I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
I wish to share my time with Deputy McGinley, by agreement.
Vol. 581 No. 6
I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
I wish to share my time with Deputy McGinley, by agreement.
Is that agreed? Agreed.
Historians, when they come to write the authoritative history of independent Ireland in the 20th century, will highlight two key dates as having a special significance: 24 December 1955, when Ireland joined the United Nations and 1 January 1973, when Ireland joined the European Economic Community. When Ireland joined the United Nations we entered into an important international agreement, under the terms that are stipulated in Article IV, Chapter 2, of the Charter of the United Nations, which states: "Membership in the United Nations is open to all peace-loving states which accept the obligations of the Charter and, in the judgement of the organisation, are willing and able to carry out these obligations." In this way, Ireland aligned itself with the peaceful nations of the world and recognised we have responsibilities that extend beyond our geographical borders. In matters of international peace and security, Ireland gladly accepted the role that comes with full and active participation within the United Nations. Importantly, this act seemed to signal an end to the policies of isolation that preceded it. Irish neutrality in the Second World War was not then, and should not be seen now, as a matter for national pride. Ireland has never fully confronted the significant moral questions that arise from our inaction in the face of the unspeakable evil that swept Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
No country can exist and no society can live in splendid isolation from everyone else. The interdependence of the modern world, and our growing connectivity in terms of language, culture, trade and common experience, has helped Ireland to realise that we have an important role to play on the international stage, at European and United Nations level. When Ireland took the historic step of becoming a member of the European Economic Community in 1973, it was another significant milestone. In the same way that Ireland had recognised our place within the United Nations, we now forged an alliance with our European neighbours that was to shape our future. Through membership of the United Nations and the EEC, Ireland took a place on the world stage. Ireland realised that we have responsibilities to other states and peoples, and that separation from our neighbours was not an option.
In joining the United Nations, Ireland undertook to assist the work of the UN in every possible way. The Irish Defence Forces have continued to meet this undertaking, and meet it courageously, without fail. Since 1958, the Defence Forces have had a continuous presence on peacekeeping missions, and from the Middle East to Central America this presence has been valued and respected. However, the manner in which a contingent of the Defence Forces may be deployed on service to the United Nations is of concern to Fine Gael. The participation of the Defence Forces is subject to what is commonly known as a triple lock, which in effect places an excessive restriction on Defence Forces participation in peacekeeping and peace enforcement missions. It may even put them in line for more dangerous duties and out of consideration for less dangerous ones.
Under the triple lock system, before a contingent of the Defence Forces may be deployed, three conditions must be satisfied: the action they are taking part in must be endorsed by a full United Nations mandate establishing or authorising such an international UN force; the deployment must be agreed within the Government itself; and the deployment must be approved by Dáil Éireann. The triple lock system is too restrictive and needs to be reformed. It means that, although the Government has committed 850 troops to the EU Rapid Reaction Force, an EU capability designed to undertake humanitarian and crisis management tasks, these forces will only be deployed under the triple lock system. This means, for Ireland, that any potential military action must be endorsed by a full United Nations mandate establishing or authorising such an international UN force, approved by Dáil Éireann and agreed within the Government.
Fine Gael's International Peace Missions Deployment Bill 2003, in my name and that of Deputy McGinley, aims to reform the outdated triple lock. By applying such a restrictive code upon the involvement of Irish forces in even European operations, the Government has ruled out Irish participation in certain peacekeeping activities that, while being in keeping with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, may lack a specific UN resolution.
Chapter VIII, Article 52, of the Charter of the United Nations sets out the position with regard to regional arrangements as follows:
Nothing in the present Charter precludes the existence of regional arrangements or agencies for dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security as are appropriate for regional action provided that such arrangements or agencies and their activities are consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
The Bill will allow for continued participation in an international UN force and will also allow for participation in other peace missions that are in keeping with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Moreover, given the long and proud tradition of the Defence Forces in peacekeeping and peace enforcement activities internationally, reform of the triple lock system is especially critical. Without reform, the triple lock will continue to prohibit participation of the Defence Forces in certain peacekeeping activities.
It is clear that the triple lock is excessively restrictive. For example, the Defence Forces could not take part in an EU peacekeeping force such as Operation Concordia, sent to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, even though this force replaced NATO forces in the region and had both UN and EU support, although not a formal UN resolution.
The difficulty in getting a UN resolution establishing or authorising an international UN force can relate to the self-interests of members of the UN Security Council. The Security Council is made up of five permanent members and ten rotating members. It normally takes nine Security Council members to carry a resolution, so long as none of the permanent members — the US, Russia, China, the UK and France — vote against. In the case of Macedonia, however, such a resolution fell foul to the self-interests of one of the permanent members.
The member that stood between Macedonia and a formal UN resolution was China. This resulted in the withdrawal of UNPREDEP, the UN Preventive Deployment Force in Macedonia, which was to be extended to the region. Macedonia had recognised Taiwan, so China retaliated by blocking the UN peacekeeping force resolution, a selfish act on the part of the Chinese Government. The only reason China could have had for voting against the resolution was to send a message across the globe, the message being: "If you recognise Taiwan, we will thwart any resolutions of assistance to you at the United Nations".
We can argue about the structures and decision-making processes at the United Nations another day. The simple fact is that Ireland's Defence Forces were grounded and prevented from going to the assistance of another country because of the petty approach adopted by China at the United Nations. By having an automatic triple lock we have given self-serving members of the UN Security Council which may be operating to a narrow national agenda the right to pre-empt our free decisions. This is neither healthy nor wise. If it is China today, it could be Russia, the United States, France or Britain some other day. That is not right. Importantly, it also takes from our right as a free Parliament to take sovereign and independent decisions as we see fit and in keeping with our beliefs.
This triple lock is too restrictive and imposes a political straitjacket on Ireland's long tradition of peacekeeping. Although the Government has committed 850 troops to Liberia, Irish forces can only be deployed under a UN mandate. There can, therefore, be no European Rapid Reaction Force under Chapter 8. Party politics should not play a part in this, nor should the Government be cowed by fear of extremists. Fine Gael wants an end to the triple lock and a principled basis to be established on which deployment decisions are made.
The Defence Forces have embarked on a challenging and dangerous mission to Liberia. There should be no prohibition on Defence Forces involvement in the ongoing action in Macedonia or, as is likely, a force that may be sent to Bosnia-Herzegovina in the near future. The Defence Forces should be allowed to act in both Macedonia and Bosnia Herzegovina, probable future member states of the European Union, but the triple lock straitjacket prevents us taking part.
