Russia expressed one Demand from the start: that Ukraine remain neutral, thereby preventing NATO from moving its nuclear weapons closer to Russia’s more than 2,000km land border with Ukraine and within minutes of Moscow.
NATO has repeatedly rejected these demands, calling them “non-negotiable”. So what we have is the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis in reverse order.
After a failed US-backed invasion of Cuba, what was then the USSR – mainly Russia – began installing nuclear silos on the island near the US mainland. This was totally unacceptable to the US and the world was on the brink of nuclear Armageddon until an agreement was reached.
The US agreed not to invade Cuba and to secretly withdraw its nuclear weapons from Turkey, which then bordered the USSR. The latter withdrew its installations from Cuba.
the The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that followed a few years later was known as the “Irish Treaty” as it was the brainchild of a then-confident Irish government.
Irish Secretary of State Frank Aiken was the first to sign it. This treaty stipulated that the nuclear powers of the time would not export their nuclear weapons abroad and would actively work towards complete nuclear disarmament.
NATO’s intentions this year in relation to Ukraine are clearly in violation of these provisions. With our seat on the UN Security Council, Ireland could and should have done that raised concerns a few months ago and may have helped ease Russian fears and the likelihood of escalation.
Regardless of the outcome of the current war, these concerns will not go away. A viable solution envisages a nuclear-weapon-free Eastern Europe between the two nuclear powers Russia and NATO – as many American commentators from Henry Kissinger (2014) to Noam Chomsky last year have been calling for.
Undoubtedly, global warming poses a real and imminent threat to humanity. However, the planet itself has suffered and recovered from climate change in past epochs. However, with nuclear devastation, there will be no going back.
Billy Fitzpatrick, Former National Chair, Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (ICND)
The Russians must rise up to defeat the tyrant Putin
LEADING Russian experts tell us that Vladimir Putin is surrounded by a shrinking bubble of “yes men” who stoke the fires of his obsessive nationalism and tell him what he wants to hear.
The plans for the invasion of Ukraine were drawn up by this small clique of yes-men who believed that Ukraine would not resist and Russian soldiers could easily intervene Kyiv and install a puppet Putin regime.
soldiers became brainwashed to believe They would be welcomed as liberators and not fought as invaders. But Ukraine’s resistance was massively underestimated.
Russian forces have become bogged down, literally stuck in the mud in places. Economic sanctions have sent the country into a tailspin, store shelves are completely empty and many shops have closed.
Thousands of Russians have even taken to the streets because Putin’s control of the information environment is not entirely airtight. Recently, a guest on a Russian state television channel condemned the war, and a communist deputy from the State Duma appeared in one street protest.
The likelihood that Putin will be impeached or ousted by the Russian people increases every time he shows his totalitarianism
Russia’s main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has called Putin’s invasion crazy and called for anti-war protests. Citizens must listen to him, take to the streets and push Putin out.
The majority of Russians think the war in Ukraine is a massive mistake by Putin. Now is the time to act, power rests with the people and Putin can only be ousted from within.
Kieran O’Regan, Dublin 9
Airy words can cut deeper than knives
Only people who living with the horrific history of vitriol aimed at them for being different, understand the ‘airy’ Dáil exchange between Michael Healy-Rae and Leo Varadkar.
Unfortunately this particular exchange has been portrayed as a town-country affair, when in fact there is intentional or unintentional abuse in all parts. Whatever people’s politics, words matter. Words can cut deep and above all destroy people those who constantly have to live with them.
Sometimes they are used without ill intentions. If that’s the case, they need to be withdrawn quickly. words matter. Used incorrectly, they can kill and destroy the soul at the same time. In these terrible, deadly times, words must be used with care.
Seamus Boland, Moate, Co.Westmeath
Limerick transports refugees into the past
LAST weekend between 50 and 60 Ukrainian refugees were given a warm welcome in the townland of Ardagh in West Limerick. On their long and torturous journey, they must have pondered their final destination.
Driving down the avenue to Cahermoyle House, near the village of Ardagh, they must have thought they had been transported back in time, and in a sense they were.
They had entered William Smith O’Brien’s estate, where they were to be lodged in the 19th-century mansion built by his son Edward. It is somewhat ironic, considering that William Smith O’Brien was deported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1849, and while he could hardly be called a fugitive, he still walked away empty-handed.
He was a leader of the Young Ireland movement and had been involved in a failed uprising against a powerful occupier in 1848. He, for his part, had been sentenced to death – a sentence later commuted to conveyance.
I hope the Ukrainian refugees in Ardagh and elsewhere will take some comfort from the fact that he has finally returned to his beloved country.
Pat McLoughlin, Limerick of Newcastle West, Co
Is mutual understanding too much to ask?
Can globalization survive the value gap between the West, Russia and China?
What is the use of promoting each other’s economic growth if your commercial “partners” deny your rights and values to the extent that they will go to war over trivial cultural omissions?
Should we reject liberalism and identify ourselves only through primitive, short-sighted nationalist glasses, seeing other cultural and political differences as insurmountable obstacles to harmonious coexistence?
Is it possible that voters who have never known freedom are so intimidated that they cannot yearn for equality and freedom? Who really wants to live in the present?
Eugene Tannam, Firhouse, Dublin 24
The HSE long weekend effect lasts a lifetime
Eilish O’Regan’s article describing doctors struggling with HSE (March 25) just to ensure adequate care may not surprise your readers.
When they risked everything to protect us during the pandemic, we applauded their efforts, but all our appreciation would not solve the problems.
Leo Varadkar this week described the crisis in hospitals as “the effect of the long weekend”, and familiarity with this kind of predictable dilemma is a sad misfortune hanging over our healthcare workers.
Understaffed teams and insufficient resources have become the norm in all areas of healthcare. Delirious doctors and neglected nurses must be at their wit’s end and sacrifice their own health and well-being just to fulfill their roles.
Infeasible conditions and crippling work hours inevitably take their toll on staff and patients. Medicine always demands the best possible grades and only attracts our best and brightest. So it’s not surprising that so many make the logical decision to look abroad for better opportunities.
They will continue to leave the cities they love so much for better hours and decent resources, far from the recognition of their friends and Family. If we don’t raise health standards in Ireland, we will continue to raise a farewell glass to its most prized cohort.
Elliot McCarthy, Rochestown, Cork
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/ireland-could-have-helped-avoid-putins-blow-to-nuclear-non-proliferation-41488941.html Ireland could have helped avoid Putin’s crackdown on nuclear non-proliferation