Letters to The Irish Times from Anthony Coughlan and Roger Cole

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The Irish Times failed to print these letters from Anthony Coughlan (National Platform) and from Roger Cole (PANA) sent last weekend March 2024, that highlighted concerns on their on-going war-mongering propaganda. We reprint these letters below so you can judge if this is indeed the case, and if this is the case with Irish mainstream media in general.

Stunned by War Propaganda

Letter to the Editor,

Irish Times,


Dear Editor,

The Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer was in Ireland last week for an official visit at the invitation of the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces, and whilst here he addressed a meeting of the Institute for International and European Affairs. The IIEA receives funding from various government department including the Department of Defence.

A report on this meeting in the Irish Times (8/3/24) by Stephen Collins stated that EU ambassadors were stunned by Admiral Rob Bauer remarks, it was not a question of "if " Russia would invade the EU, but simply a matter of "when ".

In recent months, we have witnessed a sustained war propaganda campaign by EU and NATO leaders aimed at convincing European citizens that Russia is bent on invading Europe, we must prepare for war by heavily boosting our “defence” capabilities. At the same time NATO has begun its largest military exercise in Europe since the Cold War, Steadfast Defender 2024, involving 90,000 troops, 50 ships and more than 80 fighter jets.

I find it hard to understand how Stephen Collins or those EU ambassadors who attended this IIEA meeting were stunned by this war propaganda. Perhaps a more balanced report would also suggest that Ireland as a neutral country should be working to reduce tensions between NATO and Russia before we are dragged into an all-out war, a nuclear war.

Let’s start with more genuine and open public debate on our International and European Affairs.

Yours Sincerely

Roger Cole


Peace & Neutrality Alliance

17 Castle Street, Dalkey,


The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre

Varadkar's war-mongering statement... Open letter from Anthony Coughlan to Pat Leahy of the "Irish Times"..

Crawford Avenue

Dublin 9

TO: Mr Pat Leahy, The Irish Times,

Monday 11 March 2024

Dear Pat,

That is an extraordinarily alarmist article you wrote in last Saturday’s Irish Times: “As the EU prepares for war, Ireland’s head is in the sand”.

You open your piece with a war-mongering statement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Ukraine: “This is our war too ...The least we can do is to provide them with the tools they need to defend their country and their homes.”

Varadkar’s judgement on Ukraine as being “our war” is almost certainly as flawed as his judgement of the Irish people’s views in last Friday’s referendum.

You go on to quote approvingly the EU’s Von Der Leyen’s call for “turbocharging our defence industrial capacity in the next five years.”  You say you spoke to two senior Government ministers who told you that the EU is preparing for war, and the whole thrust of your piece is to hold that we should prepare for war along with them.

You write: “If Putin does not lose in Ukraine…then there is a real and justified fear that he will test NATO’s mutual defence pact with an attack on one of these countries.”  I suggest that the real fear is that of the warmongers of NATO and the EU who worry that they may be frustrated in their plans for a new Cold War in Europe in order to keep the arms orders rolling in for the military-industrial complex and to give a rationale for the NATO/EU military bureaucracy. The political purpose of this new Cold War is to renew the objective of NATO as being “to keep Russia out, America in and Germany down”, as the old witticism put it, and to keep the EU in vassalage to the USA.

With all due respect to you, your article last Saturday was quite over-the-top and based on a total misreading of political events. Do you not realise that if there were a real war in Europe nuclear bombs would almost certainly be used and we would not be immune from their effects?

You should know well that the Ukrainian war began in 2014 when the US and EU supported the Maidan coup d’état that overthrew the legitimate Russian-oriented Government there and the coup regime then banned the political parties representing Russian speakers as well as the Russian Orthodox Church and killed some 14,000 people in the Russian-speaking provinces between 2014 and 2022.

You sneer in your piece at Ireland’s “pro-neutrality lobby” and call for much increased military spending here to defend ourselves against the nasty Russians, whom you imply threaten us in some way.  Surely you have not forgotten that Russia has been invaded by the so-called “West” six times since 1800, and four times since 1900?  Russia is no threat to this country if we do not participate in NATO/EU war-mongering and maintain a meaningful neutrality policy

You really should heed Cillian Murphy’s call at the Oscars and join the ranks of the peacemakers!

Yours sincerely

Anthony Coughlan


P.S.   am copying this letter to your editor and assistant editor and sundry other current affairs journalists at your paper and elsewhere for their information. The accompanying article by Rome-based commentator ThomasFazi, who is a friend of mine, seems relevant to these matters also.

A psychoanalytical analysis of Western elites

How should we explain the near complete absence of feelings of guilt or shame on the part of Western politicians — especially over Gaza?