The International Peace Missions Deployment Bill 2003 is specifically drafted to recognise the primacy and importance of the United Nations and, within this country, Dáil Éireann. Even though Fine Gael seeks to remove the need for a specific UN resolution before a contingent of the Defence Forces can be dispatched, the Bill makes specific reference to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. For example, section 3 would amend the Defence (Amendment) (No. 2) Act of 1960 to clearly state a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force may be dispatched for service outside the State as part of a particular international United Nations force or international peace mission if Dáil Éireann was satisfied that the international peace mission accorded with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. The Bill goes on to state a resolution approving of the dispatch would also have to be passed by Dáil Éireann.
The purposes and principles of the United Nations are set forth in Articles I and II of the UN Charter. They are the overarching aims of the United Nations and the broad and noble aspirations that we, as a member of the United Nations, are pledged to uphold. The main purposes of the United Nations are to affirm the importance of international peace and security and, to that end, take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace; to suppress acts of aggression; and to bring about, by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, settlements of international disputes. Furthermore, the United Nations exists to promote the need for the development of friendly relations among states based on respect for equal rights and the self-determination of peoples, and to achieve international co-operation in solving problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character. In addition to these fundamental purposes, the principles of the United Nations include the affirmation of the sovereign equality of all members, the requirement that all members settle international disputes peacefully, and the obligation that members shall give the United Nations every assistance in its actions.
I am proud that this Bill, brought forward by Fine Gael, recognises and upholds these purposes and principles. While it would allow for a contingent of the Defence Forces to be deployed without a specific United Nations resolution, it particularly denotes that any such action would have to be in keeping with the purposes and principles to which we, as a member of the United Nations, wholeheartedly subscribe.
All too often when we talk about Irish security policy, opponents of greater engagement talk about the need to preserve Irish sovereignty. However, there is nothing sovereign about the current situation. The reality is that under the triple lock we abdicate our freedom to decide for ourselves and leave it in the hands of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Fine Gael wants to end this barrier to Ireland acting as an independent sovereign state. The purpose of the Bill is to end this restriction on our sovereignty. The Bill seeks to amend the Defence Acts to allow Ireland to send troops to participate in peace missions, once the Dáil was satisfied that those missions were in keeping with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
Chapter 8, Article 52 of the UN Charter deals with regional arrangements. Section 3 of the Bill would allow the dispatch of Irish troops as part of an international peace mission if a UN resolution had been passed by the Dáil and it was in keeping with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as set out in Chapter 8, Article 52. In other words, in peacekeeping and enforcement we would decide for ourselves what did and did not meet the UN Charter requirements and we would not in future be vetoed on this issue by Security Council members acting selfishly.
The UN Security Council is the authority under international law which can sanction action against aggressors under Chapter 7 of the Charter. Fine Gael did not support the recent war in Iraq because it did not have the sanction of proper authority in international law, that is, the Security Council. The triple lock did not prevent the use of Irish airspace and facilities by the United States. This is a separate issue and relates to the deployment of our own troops in peace missions as and when we decide.
The Dáil is the proper authority in constitutional law permitted to decide on the deployment of our troops in lawful peacekeeping or peace enforcement activities but it was sidelined on Macedonia by another state acting selfishly, although 13 other EU member states and 14 non-EU states participated. They were not sidelined in this manner. This is in keeping with the UN Charter which we consistently seek to uphold. Where the United Nations clearly supports the deployment of EU troops, as in Macedonia, it is nonsense that we cannot participate. Serving in Macedonia and, in the future, Bosnia-Herzegovina, would present less danger to Irish troops than the current deployment of Irish troops in Liberia.
This ludicrous situation has been openly acknowledged by members of one of the Government parties, the Progressive Democrats, notably Senator Minihan on 30 March 2003 when he told the press that it was "complete nonsense" that Ireland had to decline to take part in the EU peacekeeping mission in Macedonia. Furthermore, he said: "While we want the UN to be central to our foreign policy aims, our own law has left us in an absurd position in relation to peacekeeping in Europe." I share these views. What is important in all of these matters is that we take the decision, in our sovereign Parliament, based on the UN Charter, not the agenda requirements of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
When I launched the Fine Gael policy document, Beyond Neutrality, last May, I undertook to bring forward a Bill that would correct the triple lock anomaly. The position of Fine Gael is amply illustrated within this document. It states: "The ‘triple lock' system is ... a political straightjacket". The fact that there is no support from Ireland for the peacekeeping forces in Macedonia illustrates the need to revisit security and defence issues within an EU framework, in line with the commitments made in Beyond Neutrality, we have introduced this Bill.
Ireland is a sovereign State and Dáil Éireann is Ireland's independent Parliament. Neither China nor any other state should have a veto on whether we send our Defence Forces for service overseas. To allow this situation to continue into the future is to turn our backs on the important responsibilities that come with independence. Fine Gael will continue to raise the issue of defence and security in the hope that we can at last have a healthy debate on what are issues of major national importance.
The introduction of this Bill is a logical follow through on the policy document issued last May and of which my colleague, Deputy Gay Mitchell, was the main architect. It is appropriate and opportune that the Bill is introduced in the Dáil at this time.
The United Nations came into being on 24 October 1945 with Ireland becoming a member in 1955. Since its establishment, the United Nations has become synonymous with the application of a fair and just international law. Born of the dreadful conflict that was the Second World War, the name United Nations was first used in the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments would continue fighting together against an evil that threatened Europe and the rest of the world.
When Ireland joined the United Nations, we undertook an onerous responsibility. Members of the United Nations do not simply sign on the dotted line. They undertake to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours; to unite to maintain international peace and security; to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest; and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.
In addition, members of the United Nations pledge support for the UN through their armed forces when called upon by the UN for assistance. It is right and proper that we remind ourselves of the bravery and the selflessness of our Defence Forces when called to the service of the United Nations.
A contingent of Ireland's Defence Forces is currently serving on one of its most challenging and dangerous missions in Liberia. The Minister has first-hand knowledge of, and information on, the conditions and dangerous situation in which they are operating in that country. These members of the Defence Forces are following in a long and proud tradition. Ireland has a long history of service under the flag of the United Nations and this must be a source of considerable pride to the Irish people. Since 1958, the Defence Forces have had a continuous presence on United Nations peacekeeping missions, mainly in the Middle East. However, in recent years, Defence Forces' personnel have also found themselves in many other parts of the globe as peacekeepers.
