All that work for peace now snubbed by America?

Daithi in New York has tracked Counterpunch’s Harry Browne countertake on who the criminals are. There are mild echoes of this take in this lengthy comment piece by Times of London columnist Simon Jenkins. Another strange case of left meets right?

His analysis is harsh:

Mr Adams has every reason to feel aggrieved. He has laboured long, if not hard, to bring Irish republicanism into the political fold. His conversion from terrorist to ballot box politician has been hailed by London, Dublin and Washington. The ostensible reason for this week’s snub was no more than a bank raid, of which Mr Adams appears to have known nothing, and a dime-a-dozen killing in the Short Strand enclave of Belfast. What is new?

He reckons this is just one in a long line of occasions when the outside world has tried to interfer with Northern Ireland:

Outsiders have been meddling in Northern Ireland since the start of the present troubles 35 years ago. It got nowhere. Presidents Clinton and Bush have visited the Province and been photographed. Emissaries such as George Mitchell and Richard Haass have come and gone. Nobel prizes have been distributed. The de facto “ceasefire” negotiated by the Major Government has held, but most observers felt that by the early Nineties the lust for violence was waning.

Though in condemning Blair, Bush and dozens of other outsiders, he doesn’t let the IRA off the hook:

Paramilitary bosses were ageing and their members grown rich on cross-border smuggling, robbery and money laundering. As charted last month in The Times, the IRA is regarded by MI5 as “one of the largest and richest organised gangs in Europe”.

  • Pang

    I think the White House is now taking it’s lead from London on Northern Ireland, unlike 10 years ago. Kennedy and King are taking their lead from Dublin, also a little different from 10 years ago. This means Dublin and London are in charge.

    The Unionists are off the hook since Paisley’s calling of Sinn Fein’s bluff before Christmas. Unionism has ended a decade of crisis, and pushed that crisis into the nationalist community.

    I think a lot of the anti-provo comments comming out of Dublin particularly are the result of built up tension over a long time. Until then, there was a real hope that the deal could be struck. I think when it was seen that the Provo’s wouldn’t deal on their weapons, that there was no point of being nice to Sinn Fein any more. Like a frustrated man having to be nice to his mother-in-law, now the divorce is going through, true feelings can come out.

    Overall there has been no change in policy from Washington (or London or Dublin for that matter). The real question is where we go from here? That will take new thinking. Just presuring SF is hardly a long term strategy.

  • Circles

    I’d agree that the governments are now very much calling the shots with regard to the international attitude to the process (slightly ironic as they were pulled into it somewhat reluctantly in the first place when Hume and Adams got the ball rolling). I don’t think this is a very good sign.
    The perceived role of the 2 governments as mediators in a conflict they were not involved in (particularly the British) lets them get away with spinning things to their own advantage (Bertie – elections, Tony – get IRA disarmed asap) and has significantly contributed to the difficulties.
    Imagine if suddenly somebody said – and now the IRA will be mediating, travelling to london to talk to blair, meeting Paisley, etc. Pure nonsense!
    Mediation should have been, from the very start, by an external party (EU? UN? – anyone but the governments!!)

    I would disagree that Dublins comment are a result of frustration – more simply its all just politics man!

  • Ringo

    Circles –
    I would disagree that Dublins comment are a result of frustration – more simply its all just politics man!

    It’s all politics alright, but Pangs take on it is correct.

    Look back through the troubles and recall what the mainstream opinion in the Republic was to the activities of the IRA and Sinn Fein – looks a lot like right now doesn’t it?

    The reality is that the treatment of the republican movement in past 10 years has been an anomaly, and the status quo has recently returned. Politicians and the media of all shades have had to ‘hold their fire’ regarding Sinn Fein and the IRA in the interests of the big picture, but it was a policy which was resulting in ever diminishing returns.

    When the criminality issue bubbled over the latent contempt for and frustration at the republican movement, suppressed for a decade, was no longer seen to be an obstacle to progress and normal service has resumed.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Murders such a that committed in BELFAST CITY CENTRE (not the Short Strand) are not a ‘dime a dozen’ here. In fact thankfully they are extremely rare in this part of the world.

    Also the IRA were not responsible for the deaths of three thousand Britons.

    Jenkins would no doubt consider himself a serious journalist writing for a serious paper. Clumsy inaccuracies would tend to indicate that these people have not interest in the truth at all and are merely interested in lecturing from a soap box that people on this side of the pond can see is situated on quicksand.