March 7, 2007

NO USSR, NO PROBLEM:

Northern Ireland votes on a new beginning (DOUG SAUNDERS, 3/07/07, Globe and Mail)

When the people of Northern Ireland make their way to the polls today, many will cast an eye to the empty shell of the Stormont legislature, a heavy limestone building looming on a hill above Belfast that is meant to be the province's seat of government.

For the past four years, Stormont has been devoid of parliamentarians, its staff earning salaries but accomplishing little. Ever since the feuding Catholic and Protestant parties stormed out in a fit of mutual accusation in 2003, Northern Ireland has been run by London bureaucrats, unable to realize the political independence it achieved after the Good Friday agreement of 1998. Stormont has stood, ugly and useless, as a monument to this region's failure and paralysis.

Today's election of a power-sharing administration could mark a new beginning. While the same old antagonists are in place -- Catholic, Republican leader Gerry Adams and Protestant Unionist leader Ian Paisley -- the two men are no longer an unstoppable force and an immovable object.

In the four years since the last attempt at Northern Irish self-government, the Irish Republican Army, affiliated with Mr. Adams's Sinn Fein party, has forsworn terrorism and rid itself of its weapons caches.


With the defeat of the Soviet Union the West's three intractable problem areas have resolved themselves fairly quickly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 7, 2007 11:05 AM
Comments

That's why Ron called it the focus of evil in the modern world.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 7, 2007 1:42 PM

The last time I heard about the IRA and Sinn Fein, they were A) claiming to have destroyed their weapon caches without providing any proof, and B) covering up a barroom murder by IRA thugs and then, in the face of global disgust, suggested that they could just quietly execute their own members instead of handing them over for prosecution. Forgive me if I see this as the brief silence before the next penny drops.

Posted by: Just John at March 7, 2007 6:35 PM
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