Keeping an eagle eye on Russia

 

Sir, – Unwarranted, Uncalled for, Senseless and Regrettable (Yuri Filatov, Home News, March 28th). Is that Russian for GUBU? – Yours, etc,

RAY KEYES,

Kildangan, Co Kildare.

Sir, – “Stay friends with Russia” was Bismarck’s maxim. This was ignored by the Kaiser in his foreign policy before the first World War.

It was also disregarded by Hitler, who launched a grand alliance against the USSR composed of Germany-Austria, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Croatia and Slovakia, along with the Blue Division from Spain and tens of thousands of SS volunteers each from France, Belgium and Holland.

However, such adventures in Russia were not limited to those led by Germany. The UK, France, the US and Japan all intervened in 1918-20 during the Russian civil war. An Anglo-French force invaded Crimea in 1854 and Emperor Napoleon took Moscow with his pan-European Grande Armée in 1812.

While none of this makes Russia an innocent party in history or indeed the present, it provides a perspective from their side that must be taken into account if Europe is to avoid the mistakes of the past.

Ireland, by expelling a Russian diplomat, instead of remaining impartial, is now lending support to the “Great Game” of international power rivalry, a term incidentally coined by the Anglo-Irish Captain Arthur Conolly. He was beheaded in Uzbekistan for spying in 1842. Let’s hope Ireland’s new role in big-world politics has a happier outcome. – Yours, etc,

KEVIN ENRIGHT,

Monasterboice,

Co Louth

Sir, – In order that he can advise President Putin appropriately, the Russian ambassador to Ireland Yuri Filatov needs to know that the outrageous actions of the Irish Government in expelling a Russian diplomat from Ireland without good reason, do not represent the views of the ordinary decent Irish people.

Our “look-at-me, I’m-a-good-boy” Taoiseach and the rest of his Vichy government have clearly had their orders from Brussels on this one. The sooner that they, their hangers-on, their “Dr Goebbels” communication unit, and indeed their beloved EU are all gone from our midst, the better. – Yours, etc,

AVA HENDON,

Woodstown, Co Waterford.

Sir, – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has and is conducting a campaign of unimaginable barbarity against Yemen. Saudi warplanes are refuelled by British, French and American facilities to exacerbate this imbroglio.

Eight million Yemenis, a third of the population and almost twice the population of the Republic of Ireland face starvation as a result of a land, sea and air blockade.

Will Leo Varadkar be expelling one diplomat from the embassies of the countries that have heretofore facilitated this atrocity? – yours, etc,

JOHN CLIFFORD,

Dublin 1.

Sir, – In 1948 in Ottawa, Canada, John A Costello as taoiseach in the first Irish inter-party government ended the last formal British link over most of Ireland when he declared an Irish Republic, formally inaugurated in April 1949.

It now appears that 70 years later the British Foreign Office under Boris Johnson has once again taken back control of Ireland’s foreign affairs, courtesy of the decision of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, to expel a Russian diplomat based in Ireland on the premise that the “Russian Federation was highly likely to have been responsible for the attack in Salisbury on March 4th, 2018, and that there was no plausible alternative explanation.”

This decision of expulsion, which is incompatible with our policy of neutrality, should have been made, not by government alone, but by the Dáil after exhaustive debate of the known facts. – Yours, etc,

TOM COOPER,

Templeogue, Dublin 6w.

Sir, – This revolution in Irish foreign policy based on “solidarity” with those who suffer is a long time coming. But presumably now we can look forward to a raft of expulsions in “solidarity” with the people of Yemen, Palestine, Cuba and God knows how many other countries oppressed and attacked by the great empires. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN LACEY

Dublin 8.

Sir, – Where was the Strategic Communications Unit when the Taoiseach needed it most? Striding out to meet reporters after the European Council summit in Brussels last Friday (March 23rd), the Taoiseach volunteered that: “It was actually at my proposal, and that of President Macron, that we changed the conclusions to say that we agreed with the UK position rather than were just concerned about it . . .”

Taoiseach, France is France, its economy is bigger than Russia’s. It can afford to go toe to toe with President Putin. That’s what the big beasts do!

Of course, it’s nice to count yourself as one of the big boys, but as a small, non-aligned country that must box clever in external relations, such unnecessary posturing leaves Ireland desperately exposed.

Shades of the Skibbereen Eagle promising to “keep its eye on the Emperor of Russia”? – Yours, etc,

JON DRAC,

Dublin 8

Sir, – Why was it necessary for Irish Ministers to wait a number of days in order to receive a “security assessment” concerning personnel attached to the Russian Embassy in Dublin?

Surely the Minister responsible should be able to pick up his telephone at any time of the day or night and be given an instant up-to-date security assessment on all personnel in a chosen number of diplomatic missions to this country, Russian included? – Yours, etc,

LIAM STENSON,

Galway.

Sir, – Russian to judgment? – Yours, etc,

PAUL DELANEY,

Dalkey, Co Dublin.