Presenting neutrality as outdated?

Dr Ian Davis of NATO Watch recently drew our attention to current developments which readers of this website will deeply regret.

The message presented is that the five ‘Cold War neutrals’, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Ireland, are now ‘taking sides’ i.e. no longer neutral. An alternative source has been given as, for some reason, the link to the original article in Associated Press is no longer operational. 

An online search reveals 24 Google pages with no other content but this article – and many further intermittent appearances. 

What does this remarkable worldwide coverage indicate? 

“Swedish fighter jets are roaring into action over Libya under NATO command.” Belligerent triumphalism/recruiting language?

Readers who take time to read further will note that “roaring into action over Libya” is limited merely to flying: the Swedish warplanes are allowed to act – or “unleash their weaponry” – only if fired on. This was the first engagement abroad by the Swedish Air Force since the early 1960s. 

Other actions cited:

  • Ireland allowed transit to U.S. military deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and Switzerland has peacekeepers in Kosovo. Former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern explained in 2003 that “Anybody from any country can land at Shannon. We pride ourselves on being an open economy for everyone.”
  • Switzerland – now a UN member – recently allowed allied forces to drive through and fly over the country on their way to missions in Libya. The government said Swiss neutrality was intact because the Libya operation was authorized by the U.N. Security Council. 

One interpretation

The source, Associated Press, though describing itself as a not-for-profit news cooperative, owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, is based in New York, and is directed by a board of American directors, most of whom head substantial corporations.

Presumably as loyal Americans, enlisting the military assistance of  formerly neutral countries is seen as an admirable mission, and ‘media hype’ as a useful tool.

Though polls show that public opinion remains firmly against joining NATO in all five countries, their governments have joined its Partnership for Peace program for non-members and have sent troops to serve in NATO-led missions in the Balkans or Afghanistan.

[Some] analysts say that because all except Switzerland are closely linked to the alliance, through joint military exercises and international missions, very little separates them from being actual NATO members.

Their conclusion: “the concept of neutrality has been redefined to the point that some would say it’s lost its meaning”.

In effect, by disregarding the wishes of their citizens, those countries aiding USA in its mission to “bring democracy” to others are acting as autocracies, with the unwilling but passive connivance of the majority.


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