Thursday 5 March 2009

The Inclusive(-ish) NATO Summit

Clinton has met European NATO ministers in Brussels yesterday, but many more were invited, including Finland, Sweden and Switzerland - all three of which are neutral states (and Switzerland isn't even in the EU).

So why weren't Ireland and Austria invited?

(....It's a pity that the US will miss out on Irish expertise on Iran and Tehranian power structures...)

In other news, the Guardian has a interesting article on Kremlin power struggles. Kremlinology is alive and well.


  1. Finland does not define itself as neutral anymore, but militarily non-aligned.

    There are two aspects to this:

    Militarily points to the fact that Finland is (still) outside NATO.

    It also takes into account that Finland is a member of the European Union and part of its foreign and security policy structures including solidarity commitments.

    The official Finnish view is that neutrality is no longer an apt description, so the concept has been scrapped.

    Sweden used the terms non-aligned and neutral much longer. I have not checked, but their definition may have changed, too. At least they underlined their EU commitments in their latest foreign policy strategy.

  2. I stand corrected then. Thanks for that.

    I shouldn't go on about it as if I take it seriously, but Ireland isn't exactly classically neutral...

  3. But as far as I understand, neutralistic currents influenced the negative referendum result and seem to be among the guarantees the Irish government has demanded ahead of the second vote on the Lisbon Treaty.

    But as I see it, the European mainstream is to build an EU defence policy, including defence, in the long run, combined with NATO membership to cater for the transatlantic relationship.

    The neutral or non-aligned members are on the fringes (geographically too).

  4. I'm planning to write a post on neutrality soon (time permitting), but neutrality is treated more as a necessary condition of Irish nationalism and independence, and is not subject to the same sort of policy debate as other areas. Only Fine Gael supports being more militarily integrated (or at least moving from neutrality to a more flexable non-alignment position).

    It did affect the referendum (it's strange to see Sinn Féin bang on about the dangers of militarisation of the EU), and it has revealed that few people understand what the EDA is for (the leader of the Greens, John Gormley [the environment minister] whats to pull out of the EDA). It's a testament to the incompetence of the Yes side that it did, though, since we had an amendment to the Constitution to protect neutrality.