By P. Neumann

Britain's lengthy conflict assesses the method of strategic switch in the British Government's place on Northern eire, beginning with Westminster's first intervention in 1969 and finishing with the Belfast contract in 1998. Drawing on an unlimited diversity of fundamental assets together with lately published cupboard papers, Peter Neumann analyzes the goals, procedure and restraints of British coverage in Northern eire.

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Extra resources for Britain's Long War: British Strategy in the Northern Ireland Conflict 1969-98

Example text

Throughout the Northern Ireland conflict, the idea of ‘minimum force’ has guided the security forces’ efforts, yet in contrast to Great Britain, where the state’s monopoly on the use of force has been widely accepted and rarely challenged, in Northern Ireland, no consensus with regard to the security forces’ activity existed, and the execution of state authority was actively resisted by at least one community at a time. For London, the fact that its authority was defied within its immediate jurisdiction was difficult to rationalise.

Most fundamentally, perhaps, the British government fuelled constitutional ambiguity and instability by making Northern Ireland a conditional part of the United Kingdom, yet politically, London sought to introduce a system of government that required trust and stability for both sides to be willing to share power. The description of the different elements of the strategic tradition showed that there was little in British government thinking on Northern Ireland that merits the term ‘grand design’.

22 Britain’s Long War This link (between closeness and responsibility) could be established through a variety of mechanisms. For example: ● ● ● Media scrutiny: the Northern Ireland conflict received more domestic and international press coverage than any of the emergencies in remote parts of the world. Cabinet members were fully aware that ‘[e]very action was carried out in the glare of television publicity’,23 and that the government would be held accountable. 26 Common institutions: Northern Ireland was part of the domestic framework, and its citizens were equal under British law.

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Britain's Long War: British Strategy in the Northern Ireland by P. Neumann
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