The Sensible Thing to Do in Syria
I’ve no doubt that being a world leader is far from being all that it’s cracked up to be. You are rarely praised and eternally criticised. I understand, from the point of view of historical political and military decision-making that there are reasons why it would be considered “appropriate” for the Western alliance to take military action against Syria.
I posted this article on my page recently and it covers the detail of a very complex situation as simply as perhaps it could be covered: 9 questions about Syria, from The Washington Post.
So I am clear that a) there is no way to end this conflict by conventional means in anything like the near future, and that b) any military attack by the US et al, is really just “a shot across the bow” for a regime that has supposedly used chemical weapons on its own people. I’m more than certain that President Obama understands all of this as well, and I’m very certain that his weighing up of these issues is a huge challenge and I doubt very much he takes it at all lightly.
HOWEVER, there has RARELY (if ever) been any military action taken in the world that produced anything that could be considered a “win”. We already know, there is no military action that can be taken that can positively alter the course of events in Syria. We can view military history over the last century and agree that there were one, maybe two, “justifiable” wars – World War II being first among them. I say “justifiable”, but there is no way we can say anyone “won” – 40 million dead does not constitute a “win”.
Opinion will always be divided around this kind of action, as to whether an able power should take action against a tyrant – of course it should – or whether war of any kind is heinous and no power should ever make a choice to take military action against another, even a tyrannical one – of course it shouldn’t. But when did we ever really give peace a chance? Really… tell me when we last did that?
It has been proven beyond any doubt whatsoever that military action, military build-up, militarisation, military weaponisation… lead only to one thing: more of the same. And in the last century, “more of the same” has taken us to the point of annihilisation more than once, and it seems possible it may even have killed more in battle than all previous centuries put together. If not, then surely it would have been too close to argue too much about.
It does go against the grain not to stand up to bullies, though. I do see the challenge. I don’t wish to deny there is one. But somehow, it feels like it’s time to really and truly GIVE PEACE A CHANCE. If not now, when? After all, it’s the only option we’ve never really tried. And whilst I know it’s going to sound cliched, I’ve come to the conclusion that it really does start with me. If I practise peace, well… that has power. Peace has power. It may well be infectious even.
Remember when the Berlin wall came down? I do. I remember thinking what an impossibility that seemed. I remember being so totally amazed that the world had done such a massive turn-around from a decades-long (and very frightening at times) Cold War, to the end of that era. And aside from the conciliatory actions of President Bush Snr and Mikhail Gorbachev and even Richard Nixon’s foray into China years before that, all of which slowly changed the relationships between east and west; what really happened was that PEOPLE decided enough was enough. There was a mood change in the world, and action was taken that further changed that mood.
People change things. Not presidents or tyrants, but people. And they can do it for better or for worse. It begins with you and me, and I for one insist: NO MORE WAR. Give Peace a Chance.