In the new book “The British State and the Northern Ireland Crisis, 1969-73” (United States Institute of Peace), author William Beattie Smith traces the evolution of British policy in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 1973 and depicts how easily a conflict over national identity can turn into bloodshed. In four case studies of British policymaking, Smith goes beyond the traditional historical narrative to test hypotheses and systematically identify patterns that could recur under comparable conditions in other times and places.
 

For Immediate Release, May 16, 2011
Contact: Meg Pierannunzi, 202-429-4736
              Allison Sturma, 202-429-4725

(Washington)—In the new book The British State and the Northern Ireland Crisis, 1969-73 (United States Institute of Peace), author William Beattie Smith traces the evolution of British policy in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 1973 and depicts how easily a conflict over national identity can turn into bloodshed. In four case studies of British policymaking, Smith goes beyond the traditional historical narrative to test hypotheses and systematically identify patterns that could recur under comparable conditions in other times and places.

In each case, Smith highlights a discrete policy followed by the British government in tackling political disorder in Northern Ireland and examines why the policy was pursued. He outlines three broad strategic options—reform, coercion, and power-sharing— highlights policy missteps and successes, and provides a detailed historical account of how policy decisions affected levels of political violence.

"Perhaps the most important lesson of the book is that policymaking for conflict resolution needs to be evidence-based and self-aware," Smith states, "If an outside power intends to intervene in an internal conflict in a divided society, its policymakers should equip themselves with full and accurate background information and should have a scientific understanding of the preconditions for the conflict and the political worldviews of the organizations and ideologies on both sides."

While advocating caution in extrapolating lessons from Northern Ireland to other conflict regions, Smith derives strategic lessons from the British intervention in Northern Ireland, highlighting the importance of understanding local culture, accurate and timely intelligence, the integration of policies and operations across all government agencies, and the capacity to adapt quickly in response to events.

"Terminating a well-organized insurgency that has popular support requires not only military power and effective intelligence operations," states Smith, "but also political authority, a persuasive message, deep understanding, good coordination, sustained concentration, and a clear vision of both the current situation and an attainable peaceful future."

###



 

Related News

Bipartisan Group of National Security Experts Calls for New Approach to Preventing Extremism

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

News Type: Press Release

Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Washington, DC – A bipartisan group of senior national security experts today made an urgent appeal for the adoption of a new approach to preventing the rise and spread of extremism in the Sahel, Horn of Africa and the Near East. This new approach is set out in the congressionally mandated final report and recommendations of the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States, hosted by the United States Institute of Peace. The Task Force proposes a comprehensive preventive strategy to stop the spread of extremism that reorganizes U.S. efforts and pools international resources to support partners in fragile states in tackling the drivers of extremism.

Fragility & Resilience

USIP Convenes Inaugural Syria Study Group Meeting

Thursday, February 21, 2019

News Type: Press Release

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is pleased to announce it will convene the inaugural meeting of the Congressionally mandated bipartisan Syria Study Group (SSG) on February 28.

National Defense Strategy Commission Releases Its Review of 2018 National Defense Strategy

National Defense Strategy Commission Releases Its Review of 2018 National Defense Strategy

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

News Type: Press Release

The National Defense Strategy Commission (NDSC), a congressionally mandated panel charged with examining and making recommendations with respect to the national defense strategy for the United States and whose work has been facilitated by the United States Institute of Peace, released its final report on November 14, 2018.

Peace Teachers Program Announces 2018 Cohort

Peace Teachers Program Announces 2018 Cohort

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

News Type: Press Release

USIP has chosen Ryan Adams of Chelsea High School in Chelsea, AL; Casandra Bates of Centennial High School in Franklin, TN; JoAnne Bohl of West Central High School in Hartford, SD; and Jennifer O'Boyle of Klahowya Secondary School in Silverdale, WA, to participate in the 2018 Peace Teachers Program. Over the course of the next school year, they will receive training, resources, and support to strengthen their teaching of international conflict management and peacebuilding.

Education & Training

View All News