“But one hopes for the sake of the people of Northern Ireland..”

Out-going Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s declaration to the US Congress yesterday, live-blogged by Shane, that “Ireland is at peace” [in our time? – Ed] could be viewed as a declaration of the end of US political involvement here.. Maybe.. Mary Alice Clancy emailed a link to a March 2008 article by her Phd thesis examiner, Brendan Simms, of the Centre of International Studies at the University of Cambridge and co-President of the Henry Jackson Society, which sketches out the international dimension, “From Spanish intervention in Ireland during Elizabethan times..”.

Interestingly, Simms places the “liberal interventionism” of Mitchell Reiss here amidst a US strategy of “the export of democracy” – a theme which was explored by Adam Curtis in part three of his documentary series The Trap.If you can find it Curtis’ programme is worth watching, in particular, as one of his criticisms of that US strategy in the past was that it, more often than not, resulted in incomplete, or partial, versions of the democracy intended.

And, as Simms notes at the end of his article.

Of course, even now American policy in Northern Ireland has never been just about those “dreary steeples”. One of the reasons US diplomats have followed developments there with such interest is their hope that some insights can be applied to Iraq. That in itself is neither surprising nor reprehensible. But one hopes for the sake of the people of Northern Ireland that they are looking for a compromise involving (some of) the extremes, rather than a “deal” which simply carves up the province between them.

The Iraq connection continues. And the “peace walls” mentioned in this report may have created “a potentially permanent concrete patchwork quilt of sectarian and ethnic zones.”

Sound familiar yet?

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  • Dave

    “Ireland is at peace”

    It wasn’t at war, so what he really should have said is ‘the small number of organised murder gangs who controlled the sectarian violence and associated criminality in Northern Ireland to serve their own undemocratic and unlawful agenda and interests have reduced their activities to a politically acceptable level in return for political and other financial rewards at the direct expense of justice and of the people who were wronged by their activities, thereby establishing the principle that crime does pay and should be paid handsomely by the state.’ Except, of course, if he told the truth instead of the fictional narrative, he wouldn’t have received a standing ovation and the odd tear from his fawning audience.

  • Did he get a Dig Out?

  • Pete Baker

    Dave

    Indeed.

    Phil

    Not entirely addressing the actual topic.

    Anyone watch Curtis’ The Trap?

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Sound familiar yet?’

    Sure…all’s missing though is the mass importation of a loyal race of people.

  • michael

    Anyone watch Curtis’ The Trap?

    yea pretty interesting show, I’d recommend watching his other documentary series'(if you havnt already) . I think that they’re all still available on google video (or perhaps iplayer now).

    Does anyone know if he has any books out. Its been a while since i looked, but as far as i can remember, i couldn’t find anything.

  • Garibaldy

    The fact Simms describes a democratic revolution against fascism in Portugal (the most prominent symbol of which was roses placed in gun barrels) as a military coup tells you a lot about his ideological bent. Fine to export democracy using US and UK military power according to the Henry Jackson Society, but if a people overthrows democracy themselves, then that’s left-wing coup. The rest of the article is somewhat questionable given that description. In fact, it’s laughable given the failure of the US under Bush to export democracy to its clients in the middle east, and its support for the coup attempt in Venezeula.

  • Pete Baker

    Garibaldy

    You haven’t watched the Adam Curtis documentary series I linked to, and mentioned, in the original post then?

  • Garibaldy

    No Pete cause I don’t have time tonight. What do they say?

  • Pete Baker

    Garibaldy

    I’ve already highlighted, in the original post, one of the criticisms made in the programme.

    But the point is it widens the topic, rather than narrowing it, and the fact that Simms places our Process in that strategy makes the results elsewhere of interest to the topic.

  • Garibaldy

    Reading the Wiki thing, I saw parts of the power of nightmares, but missed the second and third ones. Looks like the third one exposes the hypocrisy of Simms and his predecessors effectively.

  • Garibaldy

    Pete,

    Our little process has always clearly been part of a US-sponsored series of processes designed to nullify many of the world’s remaining conflicts once the Cold War had ended. The aim is not democracy, but peace and quiet to get on with the serious business of selling coca cola.

