Monday, February 26, 2001
A pre-election, indeed pre-primary, look at Bush's foreign policy team. Team W. by Jacob Heilbrunn. It sneers at such concepts as realism, but at least it takes them seriously enough to debate it.
Carville capers

The Sunday Mail was breathless yesterday in reporting that Clinton's attack dog James Carville is going to be helping Blair. Blair better think twice.

Carville's had a rotten run of luck recently, Al Gore lost despite running on a truly succesful economy (not Gore's fault it must be said), Barak lost big in Israel despite running against the most hardline and tainted candidate imaginable. And then there's Mexico, where his support of the ruling party seemed to jinx them as well - for the first time in seventy years.

His links in Mexico may also point to another problem for Labour if they take on these dameaged goods. The PRI, as must have been known to the Ragin' Cajun, is up to its neck in drugs money. How much of this man's $5 million fortune originated from kickbacks from heroin traffikers? None if he got paid by results, I suppose.

There was one place he scored a win, Trinidad and Tobago! Yes folks, if Blair has trouble winning Middlesborough District Council, then he may have found a stage suitable for Mr Carville's obviously diminished talents. Two things must be said here, firstly the ruling party seemed to win (narrowly) by the help of election irregularities, and needless to say that this island is not known for the distance that local politicians keep from local drug dealers.

His performance in that land of clean government, Panama, is even murkier - but surely profitable to even the most half-witted Tory hatchet man.

There are a number of other bits of welcome information on the attack dog. Whether it is his links with the mob through Paul Begala (as well as his fondness for threatening to "kneecap opponents on national TV), or his trouble telling the truth to the taxman, Mr Carville will definately add an exotic edge to Mr. Blair's campaign, if the Tories have the nerve to expose him.

No one I know is predicting a Tory victory this time, although with the hapless Carville on the case Hague may have a better chance than we all think.

Come on Carville, Britain needs you!

Saturday, February 24, 2001
Another Gem

I never realised they had a website time. TNI - The National Interest.

It's interesting that their recommendations page has three mentions of realist or realism. At least they wear their hearts on their sleeves. The most telling recommendation was Peregrine Worsthorne, the British Journalist:

America’s most stimulating journal of opinion. Nothing as good exists here.

Another primary source on the "Special Relationship", Newsweek's interview with A. Blair:

‘What Unites Us is More Important Than What Divides Us’

Catch some British understatement:

I can never understand how people can look at the history of Saddam and come to any other conclusion than that he is an extremely dangerous man, probably the most dangerous ruler at the present time anywhere in the world.

Not understanding another point of view, now that's a really appropriate attitude in a democracy. probably the most dangerous ruler at the present time anywhere in the world, is that now Clinton's gone.
Blair Reassures Bush on Europe Defense Force . The one, the only good thing about this European Army, is the confusion caused on the issue of NATO. Any way for those of you who wish for some primary documentation, here's the text of the news conferance that Bush and Blair had after their meeting.
Thursday, February 22, 2001
Post Box Time

One piece, with my responses interlaced:

Thank you for another interesting piece.

I can but try.

You make a good point about Britain's being a net oil exporter. But is it not worth asking, For how long? I do not pretend to know the answer, but I should be surprised if North Sea oil proved to be inexhaustible.

Surely a good case then for maximising our short term returns from a resource that will eventually run out. In fact the depleting nature of our reserves combined with the high costs we have of drilling oil offshore (as compared to through the sand) we have a greater economic interest in short-term high oil prices than, say, the Saudis.

Your explanation of Britain's action in Iraq - sycophancy - is not all that plausible

Sorry to hear that.

(although there is a case for saying that, since America is the world's most powerful country, a measure of sycophancy towards it is probably in our interests).

Avoiding hostility from America is definately in our interests, but sycophancy invokes diminishing returns. America has not exactly stopped interfering in Northern Ireland.

Sycophancy also has considerable downside risks that neutrality/friendliness does not. Compare the fates of Musolini with Franco.

Iraq is a rogue state,

Is there an objective definition for that, apart from "we don't like her"? Israel for example ignores international opinion far more than Iraq, yet we don't describe it as rogue.

& a potentially dangerous one,

Isn't every country? That doesn't mean that we keep the rest of the world under imperial domination.

with a leader intent on amassing weapons of mass destruction.

India? Pakistan? South Africa? China? Israel?

It has to be kept in check.

Why? It does not pose any threat to us?

Its sovereignty is neither here nor there:

Do as you would be done by?

Iraq itself has proved that, given a free hand, it is a more deadly threat to other nations' sovereignty than either Britain or America.

And Kuwait's or Iran's sovereignty is either here or there?

And if, as I take it you believe, the sole determinant of foreign policy ought to be Britain's national interest,


what does sovereignty in other countries matter anyway? What direct effect does it have on our interests?

