McCann finally suggests that the substantial change in the political character of the northern Republican movement is demonstrated in Adams’ pragmatism:
“…when he veered off the path of armed struggle he veered to the right and not to the left. Having ditched the ideas that underpinned armed struggle, discarding any notion of wanting to turn the world, or even the constitutional status quo, upside down, Adams and the group around him set out to recruit the most powerful allies potentially available–the Catholic hierarchy, the Dublin government, corporate Irish-America, the White House. This has meant resiling from positions that might alienate persuadable interests.”
This creates an apparent contradiction:
“Thus, although still generally presenting itself as an anti-imperialist party, Sinn Fein has been careful in recent times not to mobilize against the planned oil war on Iraq. The party’s campaign for the release of three men recently arrested leaving FARC-held territory in Colombia has been built on a soft-liberal basis, concentrating on the unlikelihood of the three receiving a fair trial, eschewing any defense of association with the left-wing guerrilla organization.
In conclusion, this has brought plaudits from Washington, even under the less friendly Bush administration:
“Small wonder that Bush’s point man, Richard Haass, has no ideological complaint against Sinn Fein. He just wishes it would move more speedily toward completion of what he calls its ‘necessary transition’. As a matter of fact, it’s almost there. Ed Moloney’s book is the best and necessary account of the long trek across dangerous terrain that brought Sinn Fein to this point, and of the role of Gerry Adams, the political genius who, with guile and daring, has led the way.”