Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The one phrase you probably haven't heard being thrown about much in the debate on whether to intervene in Syria.


So, we want to topple a nasty secular dictator we know, who is locked in a struggle with Al Qaeda-linked terrorist 'rebels', confident that we'll manage to turn the place into Switzerland.

How'd that work out last time? Not so hot, as I wrote about at the time.

How's it going now? You've stopped hearing about it, but that's just because the west has a short attention span.

From a randomly-chosen item in the first couple of hits when I type 'news Libya' into google:
"We all thought Libya had moved on – it has, but into lawlessness and ruin"
Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi
A little under two years ago, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, urged British businessmen to begin “packing their suitcases” and to fly to Libya to share in the reconstruction of the country and exploit an anticipated boom in natural resources.
Yet now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.
Well that's just grand.

No, really, things will work out much better this time. Trust us! From the producers who brought you 'The Arab Spring'.

Fortunately, common sense seems to be slowly breaking out this time around.

It started in Britain:
British Prime Minister David Cameron loses parliamentary vote on Syrian military strike
 But now it's catching on everywhere:
TONY Abbott: We’ve got a civil war going on in that benighted country between two pretty unsavoury sides. It’s not goodies versus baddies, it’s baddies versus baddies. And that is why it is very important that we don’t make a very difficult situation worse.
Look, the phrase 'baddies versus baddies' is definitely infelicitous, but the sentiment is certainly correct. (You could probably paste the same quote into most internal conflicts in the Middle East, if not most conflicts in the Middle East more generally). I personally prefer the Kissinger restatement of the same view about the Iran/Iraq war - 'It's a shame they can't both lose'.

Still, better crudely phrased realism than naive dross about dreams of freedom that winds up with thousands more in body bags.

When I said it's catching on everywhere, you can always rely on some people to refute the 'everywhere' part:
Sweden on Tuesday became the first European Union country to announce it will give asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply.
“All Syrian asylum seekers who