The Irish people have witnessed the spectacle of state visits by the leaders, both titular and political, of the two most aggressive imperialist powers. On both occasions the Irish bourgeoisie, which wined and dined at the expense of the working class at a time when it tells workers to accept savage cutbacks in wages and public expenditure while preserving the wealth and power of the capitalist class, refused to permit Irish people the right to peaceful political protest. The only face which is acceptable to the visitors and the world’s media is that of fawning servility. It is this same servile demeanour which permits the armed services of these nations to conduct their operations in a sovereign state and submits meekly to the diktat of the EU, IMF and ECB. It demonstrates that
Ireland currently is not permitted an independent foreign policy and has allied itself firmly in the US-EU imperialist axis.
While the people of Ireland have a natural warmth and hospitality towards guests and while Irish workers have more in common with the workers of the US, EU and Britain than with the Irish capitalist class the government attempts to blind Irish people to the fact that the United States administration under the leadership of Barak Obama has pursued the same aggressive policies as his predecessors, Bush and Clinton, policies which have been the cause of war, oppression and poverty for millions of people throughout the world and in the United States itself. Barak Obama may have a different style to George Bush but that cannot hide the fact that in substance nothing has changed. Millions of American citizens are unemployed, homeless and living in poverty. Gross inequality remains the order of the day. Capitalist exploitation and imperialist aggression continues unabated. The U. S. remains in Iraq and Afghanistan, where its policies have directly led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and left those countries divided and ravaged. In the Middle East and North Africa the United States adopts an openly hypocritical position, supporting and initiating attacks on Libya, allegedly in support of democracy, whilst arming and maintaining autocratic and oppressive regimes in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar and Bahrain. The U.S. government continued to fund the Mubarak dictatorship even while the regime murdered more than 850 peaceful protestors.
The United States has continued to support Israel in its brutal oppression and denial of the most basic of human rights to Palestinians, including the right of the Palestinian people to a homeland. Israel’s war against the Palestinian people would be impossible without U.S. support. The only governments in the Middle East that have been targeted for invasion, economic sanctions and overthrow by the U.S. government are those that pursue policies that are independent of U.S. economic, political and military control.
The illegal blockade of Cuba continues and Obama has done nothing to secure the release of the five Cuban heroes imprisoned in the United States on trumped up charges under the most oppressive conditions and denied access to their families. Obama has also reneged on his pre-election pledge to close Guantanamo Bay. U.S. operatives continue to conduct unlawful overt and covert operations in other countries including torture and murder. The U.S. ruthlessly pursues the extradition of Gary McKinnon, a young man who has an autistic spectrum disorder and nothing has been done to address the plight of Workers Party former President, Sean Garland, who faces extradition to the United States despite his age and ill-health at the behest of the outgoing Bush/Rice administration in spite of the strong support for Sean Garland from progressive political parties, the labour movement, figures in culture and the arts and across the political scene. Did any of the Irish figures who met Obama even mention the torture of young Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old army intelligence analyst, accused of whistle blowing on U.S. war crimes against civilians?
In short, no change. The U.S. remains in the business of imperialist conquest. It has and continues to expand its global military bases, finance a network of brutal client dictatorships, and fund repeated coups d’état, invasions, bombing campaigns, and occupations against the people of the world. This is the true face of U.S. imperialism which Obama represents.
Ireland should welcome and fete the peacemakers and those who resist oppression. It should shun those whose legacy is war, exploitation and barbarism.