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In Fighting the IRA, the British Government Risks Creating More Violence

By South China Morning Post at 9:35 AM 5/31/2020 (PDT)

As Britain figures out how to combat the IRA (Irish Republican Army), their approaches seem incredibly violent for a home-grown resistance. The ministers have talked about anti-IRA propaganda, air strikes, killing the IRA leaders, mobilizing military and other forceful options to quell the IRA. We cannot talk about this issue without ignoring the violence that the IRA themselves have perpetuated. They have caused bombings, riots, assassinations, and killings. Yet, what the British government is debating to do is not much better.

By fighting these protestors with more violence, there is a chance that the riots turn even more violent as the IRA gets infuriated by the British government’s response. By giving the IRA fuel for more protests, the British government only stokes the fire. Beyond the ineffectiveness of their actions, the British government also risks alienating its citizens with its forceful tactics.

As citizens of a democracy, the British won’t look favorably on the military lining the streets or assassinations of opposing parties, regardless of if they are violent or not. They want their freedom, whether it be from military control or from the British government as a whole in the case of the IRA. The British government is standing on a slippery slope because if they use military force in this situation, they risk hurting innocents and creating memories of an oppressive government.

Instead of this approach, the British government should sit down with the IRA. Such talks have failed thus far and the fault lies in both parties. But using violence to combat violent protests so easily fails and when it does, it paints a bad picture of the government as well. Of course, getting these talks to happen isn’t easy. But democracy never is.

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