STAMP-EDE OUT OF SNAKE ISLAND

During this appalling war in Ukraine it is hard to find anything to smile about but this week is different.  “Kaboom” tweeted Andriy Yermak, Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration, “No more Russian troops on Snake Island”.  This is the place made famous by the Ukrainian soldier who at the beginning of the war told the attacking warship to “ Go fuck yourself”.  Ukrainians consider the whole episode so uplifting that they issued a stamp showing the soldier giving the finger to the Russian cruiser Moskva.  This warship was the flagship of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet.  Its sinking marked the loss of the largest Russian ship since the end of World War II and was a blow to the Kremlin.  Apart from the significant boost to morale that this represents, the retaking of this island has significant strategic importance as it will now, hopefully, allow the resumption of Ukrainian exports from the Black Sea ports.  The Russians, of course, are claiming the withdrawal from Snake Island was voluntary  to allow this to happen.  Don’t believe a word of it, this is a win for Ukraine.

The phrase “ Cometh the hour, cometh the man” keeps bouncing in front of me and  in truth it is not the bounce but the rotation that is critical .  Somehow I think we are lucky at the moment to have Micheal Martin as Taoiseach.  He has the experience and the acquired gravitas to steer this neutral island of ours through some complicated waters.  Leo Varadkar seems perhaps a bit more militaristic in intent.  The Taoiseach is also perhaps in the process of developing a policy which will guide us to the place where we should land.  I think in this context it is absolutely right that he should attend the EuroAtlantic dinner which was held at the margins of the NATO summit in Madrid.  The geopolitical plates are shifting and it is important that the republic position itself correctly in a changing Europe.  For example how are we going to deal with the issue of defence which at the moment is hardly a burden on the budget ?  Do we feel it is the right policy to sign up to the development of an EU army when NATO has shown itself to be in such a robust condition and is shortly to be joined by Sweden and Finland.  As the Taoiseach has said this week “ the world is going through a watershed moment” and “ Ireland should be there as part of that conversation with like-minded democracies”.  Amen to that.

Now can’t you just picture plates flying and the ketchup pouring down the wall of the Trump White House when the President had one of his temper tantrums.  Cassidy Hutchinson’s evidence to the Jan. 6 Committee was utterly devastating, particularly his wish to neutralise the machines that would detect weapons being taken into the Capitol.  Trump incited a riot.  He was attempting by illegal means to hold on to the Presidency.  What he did was an affront to democracy.  The Founding Fathers would be turning in their graves.  It is the future that is important and in this respect he must be seen to pay for his crimes so that American democracy is protected from such evil intent.