Ireland's first observer mission with the United Nations was in 1958, when a contingent of the Defence Forces travelled to the Lebanon. The first peacekeeping mission to which an armed Irish contingent was committed was to the Congo from 1960 to 1964. Indeed, an Irish officer, Lieutenant General Sean McKeown, was force commander in the Congo from January 1961 to March 1962. Over 6,000 Irishmen served on this mission, 26 of whom died while on service to the United Nations.
Ireland's role in the United Nations has continued to evolve. The first enforcement mission was to Somalia in 1993, and the Defence Forces are involved in an ongoing stabilisation force in former Yugoslavia, known as SFOR.
Defence Forces personnel have served as observers in central America, Russia, former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Namibia, Western Sahara, South Africa and East Timor. This displays clearly the Irish commitment to important peacekeeping work, a commitment that was strengthened in 1993 when the then Government restated the roles of the Defence Forces and defined one of them as being "To participate in United Nations missions in the cause of international peace." This was further affirmed in the 1996 White Paper on Foreign Policy which states, "Given the unique role and authority of the United Nations and the fact that its peacekeeping activities have proved an important element in containing conflict, the Government are committed to sustaining the overall level of Ireland's contribution to peacekeeping." However, this contribution has had a high cost. In the cause of peace, 82 members of our Defence Forces have given their lives — a huge contribution and sacrifice from a small country.
The Defence Forces have had a high degree of success in the troubled parts of the world where they have served. By definition, the role of the peacekeeper is a difficult one. Peacekeepers are sent to those areas where acts of violence are a daily occurrence and where local and international agreements are being breached. Those serving as peacekeepers are equipped with defensive weaponry, but can only use force in self-defence.
Ireland, as a country without colonies, is free of the historical baggage that weighs heavily on other forces which may be called to assist in the world's trouble spots. The independence of those from Ireland's Defence Forces who serve with the United Nations is above question, and is apparent from the high level of success that they have achieved on many trips to the troubled regions of the world.
The traditional type of peacekeeping missions in which the Defence Forces were involved from the late 1950s have become ever more diverse and onerous. Today, the Defence Forces on missions with the United Nations are involved in multifaceted operations, which include the investigation of human rights abuses; disarming and demobilising forces; monitoring elections; mine clearance; protection of humanitarian aid; establishment and protection of safe areas; assisting the civil administration; and dealing with other UN agencies and non-governmental organisations on an increasing basis.
Despite the range of responsibilities that the Defence Forces may find on mission with the United Nations, the manner in which a contingent of the Defence Forces can be deployed for service abroad remains tied to an antiquated provision of existing legislation. The provisions of the Defence (Amendment) Act 1960 mean that three criteria must be met before a contingent of the Defence Forces may be dispatched for service. Section 2 of the Act provides for the deployment of a contingent of the Defence Forces for service outside the State if such action is endorsed by a full United Nations mandate establishing or authorising such an international UN force; approved by Dáil Éireann and agreed within the Government.
On the face of it, this may seem like a reasonable set of provisions. The dispatch of any contingent of the Defence Forces is a serious matter requiring appropriate care and consideration. However, by applying such a restrictive code, usually referred to as the triple lock system, on the involvement of Irish forces in even European operations, the Government has also ruled out Irish participation in some peacekeeping activities.
For example, Ireland could not participate in the EU peacekeeping force sent to Macedonia, a probable future member of the EU, even though this force replaced NATO and had both EU and UN support set out in resolution 1371. It now seems likely that EU troops will replace NATO in Bosnia-Herzegovina itself.
Individual political positioning at the United Nations can affect whether the UN is able to reach a decision regarding a formal resolution endorsing a peacekeeping force. The self interests of members of the Security Council can play a negative role, as they did in the case of Macedonia. The Security Council is made up of five permanent members and ten rotating members. It normally takes nine Security Council members to carry a resolution, so long as none of the permanent members — the US, Russia, China, the UK and France — votes against. However, in the case of Macedonia, such a resolution was not carried because it did not suit the interests of China. Macedonia had recognised Taiwan, so China consequently retaliated by blocking the UN peacekeeping force resolution. Therefore, by having a triple-lock, we have given self-serving members of the UN Security Council, who may be operating to a narrow national agenda, the right to pre-empt our free decision. Obviously, this situation is neither healthy nor wise.
Under the triple-lock system we abdicate our freedom to decide for ourselves and we leave it in the hands of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. There should not be a barrier to Ireland acting as an independent State. It is absurd that our sovereign decision can be manipulated by a world power, as happened in the case of Macedonia.
Developments at EU level have also thrown into focus the Defence Acts and the manner in which a contingent of the Defence Forces can be deployed. In 1999, EU leaders agreed to create a rapid reaction force to which Ireland committed troops but these troops continue to be bound by the restrictions of the triple-lock system.
The provisions of the current legislation require immediate reform. In fact, when the Minister for Foreign Affairs commented on the matter in the House last May, he made an interesting remark regarding the Defence Acts:
The provisions of the Defence Acts date from a period in which it was not envisaged that the UN would become increasingly reliant upon regional organisations to provide assistance with such operations. In view of the fact that UN reliance on organisations such as the EU is likely to increase rather than diminish, we will continue to monitor and assess the developing situation.
Earlier last year, on 9 April 2003, the Minister for Foreign Affairs made an even more interesting comment regarding the Defence Acts:
It may be necessary to reflect on the implications of the current position and on ways by which we can overcome the problems which have arisen in this case.
Prior to that, on 30 March 2003, a Government Member of the Seanad, Senator Minihan of the PDs, stated that it was "complete nonsense that Ireland has to decline to take part in the EU peacekeeping mission in Macedonia". It seems clear the Government is in agreement with the Fine Gael position on that matter.
