So it turns out Me Wallace and Clare Daly – among just 13 MEPs who voted against a resolution condemning the Ukrainian invasion – believe they have been “misunderstood”.
They now argue that they did indeed condemn Vladimir Putin’s invasion, but they wanted “voices for peace” to be heard.
“We must continue to push for diplomacy and push for a negotiated peace, no matter how difficult it may be,” the two MEPs concluded Justification.
It came after a day when they faced heavy criticism and Ukraine continued to burn.
The Wallace-Daly case cites several reasons for being among that ‘baker dozen’ of MPs opposed to the sweeping resolution endorsed by Ireland’s remaining 13 MPs and all the major groups in the European Parliament.
We can look at those main arguments, but first a word on this restraining order for “diplomacy.” Didn’t Wallace and Daly notice this storm of diplomacy before Putin sent in the tanks? Did you notice how French President Emmanuel Macron had called a tentative summit between the US and Russia hours before Putin attempted to shore up disputed areas in eastern Ukraine – three days before Putin’s full-scale invasion?
The duo go on to argue that they did in fact harshly condemn Putin in the resolution their “left” group presented to their fellow parliamentarians.
That’s true, and the language is strong and unequivocal – but each also carries a finger of blame for the NATO military alliance, the European Union, and the West in general.
There is still a kind of moral equivalence between the two sides. This conveniently ignores who the brutal attacker actually is here.
It also conveniently overlooks how so many former Soviet states, having endured decades of Russian domination, freely but steadfastly chose NATO and the EU.
We must note that the couple’s condemnation of Putin is belated. In December, they were among six Irish MPs who either abstained or voted against a motion condemning Putin’s aggressive actions in Russia. Neither Wallace nor Daly have addressed this.
They also try to tell us that they voted so to avoid “endangering the whole planet.” They point to the return of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe’s tight energy market.
But that’s because Germany, which is 55 percent dependent on Russian gas, is being forced to plan two new LNG plants and delay the decommissioning of its last three nuclear power plants. Putin’s warmongering and arming of gas supplies caused this.
Similarly, Wallace and Daly argue that Russia’s invasion of a much smaller neighbor – their second such act in seven years – is being cynically exploited to advance European defense cooperation and the EU’s “militarization”. This is a practical twist on reality. The brutal reality is that the war in Europe has forced all governments to completely rethink defense.
It’s true There is a longstanding debate about the future of EU defense and an over-reliance on the US. The Ukraine crisis has given this a new relevance. But it’s a stretch to see this as an opportunistic move to push a defense agenda.
But they are right about one thing – the inevitable impact on Ireland urgently needs a full debate.
Another distortion of political reality is that they are pushing for a long delay in any EU accession talks with Ukraine. Most EU leaders are eager to gently let down President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by regularly inviting them to key meetings during the crisis. Accelerated EU membership of Ukraine requires unanimity and will not happen for many years.
But an unnoticed feature of this is that Wallace and Daly’s group would like the matter to be postponed pending the resolution of all disputes between Ukraine and Russia, which also implies Crimea and eastern Ukraine. By that standard, divided Ireland and Cyprus would be among those who would never make it through the membership line.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/wallace-and-daly-two-of-the-refusenik-bakers-dozen-on-ukraine-say-they-are-misunderstood-41405153.html Mick Wallace and Claire Daly – two of Ukraine holdouts dozen – say they are ‘misunderstood’