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Commentary: No more Irish groundhogs

The war is over, the one in Northern Ireland that is. The Irish Republican Army has been defeated, even if few admit it. There is an old saying that Irish republicans are too clever to admit they have lost and Ulster unionists are too stupid to realize that they have won. Appearance and reality are often different but rarely as much as in Ireland. For instance, one of the crucial events is often said to be President Bill Clinton’s decision to award a visa to Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams in 1995. The then British Prime Minister John Major apparently went ballistic. But was this true? The respected academic Paul Dixon says in his fascinating book “The Politics of War and Peace” that this high profile defeat for the Brits was choreographed to boost the Sinn Fein leadership’s “unarmed struggle.” But the peace deal pivots on a key principle for unionists, and other democrats. There can be no change in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland until and unless its 1.5 million people — 900,000 Protestants and 600,000 Catholics — agree. Full Story

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