When the Twin Towers were struck by Al Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001 the world changed.
The impact of those explosions on the aspirations and capacity of the Provisional IRA will have been such a negligible part of that change that few will have noticed.
The Provos had one serious weapon for bringing British government minds into focus and that was their ability to trash a high rise building. They had done it at the Baltic Exchange, Bishopsgate, Canary Wharf and in Manchester city centre.
Following the attack on Manhattan, that weapon was unusable because its message would have changed to 'Look, we can do it too!'
The Provos were in the minor demolition league and no future bomb of the kind they were now specialising in would have escaped the comparison.
On that day, US envoy Richard Haass was in Dublin for a meeting with the Irish Government. Jeffrey Donaldson was in the skies over the Atlantic, about to be re-routed.
Both were trying to influence negotiations on deadlocked decommissioning pitched at getting the Northern Ireland Executive restored.
The superbly diplomatic chair of the peace talks, George Mitchell, was still refusing to say who had interpreted the Agreement correctly, the Unionists of David Trimble, who said it obliged Sinn Fein to secure IRA decommissioning, or Sinn Fein, who said it didn't.
As before, the way forward would be through what Mitchell called 'non specificity', what others called 'creative ambiguity' or 'fudge'.
There was nothing ambiguous about two towers collapsing in New York City, the inevitability of war and the clarity of understanding in American minds that the new evil stalking the world was terrorism.
So those who wanted to deal with Americans - and Sinn Fein did - would have to be very clear that terrorism was now something that they regarded as evil too. The language around this was simple. George W Bush, the President, said that those who were not with the US were against it.
Irish America, much of which had indulged the romantic fantasy that the IRA had been fighting a noble freedom struggle, now had to reconsider whether, by its own logic, bombing city streets was legitimate for some but not for others and declined to make the leap.
Gerry Adams understood that his movement had to be on the side of those who opposed terrorism or it would be extinct and his call, six weeks later for a 'groundbreaking' move by the IRA was followed by the first decommissioning move.Later, the Provisionals would find more room to equivocate and procrastinate, but they had very little of it that autumn of 2001.
One of the reasons that Irish America had been so moved by September 11 was that so many Irish people had died in the Al Qaeda attacks.
If the crisis would simplify its thinking on terrorism, now that violence was hitting home, it was because Irish people themselves were now suffering more and were at greater risk than during the Troubles themselves.
The streets of Belfast might be safer for Irish people now but the world wasn't.
It was plain in the recent documentaries about the families of victims, that many had Irish names; some were first generation migrants with families back here feeling their loss deeply.
If a flight out of Dublin had blown up over the Atlantic, the extent to which this had been an Irish calamity would have been much the same.
And the danger was growing. But for 9/11 there would have been no invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq, and many of those who would have been at risk here, had the Troubles resumed, were now facing greater threats over there.
Added to that, Irish security men, aid workers, volunteers and journalists have been killed or kidnapped in both war zones.
These include Margaret Hassan, kidnapped and murdered in Baghdad in 2004, and Stewart Murray, a security man from Ballykelly, killed in Kabul just four weeks ago.
There is no tally being taken of the Irish or Northern Irish who have died as a consequence of the wars and terrorism that followed 9/11, but it is possibly greater than the numbers who were dying in the routine Troubles of the '80s and '90s, though perhaps it isn't decent to categorise the dead as Irish or non-Irish anyway.
Those people have been part of a global experience.
One of the lesser effects of Bin Laden's attacks on the US eight years ago was that most of our own home-grown bombers decided that the last thing they needed was to be seen as comparable to him.
Given that the world is now a more dangerous place for all of us, it seems a small thing to celebrate.