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That's a pretty snappy slogan, actually.

I'd pretty much concur with your analysis, from a mainland based perspective.

Mind you, there's a definite (and horrible) element to me of "playing the waiting game." In essence, both sides had to be convinced that they weren't going to get "total victory" and that came in part only with the passage of time.

That's a horrible thought because I'm suggesting that there wasn't many good ways to reduce the bloodshed.

I'll caveat by saying there were key moments, especially at the beginning, but one or two in the middle that might have been seized by one side or the other to make a difference, but I do feel for much of the middle period both sides were still so swept up in dreams of "total victory" that it's hard to see what could have been done to shorten the conflict.

I should note some extra factors:

  1. Not sure how much weight this had, but EU membership for Ireland definitely made a difference. It softened the national distinctions in a crucial way.

  2. More weighty, but difficult to assess from my relatively general knowledge is that there was a definite turning point in Irish government attitudes to the pIRA. The pIRA didn't just have broad-based support in the Catholic population of NI and the general population of Eire, they also had an ambiguous relationship with the government of Eire.

I don't have the knowledge to place the position of the Irish government in the relationship on the spectrum between "tacit support," "turning a blind eye" and "being politically unable to do much about them" but it was definitely in there at the beginning. It seemed to shift towards the beginning of the 80s and that seemed to have some slow impact on the pIRA.

So I'd add the notion that you need to engage with any official backers where possible as they can help influence the situation, not with immediate impact perhaps, but over time.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 12:34:57 PM EST
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