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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Biden and Pelosi: butt out of Northern Ireland!

Interesting that Joe Biden should echo  Nancy Pelosi’s dogwhistle references to the threat of reigniting Irish terrorism  mere days after Americans commemorated 9/11; clearly, unlike for Tony Stark , irony is not his strong suit. Unless it was a joke: I guess he’s a riot in the right company - though he has been a little slow to dissociate himself from the wrong company .

Or maybe it was the memory thing; for a month after the Twin Towers bombing, Joe was ruffling feathers  with his remarks about Afghanistan and the Muslim world’s perception of America as a ‘bully’ that thinks ‘we can do whatever we want to do’. Subsequent events showed that the US does often behave like a man looking for a gas leak with a lit match, and this latest attempt to interfere in our internal affairs continues the pattern; perhaps Joe’s new enthusiasm for interventionism is a bending with the wind.

On the other hand, Pelosi is consistent: she was making the same minatory noises in her address to the Dublin Parliament last year, and lamenting ‘our late friend, the extraordinary Martin McGuinness.’ Only the coronavirus cancelled the annual green-dyeing of the Chicago River - American political paddywackery is still fertile ground for American audiences, catering to illusions about ‘a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.’

For the rest of us, the porter-beer-and-Noraid sentimentality is dangerous. I remember (anyone got the videoclip?) Gerry Adams on Gay Byrne’s Late Late Show in Dublin on RTÉ in 1994, where an audience member called Adams a ‘murderer’ and received a lethally restrained lecture from him on politeness; marginally a better reaction, I suppose, than GA telling Peter Hitchens he should be ‘decommissioned’ . Still, as long as the bangs are far away from New York and Oklahoma, Washington is happy to light the fuses.

For what, though? 1997 excluded the moderates to get a deal like that between Chicago gangster fiefdoms. The successors of the ‘Chuckle Brothers’ are unlikely to throw it all up for the sake of cross-border management that is much more technically doable now than when Ireland and the UK entered the EU simultaneously in 1973 to circumvent the practical difficulties.

Is it just to save money on the phone bill? Supposedly, Henry Kissinger asked (not so, according to the FT ) ‘Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?’; the answer in 2009 was Cathy ‘gosh’ Ashton. Now, the US Secretary of State will have to replace the handset and redial +44-(0)71… for a second discussion. How inconvenient.

The Daily Express puts it succinctly: ‘Butt out, Pelosi!’ and ‘Stay out of it, Joe!’ .

1 comment:

Paddington said...

I was in graduate school at Kent State in 1981, when a student from Trinity College, Dublin, asked me to go to an Irish bar in Cleveland with him.

Given my English accent and the strong support for the IRA in some circles here, I declined.