Alex Massie

The American-led “Peace Process”?

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John F Burns is a great reporter, but did he really write this or did some sub-editor in New York alter his copy?

The relative prosperity that peace has brought, the respite from the anguished cycle of killings and revenge, has built a constituency for the power-sharing government in Belfast. That arrangement, which has worked awkwardly but steadily for 22 months, has given practical form to the reconciliation envisaged in the Good Friday agreement of 1998, which was brokered by the United States. [Emphasis added.]

Outside the Clinton family, no-one in their right mind can consider the Good Friday Agreement to have been "brokered" by Washington. Mr Burns, who is English, must know this. So how did this line appear in the "paper of record"?

Then again, the New York Times continues to write about Northern Irish politics as though it were a religious, rather than a political conflict. I once asked the paper's London Bureau Chief why the NYT  wrote of catholics and protestants, rather than Unionists and Nationalists. I was told that, essentially, that's how people in America "understand" the conflict. Of course, the fact that the country's most influential newspaper reported the matter as a religious divide may have had something to do with furthering that misunderstanding...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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