We have many reasons to be very worried in May 2019.
There is every reason this weekend to fear that a phalanx, including Trump, Netanyahu, Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, Jared Kushner, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, is plotting a war against Iran.
The pretext for this war is – wait for it – secret intelligence that the Iranians are up to something very bad – so bad that we can’t be told about it.
In addition, we are told that Iran somehow may have carried out acts of “sabotage” against two Saudi oil tankers. We are shown a dent on the stern of one of the tankers but we are not told how the dent could have been caused. It doesn’t look like the result of a sea-mine or a missile strike. To my inexpert eye, the dent looks like the result of a collision. Did some mysterious boat ram the tanker? Was no-one on board when the dent occurred?
Utterly vague reports are also published linking the rocket attacks from Gaza to Iran.
There is, of course, only one credible response to all of this – War!
But we should wait for the Eurovision Song Contest to make us all feel good about Israel before the war begins.
For my part, I believe that the same war-mongering phalanx planning the Iranian war is more than capable of concocting a pretext for war – whether damage to a tanker or top grade secret intelligence or both. Remember Saddam’s WMDs.
Remember that Trump has effectively colluded with the Saudi cover-up of the horrific Khasogghi murder in Istanbul. The murderous Crown Prince is now a key figure plotting a war against Iran. A convenient little bit of sabotage to escalate tensions is hardly beyond his perverse imagination. Not to mention the secret service of the state most anxious to get the US into military conflict with Iran.
I have been warning here of a coming US-Iran war for long time. Trump dearly wants a war in order to make the 2020 election into a khaki election. He has made a haymes of his North Korea initiative. Juan Guaidó is on the back foot in Venezuela. ISIS has metastasised into a non-state worldwide terror campaign as we found out in Sri Lanka. Trump’s famous deal making powers seem to have deserted him in his dealings with China.
So if there’s gotta be a war – and there’s gotta be – it’s gotta be Iran.
Who knows what the economic consequences of that war will be?
As if that was not bad enough, the odds on a hard crash-out Brexit have shortened dramatically.
The end of Theresa May’s disastrous premiership is in sight. The Tories are facing an electoral humiliation in European Parliament elections that nobody wants. Farage rampant has spooked them out. Boris is hovering – well let’s not misuse language – skulking in the wings.
The Tory party is now going to try to out-Farage Farage between June and November when the UK will leave the EU. There is a rapidly diminishing likelihood of a soft Brexit being negotiated by a Tory administration facing into a possible general election in which they will lose huge numbers of votes to Farage.
This scenario is very, very serious for Ireland – North and South. Unless a white knight in the form of a Tory soft Brexiteer beats Boris in the coming leadership race, we are facing into a very serious economic crisis in the Autumn.
The present government in Dublin has lost its mojo and its bottle. It is a government of spin and procrastination. It makes wild promises to spend billions here and there as if there were no tomorrow. It is constantly eying the option of calling a general election.
The Irish elections to the European parliament are a largely meaningless charade in which household names compete to be former household names. There is hardly a word spoken about the future of the EU.
As between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail there is little enough difference. Both parties are looking to an Autumn election when it now appears that the hard Brexit crisis will be at its peak. That election will probably leave us with no clear governing majority. There will be no repeat of the confidence and supply arrangement. We will then have a choice between two ragbag coalitions in all likelihood unless something dramatic occurs.
Combine a wretched post-election Irish government with a post-Hard Brexit economic crisis and we have every reason to be worried for the New Year..
As for the EU, we also have major reason to worry. The recent Sibiu informal EU Council meeting was intended a year ago as the venue for a major discussion on the future of the EU.
But when the meeting actually took place, the members of the Council completely ducked the major issues confronting the EU and let it be known that any significant discussion on these issues might have an adverse effect on the European Parliament elections.
That gives the lie completely to any suggestion that the European parliament elections are an exercise in accountable democracy. Keeping the voters in the dark about the real intentions of the leaders of the Union was the strategy adopted.
The issue of a common EU defence is an interestin example of how utterly futile these elections actually are.
In the last year the outgoing Fine Gael MEPs decided to publish a document which was favourable towards Ireland playing a role in EU defence. That is highly controversial.
At the time of the second Lisbon Treaty referendum, the Irish people voted Yes to a package which inserted into our constitution a clause, Article 29.4.9, which states:
“The State shall not adopt a decision taken by the European Council to establish a common defence pursuant to Article 42 of the Treaty on European Union where that common defence would include the State.”
Nothing could be clearer. Ireland has opted out of a common EU defence. Most people understand that a EU common defence or a EU army could very easily involve the EU as a union becoming involved in a war. Most people know that having an EU army without a EU democratic government is a recipe for disaster. Most people understand that an EU army is a harbinger of a federal United States of Europe. And Ireland is simply not minded to go down that path.
In order not to embarrass Fine Gael candidates by publicly identifying them with federalist policies that they privately endorse, the Fine Gael party convinced the other members of the European Peoples Party, the EPP, which is financing their campaign, to delete all references to these matters from the draft EPP manifesto.
That is yet another example of the absurdity of the claim that the EU institutions are democratic or accountable.
Between the British participation in the European parliament elections and the sham debate between Irish candidates in the same elections, there is every reason to be somewhat cynical.
We may be heading in a small boat towards a political Niagara Falls this Autumn but we are bickering about broadband, buses and mortuaries. The Dáil has declared a Climate Emergency but nobody seems to be debating the looming economic crisis.
As Donald would say, “Sad”.