About this book
Northern Ireland is currently enjoying a period of relative peace and
stability unprecedented for much of the past half century. Such stability is
the product of a variety of factors that has created conditions whereby
Northern Ireland now runs its own political institutions for the first time
since the early 1970s.
International relations and developments since the early 1980s have had a
key influence on the Northern Ireland process, and such external influences
require renewed attention in assessing the evolution of the Northern Ireland
conflict and the recent progress towards long-term peace.
Since the abrupt end of the Cold War in the early 1990s in particular, the
Northern Ireland dispute, along with many other inter-ethnic conflicts, has
felt the repercussions of such geo-political changes, both positive and
negative. In this context, many external states, forces and individuals have
wielded significant influence over Northern Ireland’s development.
The world's only remaining superpower, the USA, has particularly taken a
renewed interest in Northern Ireland, an interest bolstered by a President
with a genuine interest in the province. Other long-term external disputes
such as the Middle East conflict and South Africa’s advance from apartheid
have also been inter-linked with the Northern Ireland dispute. The European
Union has continued to evolve as a trans-national organisation, and has also
sought to influence the easing of sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland.
This book seeks to assess the overall impact that such global developments
have undoubtedly had on the Northern Ireland peace process, and attempts to
offer fresh interpretations of a complex element within that process.
Williams, B.A (Hons.), M.A
student, University of Liverpool.
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