    Have you read Killing Pablo, about US efforts in Colombia in the late 1980s and early 1990s? Murder and torture facilitated by the US military, intelligence and law enforcement communities. Since then, they have poured massive amounts of US cash into a state closely allied with drug-trafficking death squads, with whom the current government has recently been definitively linked – all in the name of stopping communism – reflect this agenda.

    However, further afield, in the age of imperial overreach, we see them meeting the Nepalese Maoists for the first time. So maybe things are looking worse for Simms and co. We can hope.

  • Pete Baker

    Garibaldy

    What I think you mean is that you saw parts of the second one, but missed the first and third ones.

    And since you didn’t watch the third one, you’ll not know anything about it.

    It does, however, fit with Simms final paragraph – see original post.

  • Garibaldy

    The looks like comment was based on the summary offered by Wikipedia.

  • Pete Baker

    And still does not relate to the original post.

  • Garibaldy

    If so far as I read the article by Simms that you quoted and criticised the analysis offered, and pointed out the ideological bent behind it? And then you asked about the programmes, so I did what I could to address your point based on the link you provided?

    I’ll be clearer as to why I see the two as linked, though this may not be why you linked the two. Simms, the Jackson Society, and the pro-war left with whom they have been having a rapprochement are in a long line of apologists for imperialism, who dress up naked aggression aimed at procuring domination and exploitation in the language of liberty (by the way you should read Eric Foner on this, in his books and his writings in major US newspapers like the NY Times and Washington Post, I think you’d be interested).

    Now if what I have taken from your post and linked material is not what you wanted me to take from it, then I guess that just proves the argument about how authorial intent goes out the window once a text meets the audience.

  • Dave

    Spot on, Garibaldy. They’re nothing but a ghastly and murderous cabal of self-aggrandizing macropolitical sociopaths on the fringes of academia and democratic politics, closeted in agenda-laden ‘Institutes’ and seeking influence and a sense of personal empowerment by serving as advisors to other advisors (none of whom are elected) who hoodwink secretaries of state into believing they are acting in America’s (and the world’s) best interests instead of the best interests of the corporations who pay the advisors and finance the Institutes that finance the advisors to the advisors, with Iraq serving as the latest testament to their abject disregard for the rights and welfare of others, despite their preaching their sickening sermons about democracy when it is nothing other than ideological cover for American imperialism by proxy (extracting the wealth by importing American business interests under the guise of liberal market reforms under compliant puppet regimes without assuming the responsibility and financial liability of direct colonisation) and a furtherance of their own selfish interests.

    In regard to Northern Ireland, would the outcome of the appeasement process have been any different if the Americans were not involved? Not in the slightest. Admitted, George Mitchell was helpful but not irreplaceable. They only reason the Americans were involved is because the Irish government insisted on involving them (at the behest of Hume and Adams) and as a part of the pan-nationalist alliance to reassure the IRA that the British government wouldn’t exclude them from the negotiations that were proposed in the Downing Street Declaration (and became the GFA). Doubtless the Americans have issues with Ireland’s neutrality, preferring membership of NATO, and the British have issues about Ireland being a backdoor to the UK (post the development of long range missiles that make land invasion a thing of history) but those macropolitical issues had little or nothing to do with the actual outcome of the appeasement process.

    Are there any lessons to be learned from Northern Ireland that can help Iraq? Well, the key one is not to invade countries because it serves your interests to do so, but it’s a tad too late to learn that lesson.

  • Pete Baker

    “then I guess that just proves the argument about how authorial intent goes out the window once a text meets the audience.”

    And I can only point back in the general direction of the original post when someone choses to wander off along a more comfortable tangent.

  • Garibaldy

    As I say Pete, I read Simms’ article, which seemed to me to form the core of the post, and criticised it. I wouldn’t have referred to the TV show if you hadn’t invited me to do so. Looking at the post again, Simms’ article is given greater weight than the TV show. His article is about US policy, framed by his own ideological commitments, which I engaged with.

    Had you wanted to start a debate exclusively on Curtis’ programmes, then you should have constructed the post in a different manner, that stressed it and not Simms.