1) We don’t have the money for such an adventure. Throwing our hands up and wailing ‘won’t somebody think of those poor Syrian children’ will not magic up the money, however worthy a cause it is. Our country and our economy are in the crapper. That is the fault of successive policies enacted by Labour and the coalition. There is a reality that we must face – we have no money as a nation, and that means we can no-longer afford to swagger around the international stage as if we’ve got balls the size of China and America. We cannot magic up hundreds of millions of pounds for an adventure. All we can do is put hundreds of millions on the state IOU that bears the names of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What about THOSE children?
2) The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Such were those guiding our ’interventions’ in Iraq and Afghanistan. Back then, we were railroaded into a timetable set out by the Americans, which is exactly what would have happened again without last night’s government defeat. A by-product of this sort of predetermined timetable is that it drives policy-based evidence making. Quite apart from the absence of any evidence ever emerging about Saddam’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, it has since been admitted all round that those events of 10-12 years ago were ill-considered and no viable medium to long term plans were considered before rushing to war. When Saddam fell, chaos ensued because no-one had a scooby what they should do next. In Afghanistan, where we are still fighting and dying 10 years on, it’s been admitted that we should have approached things differently and should have brought the Taliban into peace negotiations a long time ago, because they are – as many of us knew a long time ago – indefatigable. The only politicians who appear to have learned any of the lessons from last decade are the ones who voted against intervention last night.
3) By setting its face against the Assad regime, the west is getting into bed with Islamists who, as we know, are always rational and honourable chaps. These are the chaps who are likely to be backed by Saudi, Pakistani and Yemeni Islamists. Perhaps Hezbollah too. The west is also setting its face against the resourceful and benevolent (to Assad) Russians and Chinese. It has “backfire in your face”, “massive escalation courtesy of Putin & Beijing supplying weapons etc to Assad” and “will still be there in 2023” written all over it.
4) Feel free to correct me on any of the above, but while you’re doing so, please educate me about the last successful middle-eastern intervention we staged, because I’m not aware that there have been any.