The ruling class wants war

It is a truism that all wars must end. They can end either in a victory for one side, in a stalemate or sometimes with a political change if one of the protagonist countries pulls them out of the war, as happened in Russia following the October Revolution. In the NATO proxy war against Russia, with both sides having access to nuclear weapons, there is another possible ending: nuclear armageddon.

At the time of writing, the war in Ukraine shows few signs of ending. It is in fact escalating as NATO continues to pour armaments, including the promise of F16 fighters, into the country and urges the Zelensky government to launch its much heralded counter-offensive. Peace proposals from the government of the People’s Republic of China have been ignored by the capitalist media and rejected by NATO. The leaders of six African countries – South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Republic of Congo, Uganda and Zambia – are planning to travel to both Ukraine and Russia to try and broker a ceasefire. Again, this has been all but ignored by the capitalist media.

NATO, it seems, is determined to continue the war.  How else can one view the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin? In an article in the South African Communist Party journal Umsebenzi Online, Professor Alexander Mezyaev stated that an analysis of the activities of the ICC shows that “maintaining international conflicts and preventing their resolution” is one of its three main goals[1]. Issuing an arrest warrant for Putin certainly seems designed to encourage Russia to continue the war, especially if surrendering to the ICC is a precondition for a ceasefire. It should be remembered that Russia and Ukraine were very close to agreeing a peace deal last April until Boris Johnson was despatched to Ukraine to demand that Zelensky continue the war. For the moment, continuing the war helps US imperialism achieve a number of strategic goals. It has increased its domination  over Europe politically and economically, by pursuing a strategy to break EU energy relations with Russia and replace them with dependence on US reserves and those of its client states in the Middle East. NATO has increased in size, as have arms industry profits.

It is not just NATO that wants the war to continue. The Irish ruling class are fervently in favour of continuing the war. The silence from the Irish government, Dáil opposition and the media on the results of an opinion poll commissioned by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) has been deafening. The poll showed that 87% of Irish people are in favour of a ceasefire and negotiations to end the war[2]. The same political actors who are loudly proclaiming that violence is not the way to resolve political problems are engaged in an orgy of self-congratulation celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, condemn anyone calling for a ceasefire in Ukraine as a “Kremlin stooge”. We are “informed” by the media that a ceasefire means giving into Russian aggression.

Why would the Irish ruling class wish the war to continue? As long as the war continues, increasing numbers of refugees will come to Ireland, further exposing the two-tier refugee response of the Irish state as well as highlighting the lack of housing, doctors, school places and transport links in working class communities. Why would the government refuse to campaign for a ceasefire and to oppose further EU money being spent on armaments? After all, the 26 counties is neutral and as such could be well placed to support peace initiatives.  

However, while the state is theoretically neutral, the Irish ruling class is not, its position in Ireland being dependent on its subservience to imperialism. It is hoping to fatally undermine, as a prelude to completely abandoning, what remains of Irish neutrality. It believes the current war offers an ideal opportunity to achieve this goal. The Irish public has been fed the NATO narrative in which Russia is the root of all evil and, like Germany in 1914, has launched an unprovoked attack on a weaker, peace-loving neighbour. As a result, Russia must be defeated in order to save “civilisation”.  The CPI opposed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but we recognise the reality is far more complex than the “Ukraine good/Russia bad” version being peddled by the media. I would recommend reading “Now or Never’:The Immediate Origins of Putin’s Preventative War on Ukraine”[3] by Geoffrey Roberts for a detailed analysis and chronology of the steps towards war.

The government has decided that removing “the triple lock” on the use of Irish troops abroad is the next step on the road to NATO. Its “Consultative Forum on Neutrality”, chaired by a pro-NATO academic, which will tour the country in late June, will no doubt “find” widespread support for abandoning neutrality despite all opinion polls on the issue showing that the majority of Irish people still support maintaining it. Clausewitz maintained that war was politics by other means. In Ireland it is clear that the Ruling class and their allies will support the continuation of the war in Ukraine in the hope that it will help them achieve their political aim of abandoning Irish neutrality.

[1] Mezyawv. A, “The fascistisation and nazisisation of international relations: Events in Ukraine from the point of view of Marxist-Leninist theory.” Umsebenzi Online. Volume 21, Number 4, 14 July 2022

[2] Peace and Neutrality Alliance, “Ipsos Omnipoll on War in Ukraine”. 22 May 2023 (

[3]  G. Roberts, “Now or Never’:The Immediate Origins of Putin’s Preventative War on Ukraine” Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, Vol 22 no.2 p.4-26.