The hawkish Neoconservatism of Young Fine Gael is on display recently in an ominous policy paper document regarding the future of Irish-Chinese relations. The YFG hierarchy has dictated the state’s recommended approach to Ireland’s diplomatic relations, with the hypothetical prompt – what would America do?
Such underlying biases result in a humorous document produced by the ‘intellectual department’ of YFG, whose fidelity to a liberal theory of international relations is as misinformed as it is delusional. Young Fine Gael, on its war-path against the Chinese nation, has hardened its reverence for American liberalism – after all, America’s interests are Ireland’s interests.
China’s rise to power, simultaneously with America’s waning global influence are the external circumstances within which Europe finds itself, but YFG’s politburo has deemed it the greatest geopolitical challenge of the era – specifically because of the threat posed by multi-polarity to liberal-democracy.
YFG continually demonstrates a failure to examine or define their presuppositions – if liberal-democracy is so weak an ideology that it requires a unipolar world order to maintain itself, then perhaps it has proven itself worthy of replacement?
One Too Many Pints at the Dáil Bar? The Incoherence of YFG’s ‘The Future of Irish-Chinese Relations‘
The document, drafted with the assistance of several rendezvous with Simon Coveney, Pierre Yang the Taiwanese Representative to Ireland and Senator Barry Ward, expresses an incoherent mix of ‘national sovereignty’ concerns as well as affirmations of American hegemony.
YFG declared China as the most pressing geopolitical threat to Irish interests – not Russia. While there may be a modicum of sense left in the authors of this document, the hawkish neo-conservative attitudes of YFG are contemptible for their ignorance of contemporary Irish politics. Maybe they’ve had one too many pints in the Dáil bar?
To preface the heavily Sinophobic document, they are forced to state their abhorrence to ‘despicable racism many Chinese people have encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic,’ out of faux care for cultural discrimination.
The document discusses the ‘litany of crimes’ that the CCP has unleashed upon the unique cultures of Tibet and the Uighur people of Xinjiang – a ‘cultural and demographic genocide, enforcing a regime of slave labour’ – though such a description quite aptly describes the consequences of neo-liberal enforcement of the asylum racketeering industry in Ireland: cultural devaluation and demographic replacement.
Citing the ‘economic coercion campaigns against Lithuania and Australia,’ YFG is offended on behalf of other nations. The document lacks any nuance as to how states behave on practical terms within the international system – China’s ‘willingness to intimidate less powerful states’ is not unique and is a central aim of large nations in the international system. American adherence to a democratic political system does not make it a benign force in world politics, it acts for its own interests and dresses the world in its problems.
Citing Taiwan’s security interests and the sound morality of its cause, the document is deluded in that it ignores Ireland’s geopolitical circumstances – a weak, politically aligned nation whose political incompetence has broken its neutral masquerade. With no army, or navy to speak of, off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, in the outskirts of Europe, Ireland is one of the nations most isolated and ineffective political actors on the world stage – why should the political affairs of the far-east concern the Irish state?
Small nations and big nations play by very different rules, and YFG would do better by submitting their document to an American GOP or DNC youth convention than LARPing as a major player in global politics from the local FG branch office. Irish politicians perpetually discuss Ireland’s substantial international clout – but none of them realise the extent to which they’ve damaged it – turning a general sentiment of international goodwill, into a cynical diplomatic formality.
Young Fine Gael shows its complete detachment from realistic observations of Irish foreign policy by failing to actually address Irish geopolitical interests outside of becoming an American puppet. Are we, a small island nation, morally compelled to give comment on every international event, crime, or event which we perceive to be morally wrong?
Further communicated, is the notion that Ireland’s ‘intrinsic values are predicated on the belief that all people are entitled to freedom and human dignity’ and the Chinese government’s abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong therefore mandate a response from the Irish state due to their violation of Irish values.
Fine Gael pride themselves on their outward looking conception of Irish interests, Michael Martin too declared Ireland’s conception of nationalism to be internationalist ‘from day one’ while neglecting entirely the purpose of Irish independence – specifically the wellbeing of the Irish people as a distinct nationality with its own social will.
Though, rather than the domestic issues with which Irish politics is currently embroiled in, YFG are sounding the alarm on the CCP’s ‘full-scale, comprehensive effort to remake the global order to one more tolerant of authoritarianism.’ A project of global re-engineering initiated by a foreign, authoritarian power is quite a theatrical proposition, but YFG, in describing Chinese policies, are too self-indulgent in their political fantasies to understand the United States as equally an enemy to Irish interests.
Young Fine Gael’s Delusions of Grandeur
Delusions of grandeur permeate the ranks of YFG, particularly with a refusal to be even cognisant of objective realities of both international relations and Irish politics. Small nations have very different paths to achieving their foreign policy goals – and even have different goals in of themselves – than large nations like the United States. China’s global rise is a threat to American unipolar hegemony, the thesis that this too threatens European interests is non sequitur, unless one admits that Europe’s interests are to remain perpetually under the yoke of American political dominance.
‘In such a struggle, for a proud European democratic nation like Ireland, firmly part of the West, there can be no neutrality.’ To what extent should we be proud of an ineffective political system that not every nation is so ‘fortunate’ to have, yet seem to neither want nor be capable of maintaining.
How the members of Young Fine Gael can remain defenders of democracy while in such frequent contact with the nation’s political administration is a mystery, while their political mentors mislead an organised group of dysfunctional political daydreamers into the most nonsensical of future career posts.