As much as risking service men's lives, wasting our money or making needless enemies matters.

Surely the only important thing is to preserve our own sovereignty? Does what you call the "genocide" of Iraqis matter to our interests?

Weakening our armed forces and trashing the concept of territorial sovereignty is hardly helping.

Perhaps it gives Saddam a propaganda gift, & so helps to keep a megalomaniacal, potentially-dangerous psychopath in power,

Pretty much a killer fact if we wanted to be rid of him.

but, other than that, I ask again, what does it matter?

Well, how about taking what our leaders say seriously? I would prefer that they practiced and preached a policy solely in defence of our national interests. But until that happy day why are we stopping genocide by killing half a million children because of their nationality? And why are we stopping regional aggression by attacking a country with whom we are at peace?

At least when we have a stupid and muddle headed policy, lets have one which is consistent with its stated aims.

And is it really fair to say that it is Britain & America, rather than Saddam Hussein, who are killing the Iraqi children?

If we bomb sewage treatment plants and stop detergent coming in to Iraq, then yes it is a fair charge.

All Saddam has to do is to allow the inspectors back in. It really isn't that hard.

Are these the same inspectors who admitted spying for the Americans?

Our moral position is better than his.

But the gap is narrowing rapidly.

We are determined to stop him from stock-piling dangerous weapons,

Aren't all weapons dangerous?

& he is determined to stock-pile them.

Of course our dangerous weapons...

We "kill"

What's with this deporsanalisation? Arabs can be killed as well, and have genocide committed upon them.

children to preserve security,

Whose? Not ours.

he kills children so he can threaten security.

Eh? Aren't we threatening Iraq's security by killing their children.

"Air defence", obviously, is designed to shoot down British 'planes.

And British overflights are designed to violate Iraq's sovereignty. A reasonable reaction, would be to defend yourself.

What would you think if the French started overflights over the home counties?

I agree entirely on the question of the European army.


There is no way that it ever will or should rival America's armed forces.

Will - Don't bank on it not doing so. Someone at some point will.

Should - It's none of our business. As long as we're secure (and out of it).

It is actually quite convenient for the countries of Europe not to have to spend very much money on defence, & let America protect us instead,

Not going to happen for long. Relying on America to get us out of this fire is far too risky. There is simply no strategic reason for them being here in strength.

Its also terribly immoral that we are protected by a foreign power that spends a greater proportion of its GDP on defence than us.

which obviously involves keeping N.A.T.O. as strong as possible.

Fighting the last war. We can't keep NATO going through sentiment alone. The American public will wake up sooner or later.

It means that we can afford health & social security services.

So we have the same independence and dignity as a dole scrounger. No thanks.

It's a shame that idiots in France & elsewhere don't realise that.

The French are supremely selfish, but I would not say that they're idiotic.

And here's another piece:

It was only when re-reading 1984 that I remembered who Emmanuel Goldstein was!

I take issue re Iraq and would argue that Sadam must bear the first responsibility for the death of his citizens because he could, as I understand it, buy essential supplies for the well-being of the Iraqi people. It is in his interests to let them suffer to focus their anger
on the west whilst rebuilding his frightening arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

All this is because the job wasn't finished properly the first time.

Still, you have to admire his tenacity!

Blair fan Hugo Young, says that Blair should use the Camp David meeting to challenge the missile defence plan. How about just saying "I don't mind America doing this on her own, but I'm afraid its got to be foolproof and fully covering Britain before I can even consider running it past the cabinet."

No chance.

With Iraq hit by new air strikes the U.S. May Have to "Go it Alone" on Iraq, says Richard Butler. If only. (UK planes were involved here).

Simon Jenkins, as always with foreign policy, has a great article on this:

Unlike the cunning Mr Cook, I would like to see Saddam go, and fast. Neither bombs nor sanctions, dumb or smart, will achieve this. Ostracism merely drives Saddam’s enemies into exile and supplies excuses for the impoverishment of his people. He will fall only when Iraq’s politics are unfrozen and its relations with the world normalised. This requires the political economy to be opened to external and internal pressure. This policy, once called constructive engagement, has often been pursued by the West, for instance towards the equally murderous rulers of Syria, Indonesia and Iran. It subverts an oligarchy with freer markets, freer movement of people, media access and a reinvigorated middle class. It also makes spying easier.

The Parliamentary statement refered to in the article is here and for those of you too lazy to scroll down the web log for Robin Cook's article, it's here.

The Independent also has quite a funny piece from Mark Steel.

