Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

A European Union Foreign Legion?

Posted by Jason O on Jun 10, 2011 in European Union

Outgoing US defence secretary Robert Gates has told European audiences some harsh but true realities about Europe’s failure to take its defence committments seriously here. After reading his remarks, I decided to repost below some thoughts I posted last year about how Europe could get more military bang for its buck.

Europe, for historical reasons, doesn’t do military well. Even the two most militarist countries, France and Britain, with populations willing to spend a significant portion of public spending on defence, are only marginally impressive by global standards, and that image is added to by their  impressive but essentially useless nuclear weapons programmes. There is not a single European country that could fight a major long-term war or policing action outside its borders without US assistance (Note: This was written before the Libyan intervention. I see no reason to amend it).

Now, that’s not a major issue. The fact is, Europe tends to use its economic power as a means of strong-arming others, and as the US has shown, the ability to use overwhelming military force tends to make the US constantly underestimate her military opponents. Her opponents know that whilst the US can bring overwhelming force down upon pretty much any point on the globe, the US does not have long-term staying power. The Taliban know the truth about its own propaganda: The US is not in the long term empire business, because the American people will not tolerate an open-ended ongoing stream of casualties. American wars must have a spectacular beginning and a tidy Our Boys Are Home ending. Read more…


Jason’s Diary.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 10, 2011 in Irish Politics, Jason's Diary

I used to believe in censorship. I supported section 31, and was eventually convinced that I was wrong. The truth was that section 31 prevented Sinn Fein from having to become just another political party, which they pretty much are now. As a result, I’ve tended to go the other way. I think, on balance, that censorship is not really in anyone’s long term interest. That doesn’t mean that the state can’t protect children from violent or pornographic images, but that adults should be at least able to make the call themselves. 

That’s why I find the actions of this crowd here so objectionable. There’s a curious type of hybrid leftwing fascist (Yes, I know) beginning to emerge in recent times, who believe that they are entitled to decide what arguments other people should be permitted to hear. What’s more interesting is their willingness to ally with people opposed to their core beliefs, like watching LGBT activists marching with Taliban supporters, and their ability to be filled with actual hatred for their opponents. Actual hatred. I disagree with Richard Boyd Barrett, but I don’t hate him. When did irrational anger become so acceptable on the hard left? What happened to reason before passion? 


Speaking of porn, I recently purchased a copy of RTE’s A Week In Politics Guide to Election 2011 and the 31st Dail. Note the title, because it’s important. When you flick through it, it’s very coffee table, full of info-nuggets and pictures and interesting articles, especially Sean Donnelly’s stuff. But see that title? Apparently, we live in a unicameral political system, and there was no Seanad Election 2011. Of course, maybe they were just in a rush to beat the Irish Times’s traditionally posher version. Or maybe they just decided that even political anoraks don’t give that much of a damn about the Seanad. I think they’re wrong, especially as it could be the last Seanad election under the current system. And it’s a bit pricey at €17.99, although the Irish Times version tends to be much steeper. And you practically have to ask the IMF for a dig out if you want to buy a copy of the uber-academic “Ireland Votes 2011”.  


What a load of old nonsense about David Norris. Basically, he’s getting clobbered for having expressed opinions when he was a senator. We’re all stunned, especially as, with many of the candidates, you will struggle to find them having ever expressed an opinion on a political issue. As for the garbage being hinted at about older gay men with younger gay men, what a load of hypocritical guff. There isn’t a pub in Ireland where straight men don’t gather to talk about younger women. This is dressed-up homophobia.


Tony Blair believes here that we should have an elected EU President. He’s right, and as I said to him (the only time in my life I get to say that) I’d vote for him.

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