Republican News · Thursday 07 December 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Dublin signs up for EU superarmy

Last month, the Dublin Government signed up to an army, the purpose of which is to `peace-make' by making war 2,500 miles away from EU shores. Why? Because it's the European Union's grand design to secure vital resources and extend its political and economic order.

When the Warsaw Pact broke up and the USSR dissolved, the generation that had suffered the `cold war' breathed a sigh of relief. The 40-year standoff between warmongers of East and West was at an end, and European security no longer rested, as we'd been told, on the nuclear threat of the NATO Alliance and its commitment to `first strike' nuclear aggression.

But with the `red menace' gone, NATO itself began to look a bit silly. What, after all, was it for? Against whom was it now defending anyone? Was it just an unstoppable arms race, without anyone else in the running?

Now, 50 years after its inception, not only has NATO not gone away, but EU and non-EU countries are about to sign up to a brand new army, the Rapid Reaction Force (RRF). The EU summit in Nice on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 December is expected to establish the RRF, a force of approximately 250,000, with the `right' to operate within a radius of 2,500 miles outside the EU, within 60 days notice, by the year 2003. What is this army for?

New world order

The answer to this question dates back to at least 1992 and The Defence Planning Guide drafted by the Pentagon for the new planned dispensation for the post-cold war period. ``Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival... We must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. Finally, we must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.''

This statement set the stage for the following decade, the extension of NATO, the wars in the Middle East and the Balkans, and the seeding of the EU's need for a Rapid Reaction Force.

Last year's July European Council meeting in Cologne set the stage for the RRF. EU ministers said: ``We are convinced that the Council should have the ability to take decisions on the full range of conflict prevention and crisis management tasks... the `Petersburg tasks' (which are humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace-making).

``To this end, the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed by credible military forces... and will thereby increase its ability to contribute to international peace and security in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter.''

Undermining the UN

But nothing is said about having to secure a United Nations mandate before undertaking ``peace-making'' actions. In fact, the UN Charter, as well as the founding Treaty of NATO of 1949, strictly forbids all actions which do not have the express approval of the UN. In the UN Charter, only the Security Council has the legal power to authorise military action against a sovereign state.

Last year's Cologne summit took place just as the Yugoslav bombardment had reached its bloodiest phase of `peace making', and `humanitarian aid', where between 400 and 600 civilians were killed, and where NATO admitted to using approximately 31,000 so-called `depleted uranium' rounds. It was at this time that the EU was forced to recognise its own weakness - that it was unable to extend its ``peace making'' to Bosnia without US help. And Bosnia, after all, was EU, not US business.

The unilateral decision by NATO to engage in the Yugoslav bombardment deliberately sidelined the UN, and in breaching the UN Charter, NATO challenged the entire international settlement which followed the Second World War. But NATO at the time was preparing for its Jubilee Summit in Washington. It was at this summit that NATO revised its strategic perspective and extended its `security' role far beyond the mutual protection of member states. ``The communiqué of April 1999 declared: ``Alliance security must also take account of the global contest. Alliance security interests can be affected by other risks of a wide nature, including acts of terrorism, sabotage and organised crime and by the disruption of the flow of vital resources.''

If this is good enough for NATO then it has to be good enough for the RRF.

RRF après NATO

The EU, in forming its RRF, did not wish to be outdone. The RRF and NATO are just two sides of the same coin. A declaration issued after last week's meetings of EU Foreign and Defence ministers in Brussels stated: ``The Union has highlighted its determination to develop an autonomous capability to decide on and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch and conduct EU-led military operations in response to international crises.''

The Dublin government, in spite of Article 29 of the Constitution which affirms its devotion to ``the ideal of peace and friendly cooperation amongst nations founded on international justice and morality'', joined the SFOR in Bosnia under NATO command, and a further contingent was sent to serve under NATO with KFOR in Kossovo.

Furthermore, despite government undertakings not to abandon neutrality without a referendum, the Dublin government joined the Programme for Peace (PfP), the waiting room for NATO. The PfP became the Western European Union (WEU), which now is virtually ended, being superseded by the new RRF. So last week, Dublin undertook, without any prior consultation with the people, to pledge a battalion of troops to the RRF.

Not an Army

In justification, Foreign Minister Brian Cowen asserted that the RRF was not an army. But as EU Commission President Romano Prodi says with greater honesty: ``If you don't want to call it a European army, don't call it a European Army. You can call it `Margaret', you can call it `Mary-Anne', you can call it any name.''

To peace-make means imposing, by the use of force, peaceful conditions under the terms laid down by the peacemaker. It is very difficult to distinguish that from warmaking.

Dublin has pledged troops to this RRF. And so also have other EU member states, and amazingly troop commitments are expected from a number of non-EU states that are members of NATO, like Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Turkey has spoken of committing 6,000 troops to the RRF. Turkey, a prominent member of NATO (which had deployed troops in erasing whole villages at home and unleashed the most brutal oppression of the Kurdish people) played a substantial part on the ground, in ``peace-making'' in Kossovo.

This commitment to the military pursuit of peace is most certainly in conflict with the spirit, if not the letter, of the 1937 Constitution.

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