Ken Livingston writes an anti-interventionist piece in the Independent. "Let's not help the US in its mission to become an unassailable world power"

It would be churlish for me to point out that he seems to fear US power more than needless UK intervention. So I won't.
Idle Speculation

We all know about old Labour and New Labour. Indeed we are all now aware of the difference between Blairites and Bownites. But what about friends of Cherie and friends of Tony? There are certain of Tony's friends who are also good friends of Cherie, Lord Irving is probably the most obvious example and Alisdair Campbell (his common-law wife is her personal assistant). And friends of Tony? Well there's Lord Falconer, who knew Tony Blair from school and then Peter Mandelson, who although he knows Cherie from their days together in inner London Labour politics, tends to know Tony far better (there are supposed to be reasons for his distance from the wife of the Prime Minister, but I'll leave that to others).

This brings me to the idle object of my speculation, Lord Irvine. Derry is in trouble. But surprisingly it is post dated trouble. All these Labour lawyers who are up in arms about this dinner invitation are up in arms about an invitation for a dinner (with Mrs Blair as guest of honour) that already happened. Why the time-delay? And why is Irvine being defended so assiduously by Mr Campbell, yet plenty of MPs seem to be briefing against him? Why would they do that if he was so close to the leader? Is it, I wonder, a revenge attack? If looking at the Blairites as friends of Tony vs. friends of Cherie - the friends of Tony have taken a tremendous pounding recently. Mandelson is out. Falconer is reeling from the Dome. The friends of Cherie are now in the ascendant within the Blairite camp. So is this a way of levelling things?

Is our ruling class narrower than we realise?
Tuesday, February 20, 2001
Britain will pull military trainers out of Zimbabwe. They're clearing the decks - we're going in. Hopefully we'll have an election in between.

The Daily Telegraph writing a sensible piece on the new terrorism act. Another illustration on how running our laws to suit others harms us. This can have a real effect on domestic radical groups. The people who should be most worried are the civil libertarians, but internationalists almost to a man/woman, they can't make the connection between national sovereignty and individual liberty.

Robin Cook, in the Telegraph, saying that we're bombing Iraq for the Iraqis. Of course, if only they knew that they'd be so grateful.

Any way here's the first paragraph:

THE Government's strategy on Iraq has three aims: first, to protect the world from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction; second, to protect his neighbours from his aggression; and third, to protect the people of Iraq, who have suffered most of all from his brutality.

Can anyone else think of a country in the Middle East that has (actually existing) weapons of mass destruction, neighbours who are routinely bashed and who are brutal towards their people?

Monday, February 19, 2001
Nazis believed in European union

Typically meek and bashful fare from John Laughland, this time in a
letter to the Daily Telegraph. First he attacks Europe and then America. Great stuff, and a wonderfully condensed taster for his book The Tainted Source
A bit of Clinton conspiracy by William Rees-Mogg in the Times. Good concise run down.
A bit of Clinton conspiracy by William Rees-Mogg in the Times. Good concise run down.
This wonderful vignette is from the Times Literary Supplement, but it will probably be gone in a couple of weeks as they don't keep articles for long.

Earlier this year, I went to see the dirty little separatist war that is consuming Aceh. On one sweltering afternoon, after going through the requisite labyrinthine arrangements to meet up with rebels from the Free Aceh Movement (or GAM in Indonesian), I found myself in a tiny jungle clearing. What followed was the increasingly common scene of foreign-journalist-meets-GAM: the ritualistic raising of the rebel flag, the posing with their weapons, the interviews on why they are at war with Indonesia, and the tales of torture and death at the hands of the Indonesian army.

They answered all my questions, but they were sorely disappointed I had come without a camera crew. "We need to get our war on CNN and then the UN will intervene", explained the group's leader, a thirty-four-year-old wearing a baseball cap and dark sunglasses. In GAM's convoluted logic, first comes CNN, then the UN and then independence. "If East Timor can do it, why not Aceh?" the rebel asked.
Sorry to bore you

A rather different reaction to one of the e-mails on the Protestant decline in Southern Ireland, from Richard Murphy:

I apologize for emailing you as I don't think you are at all honest. Merely for your information, Erskine Childers was not assasinated, but executed by a government that was, according to Churchill, accomplishing British ends with an economy of British lives. Mr. Childers was, at the time of his capture and his execution, a Republican. He was, in his own way, a man for all seasons.

Another Erskine Childers, a Protestant, became President of the Republic.

A certain class of Mosleyite seems quite attached to you.

You have got to get out and get some sun. Go for a walk, find a used bookstore and spring for the Penguin Classics Rex Warner translation. Thucydides will have to be sat with in a comfortable chair. To complete the story, you will have to get a hold of the Hellenaica. I know I am spoiling your fun, Athens loses.

And again (same person, different e-mail):

Until recently Protestants were effectively barred from holding the office of President, Prime Minister, or head of the military or police forces.

Oh, let your fan know, Dr. Douglas Hyde was the first President.

I think it is wonderful that all the insane asylums in England are hooked up to the internet.

It must be said that both the correspondants (the above and the correspondant that he is referring to) are American-Irish. The strange thing is that the correspondant above is actually quite intelligent and pleasant, except when it comes to Ireland when a red mist seems to descend. Never underestimate the power of ancestral myths.

