The Liberal Peace at Home and Abroad: Northern Ireland and Liberal Internationalism



Northern Ireland, we are told, holds positive lessons for other societies emerging from violent conflict. As Britain is one of the leading proponents of liberal internationalism, this article considers whether the liberal internationalism pushed with so much enthusiasm abroad through British foreign policy has been applied with diligence at home—in the Northern Ireland peace process. The findings suggest that Northern Ireland is by no means a poster child for liberal internationalism. Instead, British government handling of the Northern Ireland peace process shows serious deviations from the liberal internationalist canon. This article argues that liberal peace-lite has been tolerated and facilitated at home, while a stricter variant is often expected in overseas contexts.