Behind closed doors, the Irish Navy took seriously the activities of Russian Navy in our territorial waters for several years – especially with regard to the undersea cables that carry internet traffic between Europe and North America.
The concerns of our maritime security officers continually fell on deaf ears within the Government because, it seems, the Department of Defense dismissed them as a ruse by our navy to obtain More high-tech toys.
On a number of recent occasions, our navy and Air Force have tracked a Russian spy ship, the Yantar, as it passed through Irish waters, hovering over vital undersea arteries connecting the two. both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
The main concern for the Irish Navy and that of its European and American partners is that Vladimir Putin’s increasingly hostile regime has been exploiting undersea cables carrying more than 90pc of all communications between the two continents.
But they have also warned of a worst-case scenario where the Russians could spark unprecedented global chaos by literally severing similar cables..
In such a scenario, economic activity would come to a halt on a scale never seen before.
As a senior naval officer explained to me a few years ago: “Those cables are a vital lifeline to the functioning of our economy, and so if they were to be broken, all the traffic would be lost.” Our communication will suddenly stop.
“Our foreign direct investment is sold on the fact that we have a safe and secure environment.
“That is why we – the Irish authorities – have an obligation to make sure that no one interferes in it. We cannot become a weak link in the EU’s security infrastructure – we have a responsibility to our neighbors on which we can rely.
“The truth is that due to the constant shortage of highly skilled staff, conditions and low wages, we can only put about six of our nine ships out to sea and remember that a fleet of nine The aircraft is completely incapable of patrolling large areas. The ocean is our exclusive economic zone.
“The problem is that no one in the Government listens to us because the department controls the messenger by effectively silencing us.”
But all of that has changed in the last 10 days thanks to Putin – the modern day equivalent of Adolf Hitler – who has made our officials and Government impossible to disdain – and many in the military would say is cowardly – doze off.
To put the words of Lenin, the founding father of the empire that Putin is trying to re-establish by setting the world on fire: “There are decades when nothing happens and there are weeks when decades do.”
The decades that have transpired in the last 10 or so days have shown the fallacy of Ireland’s neutrality, where Putin values the human rights of the Ukrainian people as much as he does.
Defense experts have long warned that Ireland, given its strategically important economic and communications position within the EU, is certainly within Putin’s sights. Ireland was used as a major spy base in Europe.
The cataclysmic events currently occurring on the EU’s eastern border have shown Ireland’s version of eerie neutrality.
For several decades now, we have chosen to hide behind the protective shield of Nato – and especially Britain’s – while telling the world that we do not want to be part of that military alliance.
Rather than a strict policy of defense, our Government signed a secret agreement with the UK over 20 years ago allowing their warplanes to patrol our airspace when the need arises. bridge.
It’s government policy to deny the existence of the worst state secret treaty ever.
Our military relationship with the UK and our partners in the EU is like dependent on your neighbour. for your protection because you don’t bother to install locks or install an alarm system. But at the same time, based on the logic of Ireland’s policy of neutrality, for moral and philosophical reasons, people would have to give up resorting to a good neighbor’s help if their property was attacked.
There was nothing morally cowardly in a time when liberal democracy is under greatest threat since Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Hirohito planned world domination in the 1930s.
The most recent report from Freedom House, a global democracy and human rights watchdog, argues that the outcome is similar to that of the climate change crisis. It found that democracy was in decline as rapidly as the ice cap at the poles.
In the preamble to the 2022 report on the global expansion of authoritarianism, it warns: “Global freedom is facing a grave threat. Around the world, the enemies of liberal democracy – a form of self-government in which human rights are recognized and all individuals are treated equally under the law – are accelerating their attacks. they “.
The share of countries that could be classified as liberal democracies fell from 46 percent in 2005 to 20.3 percent in 2021 – before Putin entered the war.
Democracy everywhere is being dominated by authoritarianism.
In 2005, countries classified as “partially free” or “non-free” accounted for 54 percent of the world. By 2021 it has grown to 80pc.
If Ireland has any meaningful contribution to the new world order, other than its frivolous seat at the toothless United Nations Security Council, then we really must get off the fence.
Our neutrality is an outpouring. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/its-nothing-short-of-moral-cowardice-our-neutralitys-a-busted-flush-we-must-wake-up-41418232.html ‘There is nothing morally cowardly. Our neutrality has fallen, we must wake up’