Monday, May 29, 2006

Daddy or Chips America or China

The phrase daddy or chips comes from this ad where these two girls or walking home from school. And the one girls goes to the other girl. Which do you like the most Katie Daddy or chips. They walk down the road weighing up the decision. Daddy or chips daddy or chips daddy or chips. When they get home their mothers is cooking chips (McCain homefries I think) and they tuck in to eat their plates of chips. Then daddy walks in kiss the girls on the foreheads and takes a chip off the little girls plate and walks off. The girl turns to her sister and says “Chips”.

So you are asking yourself what is that relevance of using that anecdote. Well I like anecdotes always have. But I think in this instance it is kind of relevant. The girl decided which she preferred by the fact that her father took a chip off her reflecting on which benefited her the most at the time. A bit of a reach maybe but anyway I will continue.

Richard Waghorne in his April Magil column talked about Ireland’s foreign policy.

Ireland can choose to define itself internationally either in terms of what we are for or what we are against. If the anti-American left has its way, expect self-indulgent gesture politics. Alternatively, we can define ourselves positively – in favour of democracy, open markets, and support for small states.

I have to say I utterly agree with the above statement. We elect our government to represent us. Yet we give China as much control over our Foreign Policy as we do the Dail. Our Foreign policy is dictated to by the triple lock. I.e. that the Dail, the cabinet and the UN have to agree for our troops to be deployed. China is going to look after China’s interests and so it should. But due to its presence on the UN security council. It’s interest become our policy. Take Kosovo. I don’t think many in Ireland would object to Irish intervention in Kosovo on principle. Yet we did nothing because China disagreed. To me that is a wrong and an abandoning of the trust the people lay in the government with their vote.

However what Richard misses is that following the UN is not the only way the people’s voice is not heard. He says

Shackled to the UN, our scope for democracy promotion initiatives limits our options
Yet seems to miss the fact that being shackled to America is precisely the same thing.

Ireland is exceptionally well placed to back all three and support the numerous small states making the transition to democracy, free markets, and American partnership.

Why should we in Ireland support and promote American partnership. We are a free nation democratic nation and we should be forthright in our defence of democractic principles. Now we are never going to be a military power. But as Richard points out we could have

An imaginative policy in Iveagh House[ed. which] would see Ireland convening conferences and joint statements calling for sustained international support for democrats around the world, before and after they attain power.

He follows this statement with.

It needn’t tie in directly with Washington’s agenda,

The thing is it shouldn’t “needn’t tie in” it “should not tie in“. Ireland’s foreign policy should be Ireland’s. Whether or not it is America’s should not matter. If Ireland’s representatives chose a policy that is not in line with America or indeed against America then it should be Ireland’s policy. Calls for a closer co-operation with America. Should be not heeded unless it just so happens we agree. American policy should not influence ours tying our policy into something like NATO is as bad if not worse then tying into the UN. Promoting an Atlanticist policy is no different to promoting a China alliance policy. We are a free nation. We should decide our policy as a free nation.

We can like or not like Daddy and Chips at the same time and chose between Daddy or Chips when we want. It is what democracy and freedom is all about.

1 comment:

Niall said...

Very Good. You're absolutely right. The likes of that chap always think that it's an "either/or" situation. That need not be so, and should be so.