If Northern Ireland can . . .

Paisley & McGuinnessBy Robert Silvey

If the warring clans of Northern Ireland can make peace and share power, if Serbians and Bosnians are no longer at each other’s throats, if the French and the Germans are partners in something they call a Union, why not Iraq?

Don’t talk to me of age-old conflicts, of blood vendettas, of irreconcilable religious differences. When enemies conclude that peace is more important than history, that life is more important than unilateral power, they bury their differences and create a new reality. There they are, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, grinning from ear to ear at the previously unthinkable prospect of belonging to the same government.

What would it take for that scene to happen in Baghdad? US troops must leave, without a doubt. Years must pass, almost certainly. Perhaps some non-American force must enter Iraq and begin to establish security—conceivably under UN auspices. But finally, the combatants must simply decide the carnage is not worth it. That’s when the process will really begin. Smiles all round.

[Cross-posted at Rubicon]

3 replies »

  1. I think the world will have to start electing leaders who are thinkers and stop electing leaders like Bush and Olmert who react then sometimes think. Maybe the events in Ireland today, will make people of the world pause and take notice that working together is very possible.

  2. While I well appreciate the history of the troubles, I’m looking at the religious issues in Iraq and thinking it would take doing everything perfectly for decades to have any hope at all.

  3. You may well be right, Sam. On the other hand, that’s just what people were saying about Northern Ireland until a very few years ago.

    Iraq would need some modicum of security, a reason for people to stay, a hope for a normal life