If an e-mail is printed in this web log it means that I received it. I may be odd about this, but receiving and publishing an e-mail is not the same as endorsing it.

NB. Moseley was rather popular amongst some of the Irish in England. Supposedly it was because he spoke out against the black and tans. Source: Grundy, Memoires of a fascist childhood. Needless to say that fact was said by the way and bears no relation to the debate.
Good article in The Times from Mick Hume:

the maverick Labour MP George Galloway reminded us that Tony Blair’s Government has now “fired more shots in anger than any British Government since the end of the Second World War”.

Thank you Sam Koritz for pointing it out.
Sunday, February 18, 2001
Two days ago the Baghdad Blitz was all over the papers, first item in the news etc.

Now I've just finished listening to the BBC news (both state owned and pro-Labour even when the Tories were in) and its now in third place behind our Dear Leader's convention speech and some obscure funding issue (corrupting the judiciary and stuff - important I realise, but reported in a way that no one understands it). Sort of defines a slow news week.

Suddenly our jets turn up the heat in a volatile region in a blantant act of war, are condemned by everyone bar Israel and Canada, surely this is significant. Now we Brits always scoff at how parochial US News is, but how parochial is this?

Oh quote for the day from a certain T Blair:

"I am determined to prevent his tyrannical regime from once again attacking Iraq's neighbours"

That's good. It's a good thing we're not picking on real big tyrannical regimes that attack their neighbours, like Turkey.
The Cold War II:

Elena Bonner who grew up
under Stalin and saw her mother sent to a labour camp,
believes Russia is still tainted by totalitarianism
My column tomorow argues that Britain should not be so dependent on America. Well it seems that the dependency cuts both ways, a bit like Kuwait, Bush Snr and Maggie:


BRITAIN urged America to take tougher action against Iraq in the weeks preceding Friday's bombing raids on Baghdad, it emerged last night.

Royal Air Force commanders helping to patrol Iraq's no-fly zones complained bitterly about the rules of engagement under which they operated. They demanded a more muscular strategy to increase the effectiveness of their campaign.
Its not going to be long before we're rogue states:

US, Britain roundly denounced as heavy-handed after Baghdad raid

The United States and Britain were condemned Saturday from almost every corner of the globe following an air raid over Baghdad, with officials and media accusing Washington and London of overreaching their power and showing disregard for civilians.
Saturday, February 17, 2001
Good leader from the Independent.

Most of the planes were American, but without the fig-leaf of British support, it is unlikely that the mission could have taken place.

Exactly. But they draw the conclusion that we need to get sucked into a European Army. So it is not an argument for a concentration on our national interests, but a crude anti-Americanism.
Matthew D'Anconna's take on the Iraq bombing. He's a good journalist, but everything is a matter of gossipy court journalism, and doesn't one get the sense that this former right-wing bovver boy is now more than a little wowed by Blair? But the subtext is simple - Blair worships power.
It's times like this that you realise how a paper like the Telegraph can let you down. Saddam was asking for it. Did you realise that:

German defence officials, for example, last week concluded that regions of southern Germany such as Bavaria could soon be within range of Saddam's long range missiles

Scare mongering nonsense. Honestly the Telegraph is very good on domestic news, but when it goes abroard reality is an optional extra.
We're going in

Obviously with this crazy strike into Iraq we are getting back to a war footing. Justin Raimondo has an excellent commentary on this, although I'm not sure that we will be at war. But then my predictive powers are often faulty. Let's hope not.
It's all Greek to me

Thank you to Philip Wilson for an online reference to Thucydides history. The only accessible version appears to be here, although if you aren't a big fan of footnotes in a text (I am - but I'm sad) it may get on your nerves.

More Criticism

Some more criticism of me in the antiwar forum. It's by an anti-nuclear activist, so the anger is probably understandable, but the idea that nuclear weapons have not proved strategically advantageous for countries is wishful thinking. On another question, I don't really go in for mental conversations - even if I did speak Russian.
Friday, February 16, 2001
On Realism

A fairly good introduction to realism, from the Virtual War College. The only downpoint is that it seems to refer to Amazon rather than to online versions. But they have to make their money somehow.

Anyone know where I can find an online version of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War?

If Clausewitz can be claimed among the realists, here is his home page.
Ireland, again

This is a reply to the e-mails logged on the site last week, from the "heterodox Iristh Catholic. I must stress that posting a viewpoint does not mean that I agree with it:

I know I shouldn't but I would like to reply to the idea voiced by some of the other e-mails you posted that suggested the dramatic decline in the size of the Protestant community in Eire was not the result of systematic official discrimination by Dublin.

I promise to be brief -- or as brief as I possibly can.

Eire actively promoted policies of discrimination against Protestants.