By Thomas Fazi, Rome, 11 March 2024

Michael Brenner — Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and a fellow of the Centre for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS/John Hopkins — isn’t that well known. Also due to his non-existent social media presence; but he’s one of the most insightful political thinkers out there. The best way to keep up with his writing is to sign up to his newsletter, which you can do by writing to him atmbren@pitt.edu

His latest piece is a little political-literary masterpiece. In it Brenner tries to explain the puzzling and apparently irrational behaviour of Western elites from a psycho-political perspective, in a similar fashion to the approach I took in attempting to explain the hysterical reaction of the British Establishment to George Galloway’s recent election. In that piece I argued that much of the behaviour of Western elites — especially their crackdown on domestic dissent — can be put down to fear:

“Our ruling elites are hugely powerful, but their power is illegitimate — they rule, and are able to reproduce their rule, for no other reason other than the fact that they are powerful. It’s a purely autochthonous form of power, but one that lacks the legitimacy of previous forms of autochthonous power, such as monarchies. They have no legitimating symbolic reservoir, or “secular theology,” to draw from. Alongside fear — their claim to be protecting us from evil forces out to get us, be it Russia, terrorists, viruses, etc. — the only legitimising force the oligarchs have left is “democracy”. The vote is ultimately the only thing that lends some legitimacy to their de facto absolute rule.

This is why they go to great lengths to control the democratic process — but can’t afford to do away with it altogether. Because, if they were to do so, all that would be left would be raw, naked elite rule, revealed in all its illegitimacy. But even this so-called democratic legitimacy is wearing increasingly thin — and elites know this. Hence their fear, which in turn leads to a constant tightening of the bolts of social control (greater censorship, repression, etc., as well as the constant search for foreign enemies) — and to hysterical reactions to even the slightest challenge to their rule.

Brenner reaches a similar conclusion — “deep down [Western elites] are scared, fearful and agitated”, he writes — but argues that this in itself isn’t sufficient to explain their apparent lack of guilt or shame, nor their apparent obliviousness to the self-defeating nature of the actions, from a strategic perspective. In order to explain this, Brenner draws on a rather wide range of philosophical and psychoanalytical insights. This is the most salient part of his analysis in my opinion:

“Western leaders are experiencing two stunning events: defeat in Ukraine, genocide in Palestine. The first is humiliating, the other shameful. Yet, they feel no humiliation or shame. Their actions show vividly that those sentiments are alien to them — unable to penetrate the entrenched barriers of dogma, arrogance and deep-seated insecurities.

[How should one explain this] near complete absence of feelings of guilt or shame — especially over Gaza, of being humiliated in the eyes of the world? In conditions of nihilism, matters of conscience are moot. For the implicit rejection of norms, rules and laws frees the individual self to do whatever impulses or ideas or selfish interests impel it. With the superego dissolved, there is no felt obligation to judge oneself in reference to any external or abstract standard. Narcissistic tendencies flourish.

A similar psychology obviates the requirement for experiencing shame. That is something that can only exist if we subjectively are part of a social grouping wherein personal status, and sense of worth, depend on how others view us and whether they grant us respect. In the absence of such a communal identity, with its attendant sensitivity to its opinion, shame can exist only in the perverse form of regret that one has been unable to meet the demanding, all-consuming need for self-gratification. That applies to nations as well.”

The mindset described by Brenner is well-known in psychology — it’s called psychopathy. As a paper on the topic explains:

“Individuals with high levels of psychopathic tendencies tend to show a lack of guilt, a lack of empathic concern, and a disregard for the impact of their decisions on others.

Psychopathy is a personality construct characterized by impaired social-emotional processing combined with a tendency to display disruptive and antisocial behaviours. The interpersonal-affective disturbances that lie at the core of this construct encompass a lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse, and are considered to be unique to psychopathy.

Psychopathy has repeatedly been linked to poor social decision-making, partly hypothesized as due to a diminished capability for making appropriate social inferences and for following social norms and rules.”

I find the last paragraph particularly interesting because a specific trait of the behaviour of Western elites in the current historical phase, beyond their ability to engage in, or support, crimes against humanity on a mass scale with no apparent remorse/guilt — a psychological trait that arguably could be applied to most state leaders throughout human history — is precisely their apparent inability to infer the way in which their actions are perceived by others, in this case the wider international community. Hence their pursuit of policies which are having the effect of weakening, at every turn, the legitimacy of the Western-led international order.

So perhaps what we are dealing with in Western societies isn’t just rule by the oligarchy, but more specifically, and more disturbingly, rule by a psychopathic oligarchy — a pathocracy.

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