It is easy to forget just how intractable the conflict in Northern Ireland once seemed. There was a time not long ago when The Troubles were on par with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of intensity and seeming hopelessness. I am not certain that the typical informed observer in, say, 1985, would have said that the Troubles would be settled first.
That is why stories such as this, in which the Real IRA threatens to resume the way of the bomb and the gun, are so galling. I am overwhelmingly sympathetic both to Catholic civil rights claims and Republican leanings in Northern Ireland. But I loathe the IRA and its Unionist counterparts. And there have been lots of hints of late that Trouble might be brewing in the Six Counties.