The Defence Acts, which stipulate that a formal UN resolution is required before a contingent of the Defence Forces is dispatched, require amendment. The International Peace Missions Deployment Bill 2003 is the way to effect this change. This Bill would end the triple-lock system and amend the Defence Acts to allow Ireland to send troops to participate in peace missions, even where those missions are not set up as an international UN force. However, the Bill specifically requires that any deployment should be in accord with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. This is detailed in section 3 which states clearly that a contingent of the Defence Forces may only be dispatched "where Dáil Éireann is satisfied that the international peace mission accords with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter". In this way, while the mission would not require a formal United Nations resolution, it would be bound by the purposes and principles of the UN. This would remove the current triple-lock system under which Irish participation in peacekeeping missions can continue to be vetoed, but would also ensure that missions would be in accordance with the overarching aims and ambitions of the UN.
The purposes and principles of the United Nations are laid out in Articles I and II of the United Nations Charter. There is nothing in these articles to which any Member of this House could object. The commitment that any future mission the Defence Forces might participate in would be in accordance with these articles, is in keeping with the will of the Irish people and the will of this House.
At European level there are significant movements towards the establishment of a common security and defence architecture. In calling for reform of the triple-lock system, the Bill is in keeping with long-standing Fine Gael policy as set forth by Deputy Gay Mitchell in the document entitled Beyond Neutrality. In that document, Fine Gael called for Ireland not only to become a member of a European common defence and security arrangement, but advocated that Ireland should become an architect of the emerging system. Our reasons for this are clear. With the attempts to reach agreement on a new constitutional treaty for the European Union, matters relating to common defence and security have been discussed. The Government has utterly failed to involve Ireland in these discussions in any meaningful way. It is clear that if we maintain our current position, a common security and defence arrangement will be agreed that reflects the needs and concerns of other European Union member states, but not Ireland's.
Fine Gael advocates that Ireland should now embrace an open and honest debate on the future of Irish neutrality and we have put forward five key recommendations that should form the bedrock of a future European defence arrangement. In light of developments at European level in recent months and the continuing quest for agreement on a future constitution for the EU, that has eluded us so far, it would be apt to quote each of these five key principles, as follows: 1. adherence to the fundamental principles of the United Nations; 2. a commitment to the vigorous pursuit of the goal of universal nuclear and biological disarmament, and to a solemn undertaking by the European Defence Union, acting as an entity, not to use nuclear or biological weapons; 3. a commitment to mutual defence and support among all EU member states but based on Article V Protocol opt-in arrangements for those states which do not want to make this an automatic provision; 4. a commitment, as a priority, to the provision of resources to peace-keeping and peace-making operations and to the Petersberg Tasks; and, 5. respect for the right of other member states to be involved in other military alliances, such as NATO, if they so wish.
The first of these five key recommendations is the commitment that any future defence entity should adhere to the fundamental principles of the United Nations. This commitment is echoed in the International Peace Missions Deployment Bill 2003, which specifically states that missions must be in keeping with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
The triple-lock mechanism dates from a period when it was not envisaged that the United Nations would become more heavily reliant on regional organisations, such as the European Union, to achieve peace and stability in troubled areas of the world. This three-part mechanism, whereby the Defence Forces can only take part in military operations that are specifically endorsed by a United Nations resolution, approved by Dáil Éireann and agreed within the Government, is an excessive restriction that has, so far, restricted Defence Force involvement in operations in Macedonia, which have the support of the UN.
The International Peace Missions Deployment Bill is the mechanism whereby we can amend the Defence Acts, so that the Defence Forces can continue to take part in international United Nations missions. The Bill would also allow them to participate in other peace missions that are in keeping with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Cé nach n-aontaím leis an mBille atá os comhair na Dála, gabhaim buíochas do na Teachtaí Gay Mitchell agus McGinley as ucht na caoi a thug siad seans don Dáil nithe atá chomh tábhachtach seo a phlé. Ireland has accorded central importance to the United Nations since it became a member in 1955 and, within the UN system, has supported effective international action in areas such as disarmament, peacekeeping, development and human rights. Ireland has a long and honourable history in providing personnel to support UN peacekeeping operations throughout the world.
Ireland made its first contribution to a peace support operation in 1958 by contributing personnel to the observer missions in Lebanon and to UNTSO. Ireland's first troop contribution came shortly after in 1960 with the UN mission in the Congo. Since then, Defence Forces personnel have served all over the world in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the far east and south America, completing more than 50,000 tours of duty with UN led or UN authorised missions. This represents almost 25,000 man years of effort on the part of the Defence Forces.
The basis of Ireland's participation in international peacekeeping is firmly grounded in the UN. Ireland is, and always has been, a strong and committed supporter of co-operative multilateral arrangements for collective security through the development of international organisations, especially the UN. Successive Governments have confirmed Ireland's position regarding the UN as the international authority for co-operative arrangements for collective security. In tandem with this, Ireland has recognised and defended the primary role of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
Ireland's policy in this regard was most recently reinforced in the adoption by the people of the Nice treaty. Ireland's act of ratification of the Treaty of Nice has associated with it a national declaration — the Seville Declaration — reiterating that the participation of contingents of the Defence Forces in overseas operations, including those carried out under the European Security and Defence Policy, requires the authorisation of the operation by the Security Council or the General Assembly of the United Nations, the agreement of the Government and the approval of Dáil Éireann in accordance with Irish law.
In acknowledging Ireland's national declaration, the European Council in Seville in 2002 confirmed that the policy of the Union shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain member states, in particular Ireland. It also recognised that Ireland would retain the right to take its own sovereign decision, in accordance with its Constitution and laws, on whether to commit military personnel to participate in an operation carried out under European security and defence policy.
The position of the Government, in emphasising the role of the UN as the international arbiter in the maintenance of international peace and security and the source of legitimacy in international relations, is one which has found favour with the Irish people in their acceptance of the Nice treaty. It is not a position from which we should easily depart.
The Bill seeks to move away from Ireland's long held policy in relation to the UN and in relation to our conduct of international relations. The proponents of the Bill suggest that the UN and its decision-making structures are inherently flawed and ineffective. No one is suggesting that the Security Council is the perfect mechanism or that it always functions as effectively as it might. The Secretary General of the UN has acknowledged as much and is committed to further and ongoing review of the role and the effectiveness of the UN and of its structures. However, a failure on the part of the UN is a failure of the members and for the members. As a member of the UN, Ireland is obligated to work to correct the perceived deficiencies and improve the effectiveness of the system and all our efforts, in the first instance, must be directed towards this goal.
