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Varadkar beats the drums of war

Where is Irelandís Anti-Imperialist Tradition?

26 March 2023


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Speaking at a recent meeting of European leaders in Brussels Taoiseach Leo Varadkar called for an increased supply of ammunition to Ukraine in an extraordinarily bombastic call for an escalation in the war.

"People often ask the question: Where will Putin stop? Putin will stop where we stop himÖI donít think peace will be possible until itís very clear that Russiaís military objectives in Ukraine have failed.Ē
Varadkar justified the call for increased military action on tired old analogies with the Second World War, Putin was cast as Hitler and Zelensky as a pure hearted democrat. Negotiations would be the same as the failed policy of appeasement of Hitler. Varadkar said that during engagements in Washington he emphasised to President Joe Biden the need for the US to continue to support Ukraine.

The only thing restraining a call to war was Irelandís military neutrality. Varadkar claimed it was not providing military aid but it was contributing to non-lethal equipment through the European Peace Facility.

But Ireland's support for war is more extensive than admitted. A country with a very poor record in its acceptance of refugees has now accepted nearly 80,000 Ukrainian refugees. The motive is not humanitarian, but rather part of a European effort coordinated by NATO. Ireland has sent supplies to the Ukrainian military, claiming that it was non-lethal. Irish forces, as part of a European force, have committed to training Ukrainian soldiers in de-mining, considered an active military engagement.

The Taoiseach referenced Irish neutrality, but clearly sees it as a minor legal constraint that does not prevent him from supporting all-out war against Russia. The same legal niceties prevent Ukraine from being a member of NATO while NATO weapons and advisors flood their country, encouraging an ongoing bloodbath.

The traditional, and ineffective, response to warmongering by the Irish government is to assert Irish neutrality, but the constitutional grounds are very narrow and in practice do not constrain a comprador capitalist government from full throated support for imperialism.

The alternative to imperialism is anti-imperialism. Ireland is very openly being inserted into the NATO war machine. The starting point for an opposition is to denounce NATO, denounce the war and call for the dismantling of the US global war drive.


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