Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Week the West Blinked



Two game changing events took place this week in world politics. firstly we saw UK MPs shamefully vote to rule out any military action in response to the genocide taking place in Syria, signaling the dawn of a new isolationist agenda in the UK. Then today President Obama addressed the world to climb down from his threat of an imminent missile strike on the Assad Regimes' key military assets and replaced it with a future vote in the US Congress to gain their support for any further action.

In one of the first major tests in the post Iraq and Afghanistan era, in the face of a cruel dictator unleashing chemical weapons on 14 occasions and just this week the dropping of napalm on one of his country's own schools the West has done the very thing we could not afford to do we have blinked.

David Cameron took his eye off the ball when it came to ensuring his whips were doing their jobs in making sure he had the numbers in parliament, the whips failed to see the small but present group of conservative MPs determined to push an isolationist ideological agenda at any cost, Ed Miliband turned this way and that way and by the close of play he had ended up at no way and today we heard the President of the USA facing the choice of unilateral strikes against Syria without the support of his closest ally the UK or a political climb down, instead he chose to pass the buck to his congress shirking his duty as commander in chief.

But the people who are clearly not blinking are the Assad Mafia (government is clearly not a fair description of them) and his allies Russia and China. Following President Obama's speech today we saw the artillery which had been silent since firing chemical weapons into the rebel held suburbs a week ago opening fire again in almost a gleeful celebration of Obama's live streamed backing off speech. We also heard earlier today Syria's biggest President Putin facing the cameras to condemn the words and allegations made by the USA about the regime making it very clear that there is no thawing of Western Russian relations on this issue. 

While all this goes on the people who are really the losers are the Syrian people, the children still dying due to the severe burns they received from a government napalm laced bomb and the families too scared to leave their homes worried about being shot for simply being out on the street. So far the focus of this debate has been around personalities, Cameron, Miliband and Obama a sign of the state of the political system we live with today. The debate that really needs to happen  is about people, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons no different to those living in the UK or the USA other than where luck had them born. People who are facing the cruelest circumstances with no end in sight and the use of Chemical Weapons which so far has gone unchallenged putting at risk people anywhere there is a dictator who may feel free to use such heinous tools to do his evil bidding now the lease of international pressure has been loosened.

On Friday I sat numb watching the vote in the UK and was very vocal in expressing how ashamed I was of my countries parliament but today I saw that shame turn to anger as the last bastion of hope for Syrian people the USA start to turn their backs on the people too. "Great leaders take on the burden of life and death when it is in the interest of their nation and the world", Despite seeing what had happened in the UK Obama has failed to live up to this maxim and has shown how many politicians in today's world are willing to pass the buck when it benefits them most.

Its time to keep our eyes wide open face up to the evil taking place in Syria and deliver a critical blow to the regime of terror that's in place there.

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