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"hostile neutrals"

Posted by Smokey Stover on December 06, 2006

In Reply to: "Hostile neutrals" posted by yael on December 05, 2006

: hello,can you please explain the meaning of the phrase "hostile neutrals"?

I imagine you found this phrase in a political or international context. While officially neutrals are just neutral countries, in fact they may be well-disposed towards one side of an international conflict or international bloc and ill-disposed towards the other. During World War II, for example, Spain was a neutral country and obeyed the international norms for neutrality. Its government was conspicuously well-disposed towards Germany. The U.S., until December of 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked, was neutral but obviously well-disposed towards the Allies and ill-disposed towards Germany and Japan. A similar situation obtained in World War I, when the U.S. was neutral, but a "hostile neutral" as regards Germany and Austria--until the Germans sank the Lusitania, and the U.S. entered the war. "Hostile neutral" is presumably not an official designation, so I think it's safe to say that from our point of view Iran is a hostile neutral (inasmuch as the government there has denounced Americans as "devils").