Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Aleppo: chickens come home to roost

Lifting words from Joe LM, "What is killing more people than any individual actor in the Syrian war? The war itself. The only way to limit the death toll is by stopping the war. The only way to do that (for more than a few days of negotiated ceasefire) is if one side convincingly wins and if that side has the means to govern effectively.

As it stands, the only group that could fulfill both of these criteria is Assad and his forces. The rebels (who are mostly made up of Al-Qaeda fighters at this stage) don't have the means to govern the country and prevent a split and another civil war (like in Libya) even if you accept that most of them are moderate Syrians (which they aren't). It's necessary, for the reduction of harm, that Assad wins this war now. There's no other option, and the sooner it happens, the better".

I couldn't agree more. Some ask why we didn't intervene sooner. We could have done something, maybe. But then there was no mandate for entering another ME war after losing in Afghanistan and and Iraq. We squandered our political capital at home and abroad. There was no guarantee we would not have made it worse and then we would have been blamed for yet another ME disaster. The fact is we have lost our ability to mount an effective foreign policy and subsequently to wage military interventions.

Behind that is the political dysfunction which lost the Iraq war. It is that same dysfunction that sees the entire political apparatus completely at sixes and sevens over Brexit without the first clue how to even navigate the basic terminology.

Our parliamentary system is broken because conformity is prized over knowledge and political advisers are now grubby ambitious underlings climbing their way up the greasy pole who delegate research to interns so they can go hobnobbing round the clubs of Westminster looking for their next step up the ladder.

It kills the feedback mechanism and centres all political thinking to a very narrow class who all know each other and live in the same squalid little social circle and exists in a reality of its own, never tempered by knowledge or emotional maturity.

The moment we made politics a career option whereby a PPE degree and the right unpaid internship was a door to a career in Westminster was the moment we excluded any real expertise from politics, and thanks to a media which no longer seeks out expertise and instead uses all purpose talking heads, the public no longer knows the difference either.

The resultant wail of anguish is one from a politically immature bubble who are now aghast at the consequences of their own policy neglect. They assume we can cede foreign policy to Brussels, trim down our diplomatic corps and prune our forces to nothing and still expect we can wield influence and project power. They then demand we take action, after we vacated the field for Russia some time ago, without any acknowledgement (or knowledge) of what the implications of that are.

This is the kind of political stupidity that will ultimately be the cause of the next major war. For our own safety we need to break up our parliamentary system and tear it away from the London bubble. As is they are going to make a serious pigs ear of Brexit which is bad enough, but if foreign policy continues like this then all we will do is count our dead.

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