No To War In Ukraine. Defend Irish Neutrality

ukraine-warThe rhetoric about war in Ukraine has escalated dramatically after the US closed its embassy in Kiev and announced that it was sending thousands of more troops to the area.

People Before Profit stands in total opposition the ‘war-talk’ that is being normalized in the mainstream media. Similar propaganda tricks that were used to soften people into accepting the Gulf War are being repeated.

Thus, British intelligence suddenly ‘discovered’ a Russian plot to depose the Ukrainian President but does not produce a shred of evidence.

We are witnessing a conflict between two imperial powers who assume the right to control their ‘sphere of influence’. We are opposed to both. This has nothing to do with democracy or sovereignty. This is a case of Imperialist countries using divisions in Ukraine to further their own ambitions.

The roots of this conflict lie in the attempt by the US to push NATO to the border of Russia. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was formed in 1949 to combat the Soviet Union. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, by its own logic, NATO should have disappeared but instead it was expanded.

This was despite that fact that the then US secretary of state James Baker promised in 1990 that, “There would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction eastwards’’.

Instead, Eastern European countries joined NATO in two stages, 1999 and 2004. The US military used some of these countries to set up secret CIA prisons to torture civilians it had interned.

The eastwards expansion of NATO has been accompanied by war and murder. In 1999, NATO launched a major bombing campaign against Serbia, degrading its infrastructure and murdering over 500 civilians.

The roots of the present conflict go back to 2008 when NATO declared that it would invite Ukraine and Georgia to join. At the time a significant section of the Ukrainian population expressed a desire to keep their country neutral.

However, the moves to bring Ukraine into NATO has provoked a response from Putin. He has been re-building the military strength of Russia and now thinks it can extract more concessions from the Western powers.

Our opposition to NATO’s expansion in no way implies any support for Putin. He is a thug who has suppressed opposition forces in his own country. Only recently, we publicly condemned his support for the Kazakhstan regime who brutally murdered protestors.

Ironically, the Irish government which now pretends to support the spread of democracy did not speak a word in support of the working-class Kazakh protestors – just as they have stayed silent on the crimes of Saudi Arabia.

Instead, the Irish political establishment wants to use the current crisis to further erode Irish neutrality. Their aim is to pull this country closer to an EU army and NATO membership. At a time when people are crying out for homes, they want to increase military spending. In 2017, they joined the PESCO pact which insists that EU countries must increase defence spending to 2% of GDP. In the Irish case, this would mean a five-fold increase.

People Before Profit urges its supporters to oppose the warmongering of the EU and US. We call for a halt to NATO expansion and its disbandment as a military alliance.

We are opposed to Putin’s marshalling of troops on the border of Ukraine and his efforts to intimidate that country. We urge the people of Ukraine to embrace a neutrality – that is independent of both camps and free from their sinister manoeuvres.

In relation to Russian naval exercises in Ireland’s maritime area, of course, we oppose Putin’s military posturing but it is deeply hypocritical for the Irish government to condemn Russian military exercises while saying nothing when western military powers do the same thing. Worst of all, the Irish government has actively aligned itself with US led warmongering by allowing the US military to use Shannon airport to prosecute brutal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and facilitate the US ‘rendition’ system of kidnap and torture.

We call on the Irish people to resist moves to further erode Irish neutrality and to speak out against a possible war in Europe.

Above all, like James Connolly, we recognise that ‘’war is a relic of barbarism that is only possible because we are governed by a ruling class with barbaric ideas’.’ While they blandly talk of ‘competitiveness’ and the ‘free market’ the reality is that their system has always contained the germs of war.

Stopping war will involve a struggle against the system that repeatedly provokes it.