Immanuel Kant proposed a number of diplomatic tests that if passed might herald a state of perpetual peace between two or more nations. Dan O’Brien, in the latest edition of Britain and Ireland, argues that a range of external pressures have transformed the economic relationship between the Republic and the UK sufficiently believe we may be entering a new long term era of substantive peace:
…while it is true that power will remain crucial in international relations, the 20th century saw many other factors come to the fore. As a result, the way states deal with each other has changed far more in the 84 years since the Irish state’s founding than in the previous three hundred.
The reasons are manifold: the waning of belligerent nationalism and the waxing of self-constraining multilateralism; the multiplying of identities and increasingly pacifistic publics; and changes in the type, amount and geographic spread of economic activity.
All of these forces, and others besides, have been at work in both Ireland and Britain, and have had a profound effects on relations in what Patrick Keatinge, the doyen of the Irish international relations discipline, called the “British Isles sub-system”.