A FAVOURITE argument of Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin is that the Russians have a stranglehold over Irish foreign policy because they can block any motion on the UN Security Council with their power of veto. The triple requirement for sending Irish troops abroad is government approval, a Dáil vote and a United Nations mandate. But any of the five permanent members of the Security Council – the US, Britain, France, Russia or China – can veto any motion or proposal from the UN.
An essential part of the argument from the new model western militarists currently in Government is that it is the dastardly Russians who now determine – via their veto – Irish foreign policy and whether we can send troops abroad on peace-keeping or other missions.
Strangely, there was not a peep out of the Taoiseach and Tánaiste at the goings-on in the UN Security Council recently during the mass murder being carried out by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza. A council resolution denouncing Hamas for its attack on Israel but which also called for a pause in fighting to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza was vetoed — by the United States. Britain and Russia abstained and the US was the sole vote against with 12 votes cast in favour.
Given the rhetoric from Martin and Vlad over the abuse of the veto on the UN Security Council, the loud silence from both men at the US action is strange.
At Martin’s self-defeating forum on security and defence in the summer, this double standard was called out by Peace and Neutrality Alliance member Tom Crilly, who pointed out that there was not a single instance of Russia or the USSR vetoing an Irish peace-keeping mission of the UN.
Equally interesting was the more recent vote on the Jordanian resolution, which was passed by the UN General Assembly and called for an immediate humanitarian truce. Of the 27 EU states just eight, including Ireland, voted for a ceasefire with four voting against and 15 abstaining, along with the UK.
Interestingly, this ratio was very similar to the breakdown of Nato countries at the UN, which saw nine vote in favour; four against (led by the US); and 18 abstaining out of a total of 31 states.