Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Playing the anti-American card

Well, how do you like that? Fine Gael's Lucinda Creighton has managed to make some news in America today, stealing a little bit of Bertie's spotlight. The Washington Times has a report today on Creighton's recent "web posting" on the Fine Gael web site.

Creighton claims that
US foreign policy has traditionally been opposed to EU integration. The US supports the EU as an economic bloc but nothing more. The idea of a politically strong EU, acting as a check or counterbalance on the US does not sit well with our transatlantic friends. This policy has long been evident in NATO, where the US has consistently opposed the expansion of NATO to the new EU member states.
I don't know what she means by "traditionally", but it's always been my impression that American policy was positive about European integration. And I really have no idea what she's talking about with all that about the expansion of NATO. America was not forced to support NATO expansion. If anything American policy has been too keen, generating tensions with Russia.

So, what's going on? Well, it turns out this is part of an attempt to besmirch the character of the people heading the anti-Lisbon movement here. According to Creighton, Ulick McEvaddy and Declan Ganley's opposition to the Lisbon Treaty is due to the fact that these two men "are heavily dependent on contracts from the State Department, the Pentagon and US Government Agencies".

What she's saying actually makes no sense to me. Why would people who are in the business of selling equipment to the Pentagon be unhappy about European integration? A unified, militarily strong EU (which is implied in her statement) would be another potentially lucrative contract for McEvaddy & Ganley. Arms traders are rarely so picky when it comes to customers.

However, Creighton's politics are pretty transparent. She's throwing mud - and links to the Pentagon will definitely not play well with the Irish media or a big chunk of the Irish electorate - and hoping some will stick. She's not too subtly playing the anti-American card in the EU campaign. That's a new angle for Fine Gael.