidal for the Irish Nation itself. This is the Nazis we are talking about. I trust you yourselves have studied the period enough to know how disastrous it would be to a 'non-germanic' nation that capitulated before them.

    And on the matter of revenge, no. We are too weak enough as it is to barely stand up for ourselves, to seek to impose a fascistic punishment upon the English, to lash out and seek to punish our neighbour would be a sign of utmost depravity and would be the singular exemplary failure of the Irish Character. Our ancestors were war-like, but they were not petty cowards. Were war to come again for sure we may exact harsh retribution on our Neighbour as is fully just, but conquest would neither be necessary nor practical. In reality, if we wanted to induce the most harm upon the english in a war, we would have to destroy their infrastructure and industrial capacity utterly, and let their cities starve during the peacetime as they try to rebuild. In other words succeed where the Germans in the battle of Britain failed as they focused too much on the civilian populations rather then strategic targets that would've crippled Britain.

    I would Rather Ireland, should we lose this farcial policy of Neutrality, to not ally with anyone immediately, and work primarily on trade agreements, preferably with faraway regional powers, such as Brazil or Japan. So we have a strong economic links beyond our immediately neighbourhood and Europe's estranged Sons in North America.

  8. Shane - I am not indifferent to what happened in the past. But to state that those injustices can be used to justify further injustice is wrong and evil. Two wrongs can never make a right, and like I said, you need to choose. It's either Christ or revenge. You can't have both.