The continued eastward expansion of NATO is increasing tensions between Russia and the Western imperialist bloc. It has also caused concern to the Sunday Business Post, a newspaper that vies with the Irish Times to be the main proponent of Atlanticism in the Irish media.
In line with the adage “never let a crisis go to waste,” within its pages Dan O’Brien and Lucinda Creighton clamour for increased militarisation of the EU and full NATO membership. Just as Redmond urged Irishmen to die for the British Empire in 1914, they call for a future in which Irish soldiers “defend” the new empire, the European Union.
Fifty years ago, during the EEC membership referendum, the Irish political and media establishment promised that membership would not mean military entanglement. They lied then, and they lie still!
Dan O’Brien raised the old canard that the Republic got a “free ride” through the Cold War by refusing to join NATO. He wants it to now fully integrate in NATO.¹
It’s worth looking at some of the foundation members of NATO with whom O’Brien wishes we had joined in the defence of “ freedom.”
First of all the United States, born out of mass annihilation of the native peoples of North America and home of the Monroe Doctrine, which claimed all the Americas as a sphere of influence (today it believes its sphere of influence includes the entire planet); Canada, another country built on the bones of its native peoples; Britain—need I say more? Belgium: just mention the Congo; France, at that time up to its neck in Vietnamese blood as it sought to hold on to its empire.
They were joined in the 1950s by West Germany, whose army was then still staffed by Nazis. NATO was created by imperialism as a weapon for rolling back socialism in the People’s Democracies and the USSR, to resist revolution at home, and to combat anti-colonialism in their empires. NATO has not changed and is still involved in wars of aggression.
During the Cold War it was not the Warsaw Pact that planted bombs in Dublin and Monaghan. It was not Soviet paras who murdered Irish civilians in Derry and Belfast. Nor was it a Soviet missile that blew an Aer Lingus flight from Cork out of the sky in 1968. During and after the Cold War the only military threat to Ireland, north and south, came from Britain.
Lucinda Creighton was if anything even more extreme than O’Brien.² She completely ignored the existence of Irish neutrality and lauded the British for their gung-ho approach to Russia. She called for increased co-operation between the European Union, Britain and the United States against Russia. She demands an EU army to enforce “European values” globally.
Unfortunately it’s not just the BP and the IT that peddle NATO propaganda: all sections of the Irish media and political establishment follow the same line. Simon Coveney, instead of using the Republic’s seat on the Security Council to call for measures to reduce tension in the region, acts as a mouthpiece for NATO. He condemned the head of the Defence Forces for meeting the Russian ambassador, ostensibly because of Ukraine, yet saw nothing wrong with participating in a briefing by the US secretary of state, Blinken, on the same issue. He is very concerned about Russian naval exercises in international waters but does not object to the use of Shannon Airport by the US military.
A mark of a sovereign state is its ability to chart its own foreign policy. EU membership has led the Irish state to a position where it is unable and unwilling to determine its own foreign policy. Support for the expansion of NATO and the threat of warfare stemming from that expansion is not in the interests of the Irish working class, irrespective of how much the mouthpieces of the ruling class tell us it is our “duty” to send our sons and daughters to die for imperialism.
- Sunday Business Post, 9 January 2022, p. 21.
- Sunday Business Post, 23 January 2022.