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Ulster's Pax Americana?

SHORTLY BEFORE the visit of American president Bill Clinton to Ulster in November 1995, various spokesmen for Sinn Féin were sounded increasingly pessimistic with regard to the future of the so-called 'peace process'. "It's over" "It's going nowhere." Gerry Adams claimed that it was 'on the verge of collapse' and that all that was left was an IRA cessation of military activity and a conditional loyalist paramilitary ceasefire. The possibility of a resumption of the Provo campaign seemed inevitable. Mr Adams could, of course, have chosen to reassure Ulsterfolk that the IRA would not be the first to return to armed struggle as the CLMC did last autumn. He gave no such assurance but he instead accused the unionists of being responsible for any resumption of the armed struggle for not rolling over instantly and surrendering to IRA demands. According to Mr Adams the British government are equally to blame for not making the unionists do what he tells them.

Even before the IRA declared its 'cessation of military operations' in August 1994 Ulster Nation has been wary of the implications and the direction of the Hume-Adams process. It seemed to us at the time that the peace would only last as long as things were going in the direction - and at the speed - demanded by the Provisional republican movement and its cheerleaders in the Irish and British media. The resumption of the IRA's military campaign last February proved to us that this analysis was correct. Although like everyone else we liked the absence of open conflict on our streets we knew that it was not real peace - merely a tactical respite. The Republican movement has sought to lay the blame for its resumption of hostilities on everyone but itself!

Much of the media has swallowed this line and advocated the strategy of the Sinn Féin leadership. Pundits in the London and Dublin media and of course in the Irish News want to isolate Protestants, unionists and Ulster patriots; preferably through British, American or EU coercion. This, they intend will irrevocably change the whole balance of politics here so that power will 'inevitably' flow in the direction of pan-Irish national chauvinism. Their hope is that a section of unionism will break away and strike a deal with them. Hume, Adams and Irish News leader writers constantly prattle on about the need for the emergence of an Ulster Protestant 'DeKlerk' to give 'proper' leadership to his people.

The visit of President Clinton last November was a major stage in promoting pan-Irish nationalist objectives under the overall embrace of a Pax Americana. Fair enough, Mr Clinton took time to meet the leaders of Ulster's seven significant political parties on his visits to Belfast and Londonderry, but there is no mistake that his message found greatest favour in the pan-Irish national chauvinist camp. Sinn Féin was especially jubilant with Gerry Adams' private audience following a transparently contrived 'accidental' meeting in a McErlean's cake shop. Republican areas of Belfast are still flying Éire tricolours alongside the Stars and Stripes.

The United States likes to give itself the image of an independent 'honest broker' which steps in to save the victims of age-old conflicts from themselves. In the past year we have seen the US sponsor 'peace processes' in the Balkans, the Middle East and now here in Ulster. We in Ulster Nation argue that the US is not an impartial honest broker but it has its own interests to promote. We are not just talking here about Clinton's fortunes in the November 1996 US presidential election. The Yanks always like to see a compliant potential ally come out on top in any peace process which the US sponsors. This was as true of Bush and Reagan as it is of Clinton.

Thus in Bosnia, despite all the media hype of supporting the beleaguered mainly Moslem government in Sarajevo, the Dayton agreement has rewarded the Croat regime of Franco Tudjman and given him control over half of Bosnia and left that country's Moslems to his tender care. In Palestine, Israel will remain firmly in control over who does what in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank.

Here in Ulster, the Tories have given America a greater say than could ever have been imagined a few years ago. This act of abdication means that no British government can ever again argue that Ulster is an integral part of the United Kingdom and its affairs are a purely internal matter. Instead, a senior American politician was given the task of bringing the IRA to a conference table by fudging the issue of the IRA's guns and explosives. Clearly the US administration, while professing to support the efforts of the British and Éire governments for peace, has picked its side - the pan-Irish national chauvinist front. Just look at the new special relationship which has developed between the White House and Leinster House.

Unionists and loyalists can expect to be treated politely by the White House but they will be expected to play their allotted role - don't rock the boat and do as you're told. Some of David Trimble's most ardent supporters may yet have cause to regret his apparently easy access to the Oval Office and the US State Department. If the Brits are not willing to 'persuade' the unionists and loyalists into falling in line the Yanks will do it instead while Westminster stands quietly to the side. Recalcitrant Ulster patriots can expect to be shunned and demonised in the media as the Shi-ites of the late 1990s.

David Kerr, May 1996

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