Tuesday, November 8, 2016, inevitably stands out in the memory of most National Party members. When Donald Trump took to the stage as President-Elect of the United States, the wailing and gnashing of teeth on RTÉ alone was enough to make for a good night’s entertainment. The press launch of the Party coincidentally planned for the following week now seemed propitious. Despite a minor hiccup regarding the hotel cancellation, our timing appeared perfectly in tune with international events, we were considered part of a tide that was coming in fast.

Some of the themes of the now successful Trump campaign were broadly in line with what we had to say about Ireland, and since what we were saying was also broadly in line with what the National Party leaders had been saying for years, in particular myself, it was difficult to portray as pure opportunism. Our platform, it seemed to the media and the Left anyway, had been shown to be electable, against all the odds, albeit in another country. Ironically, we were probably alone in viewing the result with mixed thought and emotion, that was, if at all, only momentarily suspended.

Reflecting on Trump’s Presidency

Apart altogether from the bare fact that there were substantial differences, there were noticeable ambiguities in what Trump said and did during the campaign as well as the always present question — having talked the talk would he walk the walk? In particular, some of his early appointments and their early dismissals were disquieting. If there was a “Trump Agenda” he did not seem to be surrounding himself with people who were known for supporting that agenda. There’s only so much the thinking person can feed off Liberal melodrama, without asking that quintessentially American question — “Where’s the beef?”

For us, that question, however worded, was always going to be framed in Irish terms. When would the Wall be built? Why was there talk of an illegal immigrant amnesty? It mattered to us because for the brief moment of the victory celebrations, voting seemed to matter and as an electoral party we have above all to convince the Irish people that voting matters. And more pointedly, why was the self professed anti-Globalist President of the United States so damned well… Globalist. True enough there were stark contrasts with previous administrations, and we can still today say with a fair degree of confidence that had Hillary Clinton won, things would be wretched, significantly more so.

Directly affecting Ireland, there was first Syria. If Donald Trump had not made a bad situation worse, he had hardly made it much better either. The war went on. The coalition to topple Assad continued as before, the President seemed unusually susceptible to atrocity propaganda, which at least with Obama and Clinton you knew was pure cynicism. Out of Syria came a flood of refugees, and across the Mediterranean came the flood through Libya (a previously functioning state and buffer wrecked by the globalist agenda) of “Syrian” refugees that didn’t look at all Syrian. And many of those “refugees” washed up as if by miracle on the shores of Ireland or more frequently flew through the airports. They are still coming, and coming “home”, without the faintest remorse concerning their ongoing commitment to Radical Islamic Jihad.

Russia, in whose pocket Trump was supposed to dwell, was the only actor for stability and sense in that conflict, true realpolitik, without the simpering sentimentalist nonsense that never does anyone any good in the long run.

War on the horizon?

Painfully aware that in the context of this commentary I have left out so much important detail, here we find the world on the verge of a new globalist war. This time with Iran. Now I don’t have to tell the reader I’m sure that as knowledgeable as I try to be on world affairs, the fact remains that I care not two damns about who rules Iran. At first glance there is little to sympathise with the regime there. They demonstrate that Arabs are not alone in being open to the viral madness of fundamentalist Islam which, wherever it goes and whatever its ethnicity, befouls the nations infected by it. But I live in Ireland and about Ireland alone do I really concern myself when it comes right down to it. I like to think I am aware of the world in general, but I become very national when it comes to caring, and still more when it comes to doing.

Iran is very far away, and none of our business as such. Except to note that it is not American interests that are at stake there but Israel’s and Israel’s alone. And if the globalists have to throw a few Americans under Iranian missiles in order to inflame public opinion in the United States they are happy enough to do that. We are not fooled. The creation of the state of Israel was not in American interests in 1948 and their “greatest ally” has been nothing but a burden since, preventing the possibility of a lasting peace in the Middle East, allowing a disproportionate Soviet influence in that region during the Cold War, all other facts aside, and must draw modern Russia’s attention into that area as well. Let me be clear, it’s not about oil, (except for tangential profiteering), it’s not about nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction of any kind, or why no action on Pakistan or India? It’s about Israel, it’s always about Israel, and advancing their foreign policy goals by proxy. The United States is both hated and has enemies throughout the region because of its greatest ally, Israel.

