Tuesday, 27 August 2013

the hand-wringing has to stop

says Tony Blair in The Times today (£). He is writing about Syria of course. Although the window of opportunity to achieve peace, stop the killing and prevent the various murderous death-lovers from dividing up the territory has long closed, largely because Barack Obama has been a TOTAL PUSSY, the line-ups of child body bags are embarrassing even him. Barack Obama is the leader of the free world. That phrase is rather unfashionable these days, but it is still true - perhaps more so, as during the Cold War, when half of Europe was under dictatorship, those dictatorships, while they locked up dissidents, told the world they were freedom-loving democrats. The likes of the Muslim Brotherhood, and worse, say no such thing. Osama bin Laden once said "We love death" and he spoke the truth. Tony Blair spoke of hand-wringing, but I haven't seen much of it. Indifference, yes. Hand-wringing is coming from people like me, I suppose, and I am powerless here. I have tried to test this notion on a few occasions recently, by raising the subject of the terrible slaughter in Syria with people who do not identify as political or interested in world affairs, and with whom I do not usually discuss such things. Without exception there has been a brief pause and then a change of subject. Almost pathological. What is going on here? It seems to indicate that a lot of people shut out what they know is happening, because, I suppose, they don't want to think about it, or feel guilty for doing and saying nothing. But they don't appear to articulate that to themselves. People who do articulate such things, often Americans, have been saying things like "This is not our war" - but even they have shut up a bit lately.

The excellent Terry Glavin puts it excellently:

"If NATO had leapt to this tremendous opportunity at the outset, Al Qaida's affiliates in Syria would have been smashed, Hezbollah would have been smashed, Assad would be gone and "the west" would have its best friend in the so-called Arab world, a new and embryonic democracy besides. Instead, more than 100,000 Syrians dead, Assad still in power and gassing his own people, Tehran is laughing at the U.S., Russia is ascendant, America is a laughing stock. A lovely new world, isn't it. "The tide of war is receding," as Obama likes to say."

The leadership of my adopted country of France, while it is f***ing up big time on retirement and the economy (another story) is saying, and in some cases doing, the right things internationally. Big up Francois Hollande. I might even card up for the Parti Socialiste again if this carries on. The UK is making the right noises. Even Angela Merkel has now said she would countenance action. Get in there. Do it now. The slaughter in Syria shames us all.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hate to have to make such a terrible comment, but I think that the lack of interest is because it is 'far away' 'over there' and 'we made a big mistake getting involved with over there with Iraq.'

It would be a different matter if it was happening in , say Germany...

Jane Griffiths said...

I don't think there is a lack of interest. I think there is an unwillingness to think about it - which I find psychologically interesting. The Iraq remark probably is what quite a lot of people think. It DID happen in Bosnia and in Kosovo. My beloved (and beloved of many Brits) island of Cyprus is not far off the Syrian coast.

Anonymous said...

Call it Arab spring /post-Iraq fatigue. We (ha! Not in my name, thank you) intervened in Iraq on rather dubious grounds. Then in Libya, whose leader had only a short time before been feted or at least tolerated by western leaders. Well, several thousand dead Iraqis later, and with lethal car bombs still killing many more every month, I personally find it hard to believe that life in that country is better for the average person, even if he or she can now vote. Libya and Tunisia are slowly falling into the hands of Islamists (don't hear so much about either of these countries at the moment, strangely enough), and as for Egypt, well, there's another Middle East humanitarian disaster (and since the tourists numbers will be collapsing, an economic one too).
Syria? A tragedy. But do I feel responsible? No, although I will donate to the Red Cross or similar. Will bombing help? I doubt it? Can I get worked up about it? No, sorry. Our concerns about intervening in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya didn't make a blind bit of difference to our countries' leaders. As Yeats put it, too long a sacrifice (of public trust) can make a stone of the heart.

Jane Griffiths said...

I'm interested in this remark, anonymous. What does it mean?
Our concerns about intervening in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya didn't make a blind bit of difference to our countries' leaders.

Anonymous said...

I think that the Bosnian/Kosovan action was absolutely right - however, I remain 100% convinced that people in good old Blighty are as inured to kids dying and suffering in Syria ( please also insert Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan - wherever is not in SHOOTING distance of the bloody Channel) as they are to seeing tv footage of starving kids in Africa with swollen bellies and flies all over their faces. THEY DO NOT CARE. THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED.THEY MAY WELL BE IN FRANCE, BUT EVILLY, NOT HERE!! The Syrian situation is NOT stopping 'our way of life' in Blighty ( whatever that means) and therefore, go hang. This attitude makes me sick and angry and ILL. I do not uphold it and it makes me deeply ashamed. But it is there and that is why we have what we have. DC is, actually, as far as I can see, determined on action. If I was in the House now, I would be voting with the Government.I did NOT vote with the Government on Iraq - even though it was MY Government.

Anonymous said...

What is happening in Syria is evil and needs intervention.
BUT it's a strange world. Arthur Scargill tried to usurp the government on behalf of the trade unions and was thoroughly condemned.
Then Lech Walesa did the same and was a hero!
L9

Anonymous said...

Sorry -Arthur Scargill and Lech Walesa have nothing in common (even with each othr really)with people murdering kids with chemical weaposn and then lining up their bodies in the street. NOTHING - do you hear me? NOTHING!!!!!

Anonymous said...


Just pointing out, Anon, that it is difficult for the average man to know what is really happening.
Sometimes rebels are goodies and sometimes the baddies. Did you really know which was which a few weeks ago?
Now that chemicals have been used (and that's not proven yet) it's a different story, and I did say that what is happening is evil.
L9