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From: Irish Foreign Affairs: Editorials
Date: July, 2009
By: Editorial

The end of an Irish Foreign Policy?

An Bord Snip [Irish Government’s Expenditure Review Committee]

“A significant proportion of the Department
for Foreign Affairs expenditure is in respect of overseas
missions, most of which are small. Given the potential for
developing synergies between DFA and agencies such as Enterprise
Ireland, Tourism Ireland and An Bord Bia as well as the
potential establishment of a European External Action Service in
the event of the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, the Group
recommends that the network of embassies and consulates be
reduced from 76 to 55. The Group also recommends that Ambassador
posts routinely be graded at Principal Officer level, with
only the three or four largest missions graded at Assistant
Secretary level as compared with the 41 ambassadors who are
currently of Assistant Secretary grade or higher. The Group notes
that the Foreign Service Allowance is not taxable nor is it subject
to the pension levy or income levy and recommends that it be
reduced by 12.5% in recognition of the contributions made by
those serving in other areas of the public service.”

There was no opposition evident to this proposal and therefore
it is likely to go ahead.

This effectively is the winding up of an Irish Foreign Service
and the abandonment of a foreign policy. Instead we will have
European External Action Service which is undefined but clearly
saying that Foreign Policy is being handed over to the EU. There
would be nothing wrong in this if the EU had a creditable foreign
policy. But there is no area in the world where the EU is showing
any spark of a policy that differs from the US-UK policy. Do we
need to detail where that policy is going?

It is a little remarked fact that all the major members of the EU
and the vast majority of its members are ex-Imperial powers.
Ireland is the most notable exception. These Imperial powers had
to draw in their horns as a result of national liberation movements
in the last century and were replaced on the world stage by the two
Cold War powers who agreed on little but did agree that European
Imperialist powers had had their day. But that situation is gone
and the European powers have had another innings.

The major member states have so arranged the new architecture
of the EU that they and not the Commission have control of
foreign policy. They have not just left the Commission out of it;
they have imposed their own High Representative on the Commission,
Solana - pacifist cum NATO warmonger. (Solana
opposed NATO bases in Spain, and later was Secretary General
of NATO 1995-1999).

The new Presidency role will concentrate on Foreign policy
and dominate all other EU institutions and, with Blair seriously
considered for this role, there is little doubt about what it will
become; and if he has first go at it he will shape the template for
its future role.

The intergovernmental methodology now applies rather than
the community methodology. This means the major member
states have a free hand and they do what comes naturally and the
most natural thing in the world for them is a modernised version
of moralising and dictating to the rest of the world. It’s back to the
future for them.

Never was an Irish foreign policy more badly needed just as
it is being abolished!


Editorial I:The end of an Irish Foreign Policy? p. 2
Editorial II: Danzig and the Start of the Second World War p. 9
Lisbon explained: John Temple Lang & Eamonn Gallagher p. 2
The launching of the Second World War: Brendan Clifford p. 11
World War II - A Foreign Affair: Pat Walsh p. 16
Haughey and German Unification; Letter Philip O'Connor p. 19
Nuclear weapons: Same double standards from Obama: David Morrison p. 20
The elephant in the room: Israel’s nuclear weapons: David Morrison p. 22
Documents: The role of the Soviet Union (and Poland) in the events leading to the Second World War: Kovaliov Sergei Nikolayevich p. 27
United Nations Deliberations on the Question of Palestine, 1947 p. 33
Blair Interview in Stern Magazine pp. 8, 26, 31