Sunday 4 December 2016

Letters to the Editor: Collins's legacy represents a victory for common sense

Published 21/07/2014 | 02:30

Commemoration marking the 98th Anniversary of the 1916
Commemoration marking the 98th Anniversary of the 1916
Michael Collins

* Some time ago I had the chance to read an excellent piece written to commemorate the "death" of common sense which, I think you'll agree, is very apt given that we live in the age of ubiquitous reality television and increasingly intrusive social media yet complain about government surveillance. We might then also mourn the passing of another age-old companion: realism. In my opinion, this long-time check on fantasy and delusion is sadly 'knocking on heaven's door'.

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Several instances of this have been seen over the past few weeks and months but I would like to single out the British reaction to the MH17 disaster and US foreign policy towards the Ukraine crisis as being exceptional. In the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airlines' Flight 17, the international community is expected to do something to bring the perpetrators to some kind of justice. And rightly so. Those who commit such acts should be punished. But the politics of the situation in eastern Ukraine are taking precedence over law. No European state wants to annoy Russia. Yet governments are still desperate to be seen to be "doing something".

US foreign policy on Ukraine is remarkably toothless. To put it simply, they are letting a bully get away with tearing up a state based on ethnic lines – something that most enlightened liberals would tell us no evolved state should do. A forceful response, perhaps the deployment of peacekeepers to the region would be a welcome sign of US resolve. Instead we have been treated to appeasement. Appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive.

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