Over the past number of years, international peacekeeping operations have gone through a sustained period of dramatic change, both qualitative and quantitative. Since the end of the Cold War, international and ethnic tensions, poverty, the struggle for resources, the actions of criminal regimes, destructive political ambitions, human rights abuses and general bad governance led to a fresh series of conflicts and to a major increase in the number of international peacekeeping operations and peace enforcing actions mandated or authorised by the UN Security Council.
Many of the new conflicts have arisen not from international tensions of the kind envisaged in the UN Charter, but from internal conditions. Considerations of sovereignty led to a reluctance on the part of some members of the Security Council to allow its involvement in civil wars. However, it quickly became clear that civil wars do not necessarily stop at borders; they often spill over into neighbouring countries and threaten international peace and security. This has been well demonstrated in, for instance, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Security Council, therefore, has increasingly concerned itself with internal conflicts. It has also recognised the need for peace and security to be addressed in a more integrated and long-term way, through the promotion of conflict prevention and peace building, of which good governance, respect for human rights and economic support are key elements.
The challenges presented by the new conflicts have led to a change in the approach of the international community to them. Peacekeeping during the Cold War had for the most part been approached almost entirely in the context of Chapter VI of the UN Charter, which governs the peaceful settlement of disputes. Military action is not envisaged under Chapter VI and the concept of a UN peacekeeping force, under the ultimate command and control of the UN Secretary General acting in accordance with a mandate enshrined in a Security Council resolution, evolved in the 1950s and early 1960s in response to need.
This form of peacekeeping, by definition, requires the consent of the parties or, if intra-state, that of the lawful government. Typically, these peacekeeping forces were engaged in support of a ceasefire or truce, or to monitor the implementation of a peace settlement. Where a peace agreement or settlement proved elusive, they prevented conflicts from widening and drawing in the super powers and made life more tolerable for the people in the conflict area, pending political conditions more conducive to the success of a peace process.
Following the acute situations that have arisen since 1988, the Security Council has resorted more to Chapter VII of the Charter, which is concerned with the restoration of international peace and security in situations where the dispute settlement process has failed. This chapter provides for a series of steps culminating in a mandate to the member states to take such action by land, sea and air as may be necessary to restore international peace and security — article 42. This robust mandate may be accorded to a traditional peacekeeping force. However, some of the situations have been so serious that they have required the deployment of major military assets led by the more powerful member states. This kind of "peace enforcement", authorised by the Security Council and implemented by member states prepared to make military assets available, was envisaged by the framers of the UN Charter in Article 42.
The UN and the international community have responded to the dramatic changes which have taken place in the world order since the close of the Cold War and to the challenges which these changes have heralded for international security co-operation and peacekeeping.
The reliance of the UN on regional organisations to take the lead on UN authorised missions is one of the major developments in the changing environment of UN peacekeeping over recent years. The UN recognises the advantages presented by the existence of regional organisations to which it can assign a mission. Article 53 of the UN Charter envisages the use of regional organisations for enforcement action in the event of threats to international peace and security, subject to the approval of the Security Council for any such action taken by them. There is strong support from regional organisations for these developments. The European Union is supportive of this development and provided the lead role in the recent mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Operation Artemis. The Union is also seeking to improve its early warning and conflict prevention systems. The African union, for instance, has an early warning and conflict prevention unit, and envisages action by African sub-regional bodies, for example the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, in West Africa, and SADC in Southern Africa. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, was established to assist particularly with conflict prevention and peace-building in the immediate aftermath of the end of the Cold War — the Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS, likewise.
The Standby High Readiness Brigade, SHIRBRIG, was formed at the initiative of a number of European countries intended to provide a substantial peacekeeping capability to the United Nations. NATO, though primarily a collective defence alliance, is leading certain peace-enforcement actions in KFOR, SFOR, and ISAF with Security Council approval. Ireland is participating and supporting these developments and members of the Defence Forces have served on many of these missions and with these organisations.
Another key development in UN peacekeeping has been the increasing use of Chapter VII missions under the Charter, commonly referred to as peace making or peace enforcement. This development is one of the factors which has led the UN to mandate to a greater extent the use of regional organisations and coalitions of the willing to enforce its mandates.
In addition to more robust mandates, UN peacekeeping missions are also becoming significantly more complex involving the full range of responses to a crisis situation. Along with the military task, other elements form a core part of an operation including disarmament, disbandment and reintegration of combatants, the promotion of national reconciliation and respect for human rights; organising and monitoring elections; humanitarian tasks; the re-establishment of policing, judicial and other state institutions and the restoration of civil society. Peacekeeping is, therefore, now seen in a more holistic manner involving the full spectrum of responses required to build peace and establish a functioning civil society based on respect for international law and human rights.
There has also been a growing understanding among the international community in recent years of the importance of taking measures in good time to prevent conflict arising in the first place. On 31 January 1992, the Security Council met for the first time at the level of heads of state or governments to consider the new opportunities for international peace and security. Arising from that meeting, the Secretary General responded to a request by the council and submitted a report in June 1992 entitled Agenda for Peace. Since then, there has been increasing recognition of the need, not just for short-term measures to meet immediate crises but also for long-term measures that address the root causes of conflict, involving a multidisciplinary approach that promotes equitable economic and social development, the strengthening of institutions and respect for human rights. Conflict prevention was also a major theme at the UN Millennium Summit.
In March 2000, the Secretary General of the United Nations convened a high-level panel to undertake a thorough review of the United Nations peace and security activities, and to present a clear set of specific, concrete and practical recommendations to assist the United Nations in conducting such activities better in the future. The panel, comprising a number of eminent personalities with a wide range of experience in the fields of peacekeeping, peace-building, development and humanitarian assistance, was established in response to the failure of the UN in Rwanda and in Srebrenica. The report of the panel, the Brahimi report, recommended structural, financial and systems changes in the manner in which UN peacekeeping operations are planned, supported and implemented.
The reforms proposed in the Brahimi report continue to be implemented. Moreover, the more recent difficulties experienced by the UN have focused further attention on the need for reform within the UN system and this challenge is being taken up by the UN and the member states and Ireland is fully supportive of this reform process.
With all its flaws, the UN and the Security Council are the mechanisms which we have for the resolution of international conflict and they have stood the test of time. While recognising their limitations, we must also recognise their benefits and seek to ensure that the process of reform addresses the deficiencies which all recognise. Just because the system may have been deemed to have failed in a number of situations, we should not simply seek to discard it. The failure of the system should be a catalyst engendering greater support for the reform measures and an encouragement to drive forward the reform process more effectively and more expediently. This is the position and policy of the Government. This is the considered approach. It is the proper and correct approach to see how we can make the system work better.
