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The British Response to American Interest in Northern Ireland, 1976–79

Luke Devoy
Irish Studies in International Affairs
Vol. 25 (2014), pp. 221-238
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
DOI: 10.3318/isia.2014.25.1
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3318/isia.2014.25.1
Page Count: 18
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The British Response to American Interest in Northern Ireland, 1976–79
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Abstract

ABSTRACT While much has been written about Bill Clinton's involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process, the same cannot be said for earlier American interest in the region. In particular, it is revealing to investigate the British reaction to such interest, as this is the reason so frequently given for American reluctance to intervene. This study seeks to understand the true dynamics of the Anglo-American relationship where Northern Ireland was concerned during the Carter period. It finds that the growing American role in the conflict was reluctantly accepted in London and had the capacity to shift British policy. While not without influence, Britain struggled to contain the American dimension as demonstrated by the State Department's ban on arms sales to the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Ultimately, this meant that the looming threat of Northern Ireland as an issue in the presidential election had a decisive impact on British policy.

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