First, the constitution of Eire was sent to the Pope for approval that it was Catholic enough.

Second, the government of Eire approved the Catholic Church's position that children from Protestant-Catholic marriages must be raised Catholic.

Third, the government of Eire not only declared Catholicism the state religion but gave the Catholic Church effective control over education, press, broadcasting, and laws on marriage and contraception. Blasphemy, as defined by the Catholic Church, was made a crime. This was a direct assault by Eire and the Catholic Church on the right of Protestants to practice their religion, run their schools and publicly express their views.

Fourth, the government of Eire promoted religious apartheid to insure Protestant could not attend Catholic schools and civic associations.

Fifth the government of Eire did not believe Protestants were "Irish". Dublin viewed and treated Protestants as potential "fifth columnists". When Erskine Childers, a Protestant and an Irish nationalist, was assassinated, the assassination was justified by Kevin O'Higgins, Minister for Home Affairs, on the ground that Childers was an "Englishman". Yet, de Valera was considered "Irish" even though he was born in Brooklyn, USA and had a Spanish father. Until recently Protestants were effectively barred from holding the office of President, Prime Minister, or head of the military or police forces.

The creation of Northern Ireland as a State for Protestants was simply copying what Eire had already done of making the "south" a State for Catholics.

It should be remembered that between 1542 and 1760, first the Papal States, then Catholic Spain, and then Catholic France invaded or attempted to invade Ireland on least ten occasions. In other words, there was, on average, one invasion every 21 years.

The stated purpose at least for Rome and Madrid was to extirpate the Protestant religion from Ireland then use Ireland as base from which to invade England and extirpate the Protestant faith there. The problem was that for Rome and Madrid extirpating the Protestant faith meant exterminating the Protestant population.

Since independence, the government of Eire successfully realized the first objective in the "south" and has ever since endeavored to realize this goal in Northern Ireland.

Thursday, February 15, 2001
Archive Links

This page has a set of links to all sorts of weird and wonderful archives. The History of Economic Thought archive is especially good.

I wonder is there an equivalent on the theory of international relations? I would really appreciate any pointers to the Realist school. The best I've got so far is The Prince.
Monday, February 12, 2001

My piece on Ireland attracted some feedback, as usual. Here's a selection:

Is the statement below really worthy of an anti-war website? It reads as a call to arms at the slightest hint of provocation.

"When you are publicly threatened with force there is only one time when you should give in - when you have to. Britain does not have to give in, and therefore it will be worse for Britain to get a reputation as a country that finds it easier to be persuaded by force than by the democratic process."

I guess is a bit less catchy.

And then, there's this:

I would like to expand on your excellent February 5, 2001 article "Minorities -- The Irish Case Study".

First a word of warning. My views are "politically incorrect" and expressed by someone from a Catholic Irish American background potentially "treasonous".

However unrealistic my ideas may seem to many, probably a great many, I would suggest they remember that any suggestion back in 1975 that the Soviet Union -- whose surrogates had been militarily victorious in Southeast Asia, the horn of Africa, former Portuguese Africa, Afghanistan, and Nicaragua, and seemed posed to win military victories in El Salvador and possibly Guatemala, whose actions had effectively rolled back U.S. influence and power around the world, and which had launched a formidable, and what appeared to be a successful, diplomatic initiative to "Finlandize" at least part of Western Europe -- would not exist within 15 years would also have been labeled "unrealistic".

What has to be realized, but which is denied by "republicans", Dublin, London, and Washington is that the problem in Northern Ireland is not one of religious minorities but of nations, not of religious freedom but of national existence.

The Protestants of Northern Ireland are as separate and distinct a nation from the Catholics of Eire as Catholic Croats are from Orthodox Serbs.

The problem in Northern Ireland is that the Catholic nation has historically sought, militarily, economically, and diplomatically, to abolish the Protestant nation. And it has never abandoned that objective to this very day. To paraphrase Clausewitz, the Belfast Agreement is simply the continuation of terrorism by other means.

There are two additional political outcomes to the ones you thoughtfully proposed.

The first is predicated upon the dissolution of the United Kingdom -- an occurrence which I earnestly hopes never occurs. In my opinion, it would be a "crime" against Western Civilization. But if it occurred, then Northern Ireland could unite with an independent Scotland. Such a union has a historic precedent. It would be the modern equivalent of the medireview Kingdom of Dalriada. The combined Protestant population of a potentially oil-rich country would be more than a match for the IRA, Dublin, the U.S. Congressional Irish Caucus, and Noraid.

The second, and dare I say the most "unrealistic", proposal is an independent Northern Ireland. But instead of territorial swaps with Eire which would make Northern Ireland smaller but more homogenous, Northern Ireland would be expanded -- from six counties to sixteen. It would include all of Ulster and all of Connaught.

The reason for such a proposal?

