From Socialist Voice, November 2005

Another nail in neutrality’s coffin

The Minister for Defence, Willie O’Dea, has said he is in favour of Irish soldiers taking part in the “battle groups” that the European Union is in the process of establishing. He has stated that he has received advice from the Attorney-General, Rory Brady, on legislative and constitutional changes that are necessary to allow Irish soldiers take part.
    They now want to pick the “triple lock” that the government claimed existed as a result of the constitutional change that had to be brought about to secure the support of the people in the re-run of the Nice Treaty—the carrot and the stick.
    The government is attempting to sell the whole package as a peacekeeping force—that the United Nations is so slow at making decisions that the European Union should be the advance guard, with its “Rapid Reaction Force” moving quickly into trouble spots, establishing a bridgehead, thereby giving the United Nations time to catch up.
    The minister is selling the idea that this advance guard would be only thirty or forty days ahead of the UN forces. He also claims that the RRF would be 1,500 strong. This is untrue: it would be made up of at least 5,000 soldiers from throughout the European Union, and heavily armed.
    The claim that the European Union would decide what constitutes a “trouble spot” is part of the language of all imperial powers, to provide cover for interventions in the internal affairs of states where they feel their strategic interests are being challenged.
    Another factor they will attempt to sell it on is that we would co-operate in the battle groups only with other “neutral” member-states. No doubt Fianna Fáil and others will raise the hairy old question of “no co-operation with British forces”—a good ruse to get the hares running. Throw a sop and touch the sensitive nationalist nerves to show that they are still true to neutrality and would have nothing to do with imperialism’s agenda.
    In fact the Irish elites are not simply junior partners but are well integrated in the European Union and its economic and political strategy. They feel it is necessary to go on to the next stage, and that is to participate in its military adventures as well, to be an active agent in the interests of imperialism.
    Just like Redmond in 1914, they want to be at the imperial table, getting their share of the imperial spoils.

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