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By P. Neumann

Britain's lengthy conflict assesses the method of strategic swap 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 enormous variety of basic resources together with lately published cupboard papers, Peter Neumann analyzes the goals, technique 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

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As P. O’Malley once pointed out: ‘None of the parties to the conflict trusts Britain, and with good cause. ’91 The value system that has been outlined in this chapter is not static. It will therefore be of interest to find out how stringent certain ideas were implemented in particular periods of London’s engagement, and why some assumptions featured less prominently in the formulation of British government strategy than others. In fact, finding out how and in what way British strategic thought in relation to Northern Ireland has evolved in the course of the 1969–98 period is the main purpose of this study, and it will be pursued in the following chapters of this work.

In this regard, Unionist suspicions were bound to be fuelled by London’s ‘neutrality’ with regard to the province’s constitutional status as part of the United Kingdom. The military instrument: minimum force versus internal conflict The second element of the British government’s tradition in Northern Ireland, the military instrument, needs to be explained with reference to the postulate of ‘minimum force’ as well as four political and ideological challenges that have determined the actual ‘level of force’.

4 The Republican argument – whilst powerful at first sight – is far from compelling in its original context, namely, the history of the British Empire and Westminster’s motivations in its dissolution. The 1949 and 1951 documents were drawn up at a time when the British government assumed that it was possible to hold on to large parts of the Empire. Independence was granted only when the government believed it to be inevitable, and London was anxious to safeguard the economic and military interests of a Great Power.

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