Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A small and insignificant island ...

Or a proud nation willing to stand as part of the international community to save lives and protect the weak?

This is what I'm being faced with today as I find that everyone has a view on Syria and as the government of our sceptred (or perhaps that should be septic) isle comes back early to discuss what measures they should take.

Having written on the responsibility to protect yesterday I have to say that people are just a little confused at the moment and for a number of reasons:

It's Not our Problem
I will deal with this more at the end of this scribble - but I have to say that (in my opinion) those who are content to see the images on their screens and consider what they see as nothing to do with them are in need of some social and moral education. How can anyone be unmoved by what they have seen and how anyone can shrug and dismiss it as that most invisible of all things, the 'someone else's problem' field is beyond me.

Regime Change
Can I point out that any nation, or confederation of nations, that enters another country's sovereign territory with the intention of removing its democratically elected leader (and/or government) is guilty of breaking international law. This is proscribed against in the Geneva and other conventions and is also found within international law as well - it is illegal.

When any conflict is enacted, it is the duty of both sides to do the very minimum in terms of taking life and reigning destruction down upon the enemy. The current attitude (as espoused this very morning by one of those passing me in the street) of 'slotting the B***s' and 'bombing the place to hell' is great on the big screen but it is neither legal, moral or effective.

Vote Winning
Here we are with a pretty much financially bankrupt country and we want to add to that label the term 'morally bankrupt' too? Nah - surely not even the weakest brained politician (and there's so many to choose from) can really believe that conflict is a vote-winner.

Right response
That's easy - the right response is to wait and see what the UN inspectors come up with following their assessment of the sites and warheads found in Syria. It would be wrong to believe the US intelligence (isn't that an oxymoron?) reports because to be honest that was what caused some of the issues surrounding Iraq - and whilst there were WMDs at some stage, what we have subsequently found in the reports was conjecture rather than fact - and that's not intelligent intelligence is it?

Back to Basics
The process is clear and obvious regarding Syria:

Political means which include dialogue and confrontation, sanction, embargo, trade, travel and other restrictions. When these measures have been attempted and exhausted then there is the final, military, response - peace-keeping forces.

Those who are calling for the rebels to be armed and supported are wrong (have the Americans and their 'arm our friends' follies taught us nothing) for, as the Bible tells us, there are two sides to every conflict and it's rarely a black and white affair.

Those who are saying that 'It's none of our business,' are also wrong because it is - morally and spiritually! Looking back at the Shoah (AKA the Nazi holocaust against the Jews), Rwanda, Kosovo, Darfur, Cambodia and many other places it is obvious that wicked people exist and act wickedly against those in the nations - and we must make 'never again' a reality, not some trite cliché.

Conflict has to be the last resort but the reality lies in the words of the old Latin motto:

'Si vis pacem, para bellum'*

Boots on the ground are the very final response - but we do need our government, and all the governments of the world (are you listening Russia?) to discuss at local level and bring that discussion to a global setting so that a consensus is reached and a balanced response made.

So are you praying - I know I am :-)


*'If you want peace, prepare for war'

1 comment:

Simon said...

It's great to hear you make a stand on this issue Vic and I think it's really important that people are outspoken on their views (which ever side they're on), since after all our politicians are supposed to be working for us and should hear what we have to say.

I myself am not yet convinced that military action against the Syrian government would be the morally correct position to take.

Having seen some of the images on the news myself I want to assure you that I am just as horrified as anybody by those atrocities and it is absolutely right that whoever is responsible is brought to account. The fact I am (currently) against western military intervention in no way means that I am 'content' or 'unmoved' by the kind of evil that has now been witnessed in Syria.

However, my hope and prayer is that whatever side of the debate people are standing on, they are not their because of an emotional response, however strong that may be, but because they have reasoned their way to that position logically and critically.

Let's ask some Biblical questions first. I understand, that in our secular West Christian morals will probably not be playing much of a part in our politicians decision making and that is a terrible shame, but they are to me, as a Christian, the most central foundations of the aguement. We have to remember, however emotionally charged we may be, that we are still absolutely dealing with the internal affairs of another nation. So with that in mind, I would ask at what point did God give America (or the UK) the right to police the rest of the world and to get involved in the internal affairs of another nation? What would be the Biblical support of this? Remember, we are not talking about personal relationships but rather inter-national relationships.

Also we can't avoid the practical ramifications of taking military action. The UN itself is divided. There are other countries in the region that support the Syrian regime that would almost certainly see any action the West takes as siding with the rebels which would put us at odds, probably dangerously so, against those countries. What other lives across that part of the world would be lost because of our intervention? Which of the other recent Westly interventions into other middle eastern countries affairs have gone smoothly? If they havn't, why would America be rushing in head first again without truly having any idea of what the consequenses might be? I keep hearing that it would just take a few cruise misiles to destory remaining chemical weapon stock piles and that would be the limit of our involvment. Can this be guarenteed? Of course not, because we all know this wouldn't be the case at all and even if it was what kind of new turmoils would the West be creating over there (in the middle east in general)? Do we even know? That region is so unpredictable how could we? What about Russia? They have a long standing allegiance to the Syrian government so are we really ready to stamp over them also? What will their reaction be? How do we know it won't escalate? I think these are questions that really need answers.