It’s easy for deluded college students with no perception or foundation of the outside world to make such a bold claim – shedding Ireland’s neutrality and completely dismissive of the consequences and ramifications it may have on the state’s future – abandoning neutrality is not with in Irish interests but rather English, American and European goals.
YFG says that ‘put simply, our Western democracy is under attack by China and Russia – economically, diplomatically, politically, ideologically, and now even militarily. In such a struggle, for a proud European democratic nation like Ireland, firmly part of the West, there can be no neutrality.’ As the Fine Gael’s youth-wing, this abandonment of Irish neutrality is surely indicative of the general attitudes within the party itself, particularly given the extent to which the group drew from ministers such as Simon Coveney.
We must have a conception of ourselves that is particular and independent from the interests of foreign states. England and Ireland may agree on a given issue, and vehemently oppose one another – it’s the nature of the international system. States are the primary actors on the world stage, international institutions only hold as much weight as they are given by states.
YFG wrote their document under the presupposed idea that America is Ireland’s greatest ally, but rather than becoming the fifty-first state in the union, Ireland remains still an ideological lap-dog indecisively choosing between Anglo-Americanism or European integration.
YFG warns of excessive trade with China, on the grounds that China is trying to use its economic strength to turn trade relations into ‘effectively become a lobbyist against political actions that may harm trade with China.’ The Chinese interests in Ireland’s agricultural industry.
YFG, though competent enough to recognise the malicious character of Chinese trade, are completely ignorant of US trade influences over Ireland and the threat that mass foreign direct investment poses to the long-term sustainability of the Irish economy and its protection from foreign economic interests. With a cultish fixation upon free trade, Fine Gael party dogma asserts that Dev’s protectionism was a direct causative factor the nation’s financial ruin and that the FitzGerald era’s economic liberalisation was the apex of Ireland’s experience in the 20th century.
The United States, as ‘a fellow liberal-democratic republic, with deep cultural, historical, linguistic, and family ties between our people’ is supposedly Ireland’s greatest ally. The Russo-Ukrainian War too is for YFG another indicator as to why Ireland ought to improve relations with the US, especially given the extent to which Ireland relies on the US and UK for its security. Rather than self-critiquing our current status as a NATO free-rider and not-so-secret defence arrangements with the United Kingdom, YFG encourages further integration with the international order.
One needs to be able to reconsider if their allies are reliable. What does America envision for Europe? YFG couldn’t tell you – but any self-conscious European nationalist can: submission.
YFG further ‘propose the deployment of Naval Service vessels on similar future deployments’ on the grounds that it provides opportunity to ‘upskill, train, and better integrate with its European counterparts.’ The announcement of ‘Ireland’s steadfast commitment to freedom of navigation’ is ironic when one considers the non-existent Irish navy.
Would not, at least, one member of YFG have had the neuroplasticity needed to google Irish military capabilities before releasing a policy document with such demands as the ‘removal of the triple-lock mechanism and the upgrade of Naval Service vessels,’ in a nation whose navy consists of 6 reject-boats pawned off to a dopey-eyed Irish state, without sensibility, by foreign governments looking for a quick cash payment?
YFG argues that the ‘aggressive behaviour’ of China and Russia ‘demonstrates clearly that these countries should have no say whatsoever in whether Defence Forces personnel can deploy overseas or not.’ But there are two questions here – why should any foreign nation have a say in how the Irish military is used? The second question is, unfortunately, what army? The Defence Forces continually through lack of funding and government neglect is nothing of the sorts that even the poorest of countries may maintain.
In the best interests of the ‘principle of national sovereignty’ Young Fine Gael recommends the removal of the triple-lock mechanism on the use of the Irish Defence Forces. The irony is YFG taking a principled stand on the issue of national sovereignty is that they cannot understand the extent to which sovereignty is a political treasure that once ceded is nigh impossible to retrieve.
YFG wants greater connections to Taiwan, cultural, economic and academic – but for what purpose? Is it only to slight China or is it within Ireland’s economic interests? Or perhaps, is it to renew business negotiations on the creation of a Chinese city-colony on Irish soil?
YFG, calling for the Irish state to prevent Chinese ‘institutional capture of international organisations’ by those in league with the CCP, like their entire political programme, is a second-rate translation of American interests into Irish politics. The United Nations ought to be treated sceptically, and with an understanding that such international organisations, while useful for some small nations, inevitably come with their own political obligations which nations ought to consider in a less liberal manner.
In an attempt to moralise its warmongering hostility, Young Fine Gael issued a particularly pretentious tract: ‘However, we in YFG believe that there are some things more important than our raw economic self-interest. Respect for human rights, defence of liberal-democracy, Western values of liberty, and a rules-based international order fall into this category.’ Before you aim at international political aspirations, it’s better to examine the domestic ills facing your own country, whether that be mass-immigration or the housing crisis.
Conclusion: We Serve Neither Moscow Nor Washington, but Ireland!
Neither the United States, Russia, or China hold Ireland’s interests at heart. Neither does the United Kingdom. Even the European Union serves to limit Ireland’s potential, though is certainly the least egregious of the aforementioned power blocks of which the world is being divided into. The only actor that can be guaranteed to put the interests of your country at heart is your own state and government – though still, Ireland is failing catastrophically in this regard.