Labour should oppose a Syrian intervention….

ImageIt looks like Britain is being shoehorned into another military sally, this time in Syria. Parliament is to be recalled on Thursday and the Cameron and Clegg double-act are to lead the three-ring circus in approving a strike following Bashar-Al-Assads use of chemical weapons. Incidentally, before we move on folks, isnt it so beautifully ironic to see Nick Clegg in this position? Another part of the Lib Dem soul is not so much chipped as hack-sawed away. 

Regular readers of this blog will know I don’t oppose intervention per se. By that I mean I don’t take the traditional left-wing position that all intervention is totally evil, I rather take the view that sometimes evil itself is sometimes a necessity and therefore have supported interventions in the past, (in Libya, principally). I think the traditional left-wing perspective, much like an awful lot of things, is simplistic and therefore potentially somewhat stupid on occasions. It is based on a world view that has barely taken a step forward since Lenin was running around (justly in his own particular case) damming Imperialsm; the highest stage of capitalism. 

In this case though, opposition to intervention is justified, not because the Al-Assad deserves anything less than to be a smoking ruin but because the whole enterprise is too risky in terms of the wider geo-political ramifications. This is unfortunate for the people of Syria who suffer under the yoke of Al-Assad but is the cold hard way these things have to be considered. The election of Hassan Rouhani in Iran has opened up the possibility for a process of reform to begin. If, however, Western jets take to Syrian skies this could imperial the progress being made in Iran. 

Meanwhile, it is only a matter of time before both Russia and China have to move beyond issuing ‘dire warnings’ and actually do something. Obviously, ‘doing something’ could eventually have fatal consequences for NATO especially which is effectively the living dead in any case. In short, the problem with embroiling ourselves in Syria directly (and by this I mean British and American jets in Syrian skies) is that the consequences would be totally uncontrollable. 

It is natural when seeing people in distress to respond to the interventionist argument, indeed, in many ways it is in many ways a good thing that people do, that they feel the impulse to end the distress of those suffering and are prepared to use whatever means to do it. However, this cant be the basis on which these decisions are made, they have to be made in the cold hard light of day, and in that, this government is taking a reckless course of action which Labour should do its duty as an opposition on Thursday and oppose. 


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About darrellgoodliffe


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