The government of Eire and the IRA have sought to destroy Northern Ireland. That requires that the aggressors be punished, not rewarded. And that the victims be compensated, not penalized.

The employment of military, economic, and diplomatic warfare by Eire and the IRA is now well documented. To me, some of the highlights of this aggression include:
- Dublin's congratulation to Hitler on the Munich Agreement in which Northern Ireland was referred to as Eire's "Sudetenland".
- The IRA's de facto alliance with Hitler.
- The IRA bombing campaigning in England from the end of 1939 to the middle of 1940.
- The need to station American troops in Northern Ireland for fear of a second front launched either by the Nazis or Dublin.
- Dublin's offer of asylum to the Nazis rulers towards the end of World War II.
- Dublin's financing the IRA in the 1960s.
- Dublin's plan to invade Northern Ireland in 1970.
- The IRA's de facto alliance with the Soviet Union, Khadaffi of Libya, and world terrorist organizations in its bid to destroy Northern Ireland.
What happens to the Catholic population in the enlarged Northern Ireland?

Patriation to the United States. I'm serious. It can be done effectively, efficiently, and rapidly.

Irish Catholic politicians (including, I believe, the IRA's man in Congress Peter King) have been demanding for years that the U.S. admit more Irish Catholics. This provides them with such immigrants.

The U.S. takes in nearly one million legal immigrants a year so it will be able to take in all, or virtually all, of these Irish Catholics with relative ease over a five year period. Cuba and Vietnam provide examples of such organized population transfers to the U.S..

Since the U.S. has been involved in the affairs of Northern Ireland, directly or indirectly, but almost always to the determent of Northern Ireland a case of moral responsibility can be leveled against Washington demanding that it takes in these Irish Catholic immigrants. This would be adopting the same argument that Third World activists have successfully used to have the U.S. take in "immigrants" from Central America and Haiti.

This is just a brief outline of a possible peace settlement. In politics anything is possible. Just remember the history of the former, and I emphasize former, Soviet Union between 1975 and 1991.

Definately different, although I must stress that I think that ethnically cleansing either population would be barbaric.

The Northern Minority

Not everyone thinks that ethnically cleansing the Prods was bad, though. This American IRA supporter, who's appeared here before, just denies it happened.

A more reasoned dissent came from the Republic of Ireland:

You contend that the collapse in the relative demographic strength of the southern minority can be primarily attributed to the hostile environment of newly independent southern Ireland.

Furthermore, you contend that this collapse indicates that the minority in the South was more poorly treated that the minority in the

The evidence does not support these contentions.

There were several causes of the demographic collapse of the Sothern minority. Roughly considered, they are:

1- Political/cultural: The Protestant minority, in the main, considered themselves British. Many thus felt no affinity to the new, non-British state. Hence, many emigrated.

In the same vein, the Southern minority, who by and large constituted the "elite" of Southern Irish society were naturally enough replaced by Catholics.

2- Economic: As the best educated, and let's be frank about this, the most industrious segment of Southern Irish society, they had the most to gain from participating in the mass emigration that marked most of independent Ireland's history

3- Religious: The minority's demographic decline was also driven by the RC church's insistence that the children of mixed marriages
be brought up Catholics.

There is no debating the fact that the Southern minority suffered sharp decline in independent Ireland. However this decline cannot
be primarily attributed to the sort of brutish state sectarianism that the Northern minority endured.

Ultimately, the more benign experience of the southern minority was not due to a triumph of Catholic character, but more the result of the fact that the Southern minority, in contrast to the Northern minority, were too weak, too geographically dispersed to pose any real
threat to independent Ireland. As such, the new state did not expend energy oppressing them.

And this from a Southern Irish Protestant:

As a Southern Irish Protestant, however, I must take issue with your allegations of widespread discrimination against Protestants in the South. There was hardly any burning of houses, etc, once the Anglo-Irish War was over. Although there were subsequent glaring examples of bias against Protestants (eg, the famous 1950s case in which De Valera personally intervened to block the appointment of a protestant librarian in Co Mayo), in my experience, Catholics treated Protestants with considerable respect.

You should read Mary Kenny on this subject. She records how the few Protestant merchants and shopkeepers in her small childhood town (I forget which one) were actually thought of as being rather better than the majority population in some ways. Notably, they would never give a short measure or try to rip you off in their shops. They were generally esteemed for their high standards and for their (real or perceived) greater sophistication. Any envy of them was mild in form and expression.

I was born in Dublin in December 19xx, and lived there until 1988, and have never encountered anti-Protestant bias, except in the form of the occsional, harmless joke ("bush baptists", "West Brit", etc). I was one of three Protestants in the Navy and was given every facility I needed to pursue my "bush baptism", and was always excused Mass Parades. (The idea was that I would trot off to the local C.o.I., but in fact, I was more interested in my spirituous than spiritual welfare!) The Southern Protestants have dwindled not because of "institutional Catholicism", but because they have left the country (my older brother and myself) or outmarried (my younger brother).

