Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kennedy's Legacy In Ireland

During the eight years of the Bush administration, we heard Democrats and their acolytes in the media exclaim at least 20 billion times about how Bush's foreign policy was making enemies and harming the USA's image abroad.

So let's take a look at how the late Teddy Kennedy, darling of the left, was perceived by unionists in Northern Ireland. From Ruth Dudley Edwards:

Kennedy was a formidable and Machiavellian political operator in the U.S., but he was no friend of Britain. In fact, he was one of our most committed and unrelenting enemies on Capitol Hill.
In his anti-British sentiments, he took after his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, who was unable to hide his bigoted views during a shameful spell as U.S. ambassador to Great Britain.
Ted did his father proud. As a politician dependent on Irish-American votes, this master of empty rhetoric had no scruples about spreading the bitter message of Irish republicanism, especially if there was an election at stake.

Indeed, his pro-republican record was unblemished, though he was never in favour of violence. When Northern Ireland descended into violence, it was Kennedy who, in 1971, gave aid and comfort to the IRA by comparing British attempts to prevent civil war with the U.S. invasion of Vietnam.
He, like the IRA, supported the republican Troops Out movement, and demanded that Ulster Protestants opposed to a united Ireland should 'go back to Britain'.
He also blamed the 1981 hunger strikes on the 'insensitivity' of the Thatcher government rather than cynical republican leaders sacrificing prisoners for electoral advantage.

From Alex Kane:

What will history make of Edward, particularly his views on Ireland? Well, he was very much opposed to the existence of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom and endorsed, on many occasions, the Troops Out Movement. He was a hugely influential voice in Irish-American circles for decades and often spoke of "British violence and oppression in that part of Ireland they still occupy". It's hard not to believe that he was unaware that money raised at Irish-American events he spoke at was finding its way into Sinn Fein coffers and possibly to the IRA itself. And he was instrumental in securing a visa for Gerry Adams to travel to the United States.

Yet after a lifetime of promoting Irish unity and British withdrawal he ended up supporting the Belfast Agreement; an agreement that recognized the legitimacy of Northern Ireland, the constitutional rights of unionists, the ending of the Republic's constitutional claim and the requirement that the IRA decommission and stand down.

Yes, he played a part in the peace process, but he only played that part because he had made himself such a key player in the Irish-American support network that had politically and financially bankrolled an armed and ruthless terrorist organization in part of the United Kingdom.

For me, his very belated conversion to democratic reality doesn't counterbalance the decades of private and public support for organisations that both practiced and justified terrorism in another country. He represented the very worst type of political interference: the outsider perched on a self-made moral high-ground who didn't have to face the brutal consequences of his trans-Atlantic cheer-leading.

And in an email from Alice, an Irish unionist from Belfast:

I would dance on his grave


Anonymous said...

I'd even do an Irish jig!

Anonymous said...

Liam Neeson became an American citizen recently and stated "I will always remain a proud Irishman!}
An Irish -American has the Irish tag in front of the American because first and foremost Ireland is where their loyalty lies.Wake up to them other Americans!