Trump said he would not involve the U.S. in pointless foreign wars and though some neo-cons have noted and disparaged a certain caution in Syria, that caution has been entirely absent on the Iran issue. It has been old school American Globalism in the style, not just of George W. Bush, but every administration definitively since Harry Truman; shoot first and ask questions never. And Russia is no longer on the floor as it was for the last two Iraqi misadventures.

Irish Neutrality

Which is where we come in, or not as the case may be. Iran is far away, but Russia not so much. It has a large border with Eastern European states for example, all members of the E.U. and ethnic/territorial issues with the Ukraine in which both the EU and the Americans seem determined to meddle at great risk. Plus, we have had American troops use Shannon Airport for all practical intents and purposes as a military base, certainly a conduit to Middle Eastern conflict. Leaving aside any personal thoughts on the morality of the cause and consequence of these conflicts, neutral it most certainly was not.

A purely utilitarian argument might be made that the United States bestrode a unipolar world, the only Superpower militarily and while it might not win its wars it wasn’t going to lose them in the style of the 19th and early 20th Century either. No one was coming to get us if we were on —or seen to be on —the losing side, while foreign direct investment, largely American in origin, was arguably accompanied by a degree of obligation to facilitate US foreign policy. The use of Shannon was all benefit and no risk, or so the argument held. But assuming that were true, is it anymore?

Neutrality and the case for it was never made up of moral arguments either during the Second World War or the Cold War. It was made up of the calculation that small nations are simply used as pawns in Great Power contentions and the “good” side is as likely to trade your welfare away as the “bad” side, if and when it gets rough. Best to stay out of harm’s way —literally —and hope for the best, whatever the best might be according to your own notion of such things. It has prevented devastation of this country not once but twice certainly and thus served us well.

Escalation in the Middle-East

Back to Iran. Any escalation of that situation is bound to involve the Russians at some point. It is simply not in their geopolitical interest to see that regime collapse, at least for now, and definitely not to be replaced by a failed state like Libya or a US occupation. That it is not in the interests of the United States either in any real way, has been covered, but that’s not how decisions are necessarily made in Washington. Trump was supposed to be different but current signs are that he is not.

Just how far the thing will spiral is impossible to tell at this juncture but there is no sign it’s going anywhere good. In immediate terms, carbon taxes thus far imposed are being hidden in a sudden oil price rise. Russia controls much of the natural gas supply to Europe and any kind of serious embargo would have equally serious effect. In the medium term Russian intervention to prevent a collapse of Iran might draw the US deeper and deeper into another unwinnable war, with the ever present danger of an accidental direct collision of the two. Russia might well decide that having to confront the worst the “West” can do in Iran, it might just as well solve its Ukraine problem by direct annexation of the Eastern and ethnically Russian part of that state and the European Union’s ambitions to extend into that region might bring a direct collision there too.

There is really no pretence of Irish neutrality as regards the E.U. where our government has already signed us up to extensive military co-operation. And Shannon, well Shannon in a war situation has been made a legitimate military target, and now to a world power capable of hitting that target. We have no case. A stream of curse words hits the brain as to how we got into this mess, we know well how it happened, we didn’t have an Irish government in Ireland, and insofar as we had a government it exercised all the foresight of an elderly mole.

Dangerous Trajectory

How long ago 2016 seems now. Yes Donald Trump has made some excellent appointments to the US Supreme Court, yes the American economy is ostensibly doing better, though it is worrying to see that calculated by interconnected stock market indices which also place us at the whims of International Finance, and at a time when our own part in economic management has been less than stellar. Yes, there are speeches which Donald Trump makes that no other American President would make in which he says things that no other American President would say. He really is still more than capable of talking the talk. And as an Irish people who cannot fail but to feel a deep kinship with the diaspora we cannot but want to see an “America Great Again.”

But Donald seriously? Bombing Syria, sanctions on Iraq, war with Iran do not make for an America that is great again. And a collision with Russia is unimaginably catastrophic for everyone. And for what? Your greatest ally? If the United States resumes the trajectory — on immigration, on economic neo-liberalism, on foreign policy —of previous administrations you will lose a second term, or at best it won’t matter anyway. This is, maybe already was, the last Presidency that could have turned things right around and prevented the break-up of the United States as a single entity. The irony is that Trump himself may create the Antifa nightmare that they could never have brought about. That is, after November 2020, “No Trump, No Wall, No USA at all”.

Justin Barrett
Ceannaire an Pháirtí Náisiúnta