No To NATO. Yes To Peace

Adam Murray, 23rd June 2023

THERE has been much anger expressed recently towards President Michael D. Higgin’s by Irish government ministers, particularly by Tánaiste Micheál Martin, in relation to the government’s so-called public forum on Irish foreign, defence and security policy taking place this week. 

President Higgins offered the view that opening a debate at this time on Ireland’s military neutrality and the possibility of joining NATO was ‘playing with fire’. Government ministers have responded with fury, with one minister saying the President was sailing “close to the line”. The people who would make Ireland a pawn in other nations’ wars think the President is out of order, the absolute brass neck of them.

A recent opinion poll shows two-thirds of Irish voters do not want to see any change in neutrality, and only less than a quarter favour a change. This shows that Michael D. Higgins was in fact voicing the will of the Irish people.

The Irish people should be commended for withstanding the combined pressures of the Irish government and the media circus cajoling us towards deeper military ties with imperialist powers. 

The Irish government, who have long eroded Irish neutrality, appear intent on sinking this nation into the quagmire of active involvement in international conflict. It is already too outrageous that they let the USA fly whomever and whatever they wish through Shannon airport, without scrutiny or accountability. 

The Irish government now strives to involve us even further in war. They couch this in the language of ‘open forum’, ‘free speech’, ‘debate’, but we know that for these professional politicians there is no effort that is not carefully stage managed. 

Left wing politicians in the Dáil have been quick to point out the imbalance of speakers, Mick Barry gave a great contribution listing the pro-NATO speakers the government have lined up. A wide range of speakers, said Barry, but not a wide range of viewpoints. Roger Cole from the Peace and Neutrality Alliance is one of a tiny minority of speakers who will argue the case against joining NATO. Cole has himself stated that a ‘debate’ should have an equal number of speakers from both ‘sides’.

This ‘forum’ is an effort on the part of the Irish government to circumnavigate how deeply unpopular a change to neutrality would be to the people of Ireland. It is a manoeuvre on the part of the Irish government as part of a campaign to bind us to larger imperialist powers, it is neo-Redmondism.

NATO was established as part of the Cold War to oppose and contain communism globally. Neither the USSR nor the Eastern Bloc still exist, yet NATO has grown since the dismemberment of the USSR. Why? Because NATO serves the imperialist interests of the USA. The ‘rules based order’ that simply stands for US hegemony.

The Irish government shouldn’t be exploring joining NATO, they should be calling for NATO’s dismantling!

The argument is being made that the war in Ukraine evidences a need to join NATO. Joining a military alliance to avoid war is absurd. The war in Ukraine stems from the 2014 Euromaidan coup and subsequent Ukrainian civil war which killed over 14,000 people and displaced 1.6 million people in Eastern Ukraine. That war is no reason to draw Ireland into NATO. 

We will not decrease war and conflict by joining military alliances. We will not lessen death and destruction by further enriching the military industrial complex.

Ireland has a proud history of peacekeeping and diplomacy, supporting negotiation and consensus building. If we have a role to play on the international stage, let it be that of a peacemaker, not merely another cog in the war machines of others.

USA out of Shannon. Ireland out of PESCO, Ireland out of the EU. No to NATO. Those who seek to build empires should be thrown out of office, and replaced by those who wish to build peace.

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