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Sunday, 15 September 2013
British Parliament's Decision Not To Attack Syria: Wrong Timing? Wrong Decision?
With it depending on what voters think at voting time — not before not after — voting results can be different than what even experts mesmerise us with. Almost tracing that, British Parliament decided not to strike Syria following latter's alleged use of chemical weapons. While many shared the surprise of Cameron, Osborne even added the need for 'national soul-searching'. Although wrong timing can answer this surprising result, more is required to answer the rights and the wrongs of the decision
Forgetting the surprise of voters electing him again, asserting 'I am the leader', misleading UK and taking it to war against Iraq, Tony Blair gave himself (D. Tutu said that he should be tried for genocide) and his country a bad name. He, in fact, lessened trust on intelligence gathering and leadership too.
Although the reality of unwritten deal with Miliband and latter's alleged betrayal by whipping his MPs isn't clear, fear of a 'second Iraq' making Cameron go for people's verdict through parliament is. With Hague trumpeting war cry like Obama, Cameron's confidence before the vote and shock after the result is equally so. Blair-Bush Syndrome causing less trust in the ruler and state's intelligence report is also clear. Strangely, unlike uniting the split 'ruled' in Syria, Assad has managed to split the united rulers here.
But then, irrespective of Miliband's role, why did this government with majority MPs lose?
The simple answer to that is its timing was not right.
It's not that Cameron alone was stung by the Iraq saga, all representatives were. With the lack of trust on leader infectiously transferring from Blair to Cameron, and that on evidence transferring from Bush to Obama, voting before the UN report was at the wrong time. Although Syrian conflict is complicated and decision to hit it isn't straightforward, if voting was done after UN inspectors found the evidence, the result probably would have been different. And even if Russia vetoed in Security Council, 'We can't just let this tragedy continue' or 'last option' would certainly have changed the result. General Assembly's yes would even not need one. Timing, therefore, wasn't right, not the concept.
WAS THE DECISION RIGHT?
The answer isn't easy and needs a discussion.
With goods production and services going to Asia (outsourcing), Internet trade closing town centre shops, banker's misbehaviour having to be supported by denizens, corporate evading tax and American culture draining NHS, UK's economy isn't brilliant. In addition, national debt is high. Consequently, while Army gets a budget cut, NHS faces hospital mergers.
In addition, although Tony Blair is gone, bad name given by him hasn't. Furthermore, while equally developed countries like Japan and Switzerland aren't vociferous, even if active Putin's opposition and triangular nature of the conflict leading to chronic war aren't comforting. Consequently, the 'NO' to strike suddenly looks so right.
However, although Putin isn't wrong in saying UK is a small country which incidentally matches the wordings of anti-immigrant groups in UK, its history, character and exports aren't small. Having ruled an empire in which sun never set, producing Pax Britannica till Pax America took over and actively helping in the making of UN, its history is big. With its monarchy still heading the commonwealth and commanding world fame, top universities attracting students from afar, having opinions on world events and exporting TV programmes and research products to the world, its influence is great even now.
Again, having come from being the 'most favoured nation of USA with which it voiced concerns on world affairs - almost as a single soul, the latter cosying up with France which would retort 'Excuse my English' to it's 'Excuse my French', hasn't brought goodies either— the other woman syndrome.
Although like Libya, Syria doesn't have petrol to make the West crazy, it has suffering — death, destruction, displacement, defloration and deformity — that tragically looks endless. In addition, unlike Israel's rumoured Atom Bomb, its violation of UN rule through use of chemical weapons (not yet confirmed) that causes almost all distresses to Syrians is also causing emotional distress to the rest of the world.
Although it's a battle between the rulers and the ruled, it's the division of the latter into Islamic extremists and the rest that makes the West fearful of involvement. In fact, with the common enemy Assad, alone uniting the two and converting triangular resentment to binary, even if the rebels win, through aid, a second fight between the later two is certain.
Furthermore, while certainty of facing life incarceration through Hague's court makes Assad go for do or die, past and present compulsions make the East support him (love to know what Russians and Chinese thinkers think). However, though that's clear, knowing Western compulsion yet Assad using chemical weapons and inviting Western wrath when he is edging towards victory isn't. No wonder conspiracy theories abound; Mr Galloway has his views.
Even then, like in Libya, although striking Assad's hardware and chemicals is a relatively safe option, him moving those to the residential areas could cause civilian deaths.
While this itself makes a decision uneasy, possibility of Russia blocking Security Council vote makes it even harder. If that happens, a bemused world then can be saved by voting in the general assembly. But when that's done, the West's 'International community' will sound so true; resolve so definite and solution so near. That decision couldn't be wrong.
For now, with Obama going for it and even France possibly following suit, parliamentary vote — suppressed by Blair and Bush — is emerging as a political philosophy. And its export from UK to USA like Teletubbies, X-factor, etc, suddenly reverses the puddle game played by Blair, and brings symbolic 'world leader' back. That at least could give some satisfaction to Cameron.