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The Politics of Diplomacy

U.S. Presidents and the Northern Ireland Conflict, 1967-1998

James Cooper

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Investigates the involvement of presidents Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton in the Northern Ireland Troubles

  • What influence did the Irish dimension have upon Anglo-American relations?
  • Did the Special Relationship impact American and British handling of the ‘Troubles’?
  • What motivated American policymaking towards Northern Ireland?

These are just some of the questions dealt with in this fascinating account of Anglo-American relations and Northern Ireland. Developed through the prism of the U.S. presidency, and drawing on American, British, and Irish archival material, this major study examines the administrations of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, tracing the attitudes of successive US presidents towards, and their involvement in, the Northern Ireland conflict.


Author biography
1: The Johnson, Nixon and Ford administrations
2: The Carter administration
3: The Reagan and Bush administrations
4: The Clinton administration
Select Bibliography

About the Author

James Cooper is Senior Lecturer in History at Oxford Brookes University, UK. Previously he was the 20th Fulbright-Robertson Visiting Professor of British History at Westminster College, Missouri, USA, and Lecturer in Modern History at Aberystwyth University. In May 2016, Dr. Cooper was a Visiting Fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute.


In this sweeping new study, James Cooper shows how American policy towards Ireland from Presidents Kennedy to Obama has played a central role in both U.S. domestic and foreign policy for over a half century. Well-written and based on exhaustive multiarchival research, Cooper is the first to so thoroughly cover the subject. What emerges is a book that is essential reading for all students of the presidency and U.S.-Irish relations.

- Luke A. Nichter, Texas A&M University

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