This Bill does not seek to improve the workings of the UN. It does not support the reform of the UN. If anything, it undermines and represents a turning away from the UN——
That is nonsense.
——and from the primacy of the Security Council. The changes proposed in this Bill would represent a vote of no confidence by Ireland in the UN system——
Would the other 27 states that went to Macedonia do that?
: —and in the capacity of the UN to deliver and to be reformed. This is not a position which we can or should endorse. Ireland's primary objective at this time should be to reinvigorate the UN and strengthen its structures to allow it the scope to fulfil its mission and the vision of its founding principles which are contained in the UN Charter.
There has been some suggestion that the Defence Forces have been precluded from participating in missions as a result of the requirements which underpin our involvement in peace support operations. The role of the Defence Forces in peace support operations is set out in the White Paper on Defence. The Defence Forces are assigned the role of participation in multi-national peace support, crisis management and humanitarian operations in support of the United Nations. In furtherance of Government policy to commit Defence Forces personnel in support of UN mandates, Ireland has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations which commits up to 850 personnel to the United Nations standby arrangements system. Ireland has also committed 850 troops to the EU rapid reaction element and participates in the Partnership for Peace. In March 2003, Ireland signed up to the first two stages of membership of the standby high readiness brigade, or SHIRBRIG, which is a brigade strength force available to the United Nations for peacekeeping duties.
The above commitments are complimentary and mutually reinforcing. Ireland's focus in participating in these arrangements is the development of a capability within the Defence Forces to undertake multi-national peace support operations at the optimum level of inter-operability with participating countries. Ireland's participation should reflect its commitment to collective international peace and security. The enhanced capability being developed arises from our preparations for the EU rapid reaction force. It will therefore serve Ireland's effective involvement in peace support operations irrespective of who provides the leadership role in a mission.
The Defence Forces have risen to the continuing challenges and developments of peacekeeping. Over 65% of Defence Forces personnel have served overseas, a figure which rises to over 85% among officers and NCOs. By participating in UN-authorised peace support operations, the Defence Forces have brought great honour to Ireland. Their committed and dedicated service in overseas missions reflects well on the nation as a whole and contributes to the excellent reputation which Ireland enjoys among peacekeepers throughout the world. Our commitment to the UN system has not inhibited our capacity to participate in and support new developments in the area of peacekeeping, peace enforcement, conflict prevention and the increasing use of regional organisations. Indeed, our current contribution to UN authorised peace support operations is at its highest level since our withdrawal from UNIFIL in 2001. Ireland participates in 21 missions at present and has 800 personnel serving overseas.
Other than in the recent case of the EU mission in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, the current regime has not precluded the participation of the Irish Defence Forces in overseas peace support operations. The circumstances which prevented the participation of the Defence Forces in this mission are unlikely to recur. These circumstances, it will be recalled, related to the fact that while United Nations Resolution 1371 welcomed international efforts to support the implementation of the Ohrid peace agreement in Macedonia, it did not authorise an international United Nations force. This latter condition is required by the Defence Acts. This was a particular scenario and I expect future EU Petersberg Tasks missions to have the required UN authorisation. Such authorisation will enable the Government to consider Defence Forces participation on a case-by-case basis.
The current basis for participation does not, in practice, impede our potential to participate in and contribute to international peace support operations. However, the demand for peacekeepers of the high calibre of the Irish Defence Forces for service on UN authorised peace support operations is significantly in excess of what we can reasonably support within available resources. Our current commitment to Liberia and KFOR, together with the smaller contributions to a wide range of other UN authorised missions, means we are more or less at the limit of our capacity for the foreseeable future.
Of key concern to my Department and the Defence Forces when considering any mission is the safety and security of our personnel. In considering any mission, one must have regard to the degree of risk involved, the existence of realistic objectives, the requirement for a sufficiently robust mandate and the adequacy of resourcing the mission. Participation in peacekeeping operations is not without risk. We should recall the 84 members of the Defence Forces who have lost their lives while serving on UN authorised operations. The fact that a mission has been authorised by the UN lends it a legitimacy which is recognised throughout the world by Governments and the protagonists of conflicts. While obviously not an absolute protection, as we have unfortunately seen in recent times, the legitimacy which the UN conveys is respected and accepted as a general principle in most circumstances. There is no other international organisation in the international security arena whose decisions convey a similar authority or legitimacy.
In the context of the EU Presidency, I would like to expand on the importance the EU attaches to its relationship with the UN, not least in the development of security and defence policies. The centrality of the UN and the primacy of the UN Security Council in matters of peace and security is explicitly recognised by the EU. The General Affairs and External Relations Council of 8 December 2003 reaffirmed the deeply rooted commitment of the European Union to make effective multilateralism a central element of its external action. At the heart of this multilateralism is a strong UN. The EU is determined to play a major role within the UN system in line with its objective of developing a stronger international community, international institutions which function well and international relations based on the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The EU has reaffirmed its intention to contribute actively to the ongoing UN comprehensive reform process. Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of UN bodies, policies and processes is a priority for the EU. The Council concluded that the EU's role in UN affairs should be further developed and made commensurate with its present and future contribution in light of enlargement of the Union. This role should be conducive to the achievement of effective multilateralism by building upon the contribution the EU has already made to UN activities. To help the multilateral system to deliver on its core objectives, the Council reaffirmed the EU's willingness to improve co-operation with the UN in areas where its contribution may produce significant added value for UN activities. While the European Union has progressively consolidated its contributions to sectors of UN activities, including human rights and economic and social issues such as sustainable development, further efforts should be made to raise its profile. This should be done in respect of all the components of a comprehensive approach to peace, security and development, which are inter-related. The components of this approach include conflict prevention, crisis management, peacekeeping and peace-building.
In this context, the Council tasked the Secretary General and Higher Representative to seek to implement the terms of the EU-UN joint declaration of 24 September 2003 on co-operation in crisis management. Practically speaking, the joint declaration implies that EU member states, the Council secretariat and the Commission should intensify their co-ordinated contacts with the UN Secretariat and its departments in this area. Work on the implementation of the joint declaration is under way in terms of planning, training, communication and the development of best practise. Better co-ordination should be achieved between the EU and the UN in addressing disarmament, non-proliferation and terrorism. This should involve joint initiatives, projects and provision of assistance to third countries in the fulfilment of obligations under multilateral instruments and regimes.
