Syria-To Intervene?

When will we ever learn? What have we learnt over the last 20 years having intervened illegally in Iraq and slogged away in Afghanistan for what seems to be ostensibly little gain. Have we reduced the threat of terrorism in the West or increased it as a result of our actions? The USA has never been particularly renowned for its measured foreign policy but we in Britain have long prided ourselves on our ability to manoeuvre diplomatically through the pitfalls of world politics and find the best solution for us, which is actually the whole raison d’etre of the formulation of foreign policy and the subsequent action of our government. However for too long we have tied ourselves through successive governments of differing political hues to the coat tails of USA interests. How does this benefit the UK and our citizens? Because if it doesn’t should we be continuing to do it just through a false sense of loyalty and how much does the USA consider the UK when formulating policy for their foreign interests? There is a history very often obscured by the rhetoric of the USA’s involvement in wars and conflicts, which ignores their continuing isolationist stance unless it suits their interest.

The statement is that “the use of chemical weapons crosses a red line”
Obama and Cameron are speaking to each other to decide on a course of action and military intervention is not ruled out, parliament is recalled, even though all the advice from the knowledgeable pundits across the diplomatic, academic and military divide is “Go slower” think through the options and don’t be drawn into a knee-jerk reaction.
50% of the public in the latest poll do not want to intervene however unpalatable that may seem to them.
Perhaps we are tired of these young unstatesmanlike politicians and their gung-ho attitude towards world affairs, perhaps we are tired of war, particularly when it appears historically to achieve so little. Perhaps we are tired of the rhetoric from leaders who say and do different things. Perhaps we no longer trust them to make good judgments and get it right in our interests.

Assad is a dictator desperately trying to hold onto power against a civil unrest of different groups that we know very little about. We sat by and encouraged the ousting of a democratically elected head of state in Egypt because we didn’t like his politics resulting in an awful continuing civil war. This from democratically elected governments and espousers of the representative democratic process.
Iraq, despite all our efforts continues to slide into conflict and internal unrest.
Afghanistan, after our dialogue with the Taliban will probably revert to an Islamic state after our withdrawal.
We pontificate whilst Arab nations collectively stand by and say and do nothing. We intimidate the UN to act and gratuitously ignore them and now we contemplate military intervention in order to prevent the further use of chemical weapons domestically by Assad against his own people.
It maybe that as a result of our military action, Assad may discontinue his barbaric actions.
What do you think are the chances of that?
Or perhaps what we create is a wounded animal condemned to death, which cares nothing for the rest of humanity, save himself. How might he react?
Does he have the capability to strike randomly outside of his country’s borders and use his military might to leave the world mortified by his actions against domestic targets in Cyprus, USA targets in Turkey? What happens to the Egypt-Israeli Peace Pact? How will Israel respond if attacked when they have a strategic nuclear capability? If Israel is attacked what will be the West’s role?
Before we do anything governments must consider their primary role which is the safety and well being of the sovereign state and its citizens. Under international law a “Just War” is one which is embarked upon to defend the sovereign state. We would do well to consider that before embarking on any military intervention against Syria.
The undefined “War on Terror” first promulgated by Bush is not a carte blanche to police the world. Any response should be measured, calculated and consensual amongst all affected nation states, any other response maybe illegal and reckless in the extreme.

What is needed now is calm, measured leadership and dialogue.

Having written this prior to the parliamentary debate and then subsequently watched said debate my faith is somewhat restored in the democratic process. Cameron’s leadership of his party will now be seriously questioned before the next election due to his profound lack of judgement. Miliband grew in stature after a faltering start to resonate with gravitas and win the vote but the most celebrated should be the “Conservative 30”  who voted with their consciences and did not allow the whipping boys to prevent them standing up for what they believed in. Well done!!

Leadership is also about leading oneself.

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