I’ve smacked Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber more than a bit – and regret none of it – but the guy made sense on something this week, and I won’t be able to live with myself until I compliment him for it.
He suggested that President Bush not receive the Sinn Fein representative at the White House this St. Patrick’s Day.
If the government wants to send out the right signals it should go ahead and hold the function – but invite only representatives of those political parties that are committed exclusively to democratic politics. This may sound like diplomatic niceties – but it would send a quite powerful signal, and, I suspect, have a substantial chastening effect on a group of people who are in sore need of chastening.
Makes good sense to me.
And it’s timely. Here’s the Guardian today:
Sinn Féin was in crisis last night as another prominent member in the Irish republic was dragged into the multi-million pound IRA money-laundering investigation police say could connect republicans to the £26.5m Northern Bank robbery.
As the first of the seven people arrested in raids across Cork and Dublin this week appeared in court charged with IRA membership, a former Sinn Féin vice-president and one of the most well-connected bankers in the country was helping the police with their inquiries.
The depth of U.S. support for the IRA during the bloody 1980’s can’t be overstated.
And it’s a shameful thing.