The recently adopted European security strategy recognises that the United Nations Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It further recognises that strengthening the United Nations and equipping it to fulfil its responsibilities and act effectively is a European priority. As holder of the Presidency, Ireland has been tasked by the European Council with conducting follow-up work in the areas of effective multilateralism, the fight against terrorism, the strengthening of relations with the Middle East and the Arab world and, not least, the development of a comprehensive strategy for Bosnia-Herzegovina. For the purposes of this debate, my focus is on effective multilateralism. As holder of the Presidency as well as in terms of national policy, this is an area to which Ireland attaches particular importance.
Multilateralism is a recognition that global security can only be achieved through collective action by the international community as a whole. In its security strategy, the EU makes it clear that the United Nations is the crucial organisation in this context. The primary responsibility of the United Nations Security Council to ensure international peace and security is clearly endorsed. As holder of the Presidency, Ireland wishes the EU to use its voice at the UN to better effect and to contribute to the current process of UN reform. The European Union constitutes one of the best examples of effective multilateralism in practice. It is natural that the EU should support the principle of multilateralism and work closely with the UN on crisis management issues. The United Nations itself acknowledges the growing benefits of fostering this co-operation to the benefit of both organisations. Mr. Kofi Annan has welcomed the EU's developing civil and military crisis management capabilities.
As holder of the Presidency, Ireland wants to build on the synergy between the activities of the UN and the EU. There are practical steps which we can take. More effective contacts and co-ordination between the two organisations, which are being put in place, will enable the EU and the UN to respond to challenges which require a rapid response from the international community. The strategy is already paying dividends in terms of EU and UN co-operation as well as in the field of conflict prevention, which lies at the heart of the security strategy. The security strategy clearly states that conflict prevention and threat prevention cannot start too early. The development of a security and defence policy for the EU is therefore consistent with enhancing the UN's capabilities for crisis management and in line with Ireland's proud tradition of involvement in UN peacekeeping missions.
I thank Deputy Gay Mitchell for giving us the opportunity to discuss an important area of Irish foreign policy. I have listened with great care to what he, Deputy McGinley and the Minister for Defence have said. International relations and foreign policy have not been at a lower ebb since the Second World War. I have listened to language such as sustainable development, economic development and human rights etc. There is an enormous disappointment in all these areas.
In 1999 I launched a book on critical development theory, which had a chapter in it by a colleague, Boaventura de Sousa Santos. In it was an interesting quotation on page 30:
With respect to the promise of perpetual peace that Kant formulated so eloquently, while in the eighteenth century 4.4 million people died in 68 wars, in the twentieth century 99 million people died in 237 wars. Between the eighteenth and the twentieth century the world population increased 3.6 times, whereas war casualties increased 22.4 times. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the peace that many thought at long last possible became a cruel mirage in view of the increase of conflicts among states and inside states.
My beginning point on the present position of foreign policy and international relations has a definition of realism that includes not just a description of what is, but also allows for the possibility of what might be.
If that is the position on war, it is interesting to note what Boaventura de Sousa Santos had to say about the kind of economy that has arrived internationally:
The advanced capitalist countries, amounting to 21 per cent of the world's population, control 78 per cent of the world production of goods and services and consume 75 per cent of all the energy produced. Textile or electronics workers in the Third World earn twenty times less than workers in Europe and North America doing the same jobs with the same productivity. Since the debt crisis emerged in the early eighties, Third World countries in debt have been contributing to the wealth of the developed countries in liquid terms, by paying them each year an average of $30 billion more than what they get as new loans. During the same period, available food in Third World countries decreased by about 30 per cent. However, the area of soya bean production in Brazil alone would suffice to feed 40 million people if corn and beans were cultivated there instead. More people died of hunger in the twentieth century than in any of the preceding centuries. The gap between rich and poor countries has not stopped widening.
I mention this because today is the 60th anniversary of the publication ofThe Road to Serfdom by Freidrich A. Hayek. His great fans, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, consider Mr. Hayek a prophet. He is described as a prophet in today’s edition of The Irish Times. He was wrong in what he said about centrally planned economies. He founded the view of an international economy that has produced misery, death and destruction. This is presented to us as being inevitable. The quotations I have made illustrate something that is important, namely, the moral necessity of rejecting the inevitability of war and the inevitability of a single paradigm of economic development that has produced so much misery and destruction in terms of production, debt and life chances.
It is also important to restore something that has not been possible in academic circles for nearly 30 years, namely, a normative theory of foreign policy and international relations. This is one that can take interests into account, but argues for a set of transcendent principles that go beyond narrow national interests. One must ask the question of how Ireland is best served. In this we come to a dilemma.
I agree with Deputy Mitchell about the abuse by China of its position over the Macedonian vote. However, other areas of the world are not considered owing to the abuse of the veto. Chechnya is not often discussed because of Russia's position; Tibet is not often discussed because of China's position; and despite the greatest illegalities, Israel is never remonstrated with because of the protection the United States affords it on the Security Council. The veto is used.
In 1991, one of Ireland's most distinguished foreign servants, the late Erskine Childers published a book with Brian Urquhart on reform of the UN. A second volume was published and Childers worked through the Ford Foundation but also through the Dag Hammarskjold foundation. The debate about reform of the UN was live and vibrant and was getting somewhere. There was also an atmosphere in the time of Olaf Palme and others, and at the time of the Brandt report in which it seemed that there might be a positive debate about the new international economic order.
Today, the UN has been tragically damaged. Imperfect as it is, the UN is our only multi-lateral organisation. There was always the prospect of peace in the founding Charter and its principles have been quoted. The American secretary of state, Colin Powell, read matter that was untrue, concocted by the British intelligence services and stolen from a student's PhD thesis. It was invented and twisted for the purpose of facilitating a war. This presentation in February 2003, and the one in November 2002, are the low points since the foundation of the UN when untruths, deceit and propaganda replaced the stuff of statesmanship and diplomacy. International law, theory and foreign policy were degraded and diplomacy would never be the same.
If integrity is to be restored, it is necessary for Irish foreign policy and international relations that officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs go through all the speeches written for Ministers and Ministers of State, and submissions made to the foreign affairs committee, and make certain that they qualify all the statements made about chemical weapons, weapons of mass destruction etc.
