Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hillary and The Peace Process, again

Interesting New York Times (via The Confluence) roundup of opinions regarding the role that Hillary Clinton played in the Northern Ireland peace process, the most celebrated peace process in recorded history. There's a hint that Bill Clinton's non-attendance at the commemorative event next month has less to do with a specific clash on the Pennsylvania campaign schedule and more with not wanting to draw further attention to the controversy over Hillary's role. And yet most of the actual quotes in the article are favourable to Hillary, including from non-obvious sources like Peter King (although one could guess that King, a McCain supporter, prefers Hillary to Obama as a general election opponent).

On the other side, there's the David Trimble quote contesting her importance (and don't forget Trimble's love-in with the neocons; he's not a disinterested observer). Yet much of The Peace Process was indirect, since the protagonists often refused to talk to each other. Intermediaries were important but not every intermediary would have interacted with every party. Furthermore, the White House has always had a large role in outreach to nationalists, since the Unionists had their channels via the UK government to the US State Department. Remember all the uncertainty that used to surround whether Sinn Fein leaders would get a visa? What you saw depends on where you were sitting.

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