An interesting point of view, although this is not the sole view of the Irish community.

Simon Jenkins, again

I know I've been off air for some time, so you expect something more than my (odd) obsession with Simon Jenkins. But here's two more Times articles:

The Holy Land has seen enough crusades
Why flying will never be the same again - on the military industrial complex

Bookmark this

Justin Raimondo has gone through his bookmarks, and produced an article woth bookmarking itself. It is teeming with news sources.

Thursday, February 08, 2001

While looking around for more Simon Jenkin's articles, I found the paper by Mark Littman that caused such a stir when strongly arguing that the Kosovo war was illegal under international law. Worth bookmarking, as you'll never know when it will come in useful.

More Jenkins pieces

I know I'm sad, but I've got more Simon Jenkins pieces on foreign policy. It is such a shame that his pieces aren't properly accessed on the web. The first two were posted by myself on to Free Republic so that we don't lose them:

The new order that splits the world
Bombs that turn our leaders into butchers

The rest I just found on the web:

At last a US President who won't meddle
The Arms Trade (A little more intervening than usual - but makes good points on government subsidy of the trade)
Murder of British tourists and Iraqis
Cook's white mischief over Zimbabwe
Kosovo: too many cooks
Twixt bomb and bodybag
This is Serb business - and it's still unfinished
Oh What A Silly War (an idiots guide to the proposed 'dust up' in Kosovo)
We must, regrettably, ready ourselves for the third Kosovan war
A threat too late
Clinton's billions keep a drugs war alive
Not war but vandalism
A Devil of a month
A faraway island
Will they never learn?
Bloody liberals
Robin Cook's wasteland
Britain's secret wars
Weep for poor Orisa

It must be stressed that I do not endorse all the web sites I'm linking to, but as they are fully reproducing his articles I see no harm in "deep linking" to them.

Jenkins on American Politics

Although this is nothing to do with British foreign policy, American readers may appreciate a couple of Jenkins articles on American Politics, one on Clinton and one on Bush.

Tuesday, February 06, 2001

I love America and I love Ireland, but the combination can (but by no means always does) breed a certain type of, well, idiot. Here's some feedback from one of them (I take it he means my reference to the UDR, a former regiment he has confused with the UDA, a terrorist group, bless):

Toward the end of your piece, you gleefully hint at the existence of a protestant terrorist group. Add that to the other armed terrorist groups that wear uniforms and you may have begun a discussion into the root cause of the extremism. 50,000 Catholics cycled through the maze along with almost 0 protestants indicates that nearly every young Catholic male in the province has been incarcerated without a charge or a trial. 100,000 legally registered weapons remain in the hands of protestant groups, according to the London Times. Your point about the two border counties (Fermanagh and Tyrone) going over to the republic due to having local Catholic majorities is a good one.

But this was rejected in 1921 as being detrimental to the economic survival (transportation across the province) of Ulster. There is no evidence that protestants were discriminated against in
the south; there was a Protestant president there and also a Jewish mayor of Dublin. Half of the real estate is still owned by British private parties and is respected. Many British tour the south safely.

My response to my own countrymen regarding the violence is this:

1. Wichita, Kansas has twice the murder rate of Belfast and is a comparably sized city.

2. A German speaking seperatist movement in our own Midwest would now be flourishing had we not removed the British colonial influence from our shores as early in our history as we did. Wherever Britain has been, there is hatred and division brought about by purposeful divide and conquer. The French seperatists in Canada, Greeks and Turks in Cyprus, the Middle East, Burgundian seperatists in France if not for St Joan of Arc, India/Pakistan....are examples of division by design fostered by Britain who capitalize upon their created conflict as "concerned" referee.

3. Americans bent on convincing themselves that they are still members of a middle class rack up debt on their credit cards. British bent on convincing themselves that they are still a colonial power fire into crowds of unarmed Irish.

Through it all, please stay there. The historic irony is that the protestant plantation was meant ostensibly to keep Britain "safe" from Catholicism. The opposite now occurs. Forced to be British subjects, Ulster Catholics go where a Catholic British subject can go in order to belong to a trade union, join the police force, etc. They go to Britain.

Your country will soon be Catholic again as long as you do the old one-two: call their land British and call them British. Keep it up.

Historical note (1) Protestants have been in Northern Ireland for roughly as long as European settlers have been on the Eastern seaboard. Figure the logical consequance of the Protestant plantation stuff out for yourself.

Historical Note (2). The Catholic church until recently was recognised as the official church in the Irish constitution. Divorce and contraception were illegal. Protestant and Jewish businesses have had to face localised consumer boycotts since before Irish independence. The Protestant population declined from 10% to 3% of the population of the Republic since independence. In Cork 80% of homes burned down in the years immediately after independence were from the Protestant population that made up 7% of the population. No evidence of persecution?