We are faced with a choice. We were preparing for the second Nice treaty referendum when we debated the European Union Act 2001. The explanatory memorandum told us that the first purpose of the Bill was to facilitate scrutiny of European instruments in this House. It continued:
The second purpose is to amend the Defence Acts to provide for participation by contingents of the Defence Forces with the EU's Rapid Reaction Force (‘‘RRF''). The Bill proposes that such participation should be authorised only where the RRF is operating under a mandate given by the Security Council or General Assembly of the United Nations.
This was an attempt to meet the accountability that the public wanted for defence matters and foreign policy. I have been through all of this argument, most recently regarding the Iraq war. In the course of that, one notices, not just in Ireland or Europe but in the United States and throughout the world, is an incredible difference between the moral instinct and aspiration of people for peace and its unavailability. There is an appalling increase in the proportion of gross domestic product spent on armaments in the United States and in its expenditure on military defence compared with what it spends on overseas development aid. It is a scandal which flies to Heaven. In my other life as an academic, I wonder when new international theories and policies are being constructed whether one can see the great betrayal of the promise of modernity.
I think about the dangerous period in which we now live. After the war in Iraq and the United States position, there is talk of a multilateralism which that country governs. We are talking about a new imperialism and a contest between imperialisms, namely, that one is either with it or against it in the classical sense. It is not that the United States foreign policy has retreated within the United States or withdrawn from the world. It is reaching out to the world with a definite notion of hegemony that will be imposed at certain costs. We have our own difficulties. We sometimes appear pathetic as we seek to balance an independent foreign policy against what we feel must be the dutiful forelock tugging of a country that relies so much on foreign direct investment. I have often noticed this. One does not need to repeat it again and again without boring oneself.
It is clear as we listen to the Minister for Defence that, during our Presidency of the EU, one of our great losses has been our inability to deal with the dialogue between Islam and the West. The United Nations recognises this in its structured dialogue between civilisations. The rabid new colonialism is revealed when people speak about imposing democracy and introducing freedom to the Middle East, which has thousands of years of history and its own concept of governance. There are old concepts in China and the Arab world of people working in different types of partnership. Sticking with Friedrich von Hayek, the right that was presented by Reagan and Thatcher spoke about freedom being defined on individualism. This is when one loses the freedom of the person and one speaks of the freedom of the individual, this isolated fear-ridden person who is now at the high point of our civilisation. The language of anti-terrorism is a language of introducing fear to the heart of domestic and foreign policy. We should be afraid and spend more on armaments and militarisation. There is the notion of co-operating in sharing fear and responding to it.
I cannot support the Bill because I believe we should begin reconstructing foreign policy and international policy by seeking to strengthen the United Nations. This will be a difficult task. It is unlikely that those who already hold veto powers in the Security Council will easily cede those powers. There are possibilities for reform of the General Assembly. There were possibilities through the history of the United Nations. There were strategies such as "united for peace" and so on. Other reforms are possible but, more importantly, there are other redefinitions throughout the work of the United Nations which would bring some prospects. For example, there is the concept of humanitarian intervention. Let us assume we go the other way and participate without the triple lock in military interventions. They will be called humanitarian interventions. As Dr. Sanoon recently wrote in the international law journal, humanitarian intervention as a concept has, in fact, been abused since the time of Mussolini in North Africa. Everyone uses humanitarian intervention as a justification. It would be much better to begin to think of a concept of human rights protection. What is the difference? On the one hand, one is invited to protect human rights and to try to establish a scheme of universal rights and, on the other, one is deciding the basis for one's intervention. One has a legacy of history and colonialism behind it while the other does not.
The Brahimi proposals are rather vague. However, we must support this work. I disagree with Deputy Gay Mitchell's fundamental document, Beyond Neutrality, which is the source of the Bill. It is only consistent that he would produce legislation such as this out of the document. He knows that I fundamentally disagree with Beyond Neutrality. In the 1970s, my writings on neutrality used the concept of positive neutrality. I never regarded it as a burden, nor do I now. The origin of the Neutrality League, founded in Ireland for the first time, dates much further back than Mr. de Valera's extraordinary definition of it. It was based on the principle that it is working people who die in war.
In the recent war in Iraq, just one person from the United States Congress had a son or daughter in Iraq. Just six have any connection with the war. Wars are fought with other people's children. They are fought with the children of minorities and working people. The people who founded the original Neutrality League saw that. They also saw the horror of war. The major difference with the First World War, which was around the time of that thinking in relation to human casualties, is that after that war, civilians rather than combatants would die.
We must begin to make the case not just against war but for forms of co-operation and genuine multilateralism that will bring us the prospect of peace. We must also question inevitability. There is no case of having a single economic model which has not been a great oppression on the world. That means being free to challenge the neo-liberal model and the development theory.
One of the most tragic aspects of the European Union is the way the word "security" defined in a military way is coming into usage. If one goes back to Kant in the 18th century and the prospect for peace, it was a recognition of our mutual interdependence on each other and the possibility of constructing recognitions and ethics of freedom and so on. From this came a strong philosophical tradition. We are now dealing with a terror in which those who seek to oppose terror practice destruction of freedom of both the person and society. Why should we structure our policy on either fear or the inevitability of a military response or a military definition of security? If we are to define security, even as it is, it would take several generations. The elimination of the experience of poverty, death and destruction and the crushing of different cultures, languages and experiences is the way we must go. We should put our energies into trying to reform the United Nations. We should then look at the appropriate relationship between regional structures and the United Nations.
We should not forget easily those who said they will operate without a UN resolution but act in accordance with the principles of the Charter. That was what Colin Powell said on the eve of the Iraq war. It was also what Mr. Blair's representative said when retreating from the requirement of obtaining a second resolution on the war in Iraq. They suggested that their actions, with the coalition of the willing, would be in accordance with the Charter and the principles. If the connection is written off between the UN General Assembly, the decisions of the Security Council, however imperfect, and the UN Charter and its principles, one moves oneself to the side of the line of those who have deeply harmed the UN. However difficult and uncomfortable it is and however bleak the prospects might be in the short term, we must be at the other side of that line. We must seek to convince other nations that the only way to ensure genuine multilateralism is when these hegemonies of the militarily strong, those with the new imperial mission and those who, to their credit, have most recently damaged the UN are opposed. On behalf of the Labour Party, I oppose this Bill.