Simon Jenkins Links

It has slowly been dawning on me that Simon Jenkins, who is probably Britain's most influential isolationist journalist, is badly represented on the web. This is very bad news as he writes well. The fault is mainly the Times, the main newspaper who publish him (he used to be the editor), who seem to get rid of old stories quickly. This means that some of his articles have no web presence at all. This really is tragic.

So here in no particular order are a collection of links to his writing on foreign affairs:

I will categorise them later, when I have some time. But in the meantime, here's a description of the man.

If anyone can help in providing links to other articles of his, I would be grateful.

The last article in the list "Weep for poor Orisa" is particularly poignant.

Other Links

In my search for Simon Jenkins links, I also came on some decent articles from Andrew Alexander, John Laughland, some nutty Saudia Arabian apologists, Mick Hume.

Completely unconnected with Simon Jenkins is another Libertarian site on war, Jane's and a rather basic links page on the British military.
Monday, February 05, 2001
I've had no response on my column yet. Has no one read it?

In the Papers.

The Times has an excellent article by Simon Jenkins on the new fault line between interventionism and scepticism, it reads like a reply to Michael Gove's piece (also addressed by The Raimondo and myself). While I'm about it here's Justin's reply to my article:

Your column Gove was great, and I've been meaning to write you about it. I certainly wouldn't bother criticizing Tony Blair much: with us, we need to go after the ones who are (relatively) close to our position.

Does Simon Jenkins have an internet archive of his columns? The old columns seem hard to get.

The Times also has a piece on Robin Cook's visit to Colin Powell by Peter Riddel, they're for it and they think that the European army will get in the way. The Independent (ho, ho) thinks we should choose Europe, Donald McIntyre says that we should get a cosy division of responsibilities. I say a plague on both your houses.

Information on Right Now!

The magazine Right Now! is puzzling me. I have just joined a paleo-conservative mailing list where it is the subject of some debate. I was under the impression that its editor, Derek Turner, had a Nazi youth, the main source was an article in Searchlight which has proven to be wrong in some details - calling into question the whole research - and a piece by Marx's David Irving, Francis Wheen, which is deliberately misleading in many other respects. So is Right Now! a fascist entryist group or a journal to get the Tories thinking on more than economic lines? Because of the poor research of the articles that I had previously relied on I'm starting to come to the latter opinion. Does anyone out there know? And why do they have links with American Renaissance on their links page?
Sunday, February 04, 2001
In the papers

The Telegraph today is going on about Libya, in the aftermath of the Lockerbie verdict. Con Coughlin denouncing Cook for being nice to Libya and Edward Luttwak calling for a military strike against it. How close is he to the Bush administration? The law proffessor who set up this trial is attacking the verdict. There's an as always good article by John Simpson on this but it only seems to be in the print edition of the Telegraph. (Like Christopher Booker).

The excellent Stephen Glover has a piece in the Spectator on political intimidation in Zimbabwe, on which there still seems to be a low intensity campaign to intervene. Oddly the main independent paper seems to have been supported by the Soros foundation. I wonder what he's playing at, if anything.

Thursday, February 01, 2001
Sierra Leone's a stirring

You and I may never have heard of Victor Bout. What? Really? You know Victor Bout and the evil Sanjivan Ruprah.

No these are not villains from a particularly unoriginal episode of "The Man from Uncle", they are real people and they pose a real danger to Britain, Mr. Bond.

Well they do to those British troops in Sierra Leone. Not to Britain as such. In parliamentary questions a couple of weeks back. The Labour MP Helen Jones in what was a planted question asked about these two characters. They are sanctions busters, who supply arms to the rebels in Sierra Leone in return for diamonds. For their sake we are going to be launching "smart sanctions" on Liberia, and once they don't work - who knows? Just think, this was once all to do with evacuating a couple of hundred British subjects. Yeah, right.

A couple of things to watch out for:

I am glad to have the opportunity to say that the British Government are urging all of those who are involved in this dreadful African war in the Congo to respect the Lusaka agreement, to which they signed up. Following President Kabila's assassination, we want to move forward beyond the deadlock to which he was unfortunately a party and to get the United Nations peacekeepers deployed. That can occur only after all the belligerent forces in the region, including African armies and rebel forces, draw back as they agreed to do in Lusaka almost two years ago. We can then end the war and allow prosperity and peace for the Congolese people.

Can then end the war? Who does he think he's kidding.

And this is even better:

I welcome the hon. Gentleman's comments on the importance of the Sierra Leone army's deployment into the diamond-producing areas of that country. That holds the key to a long-term solution to the conflict. British forces are helping to train the Sierra Leone army so that it is capable of deploying with the support of the United Nations.

In the end we will be going in to these diamond producing areas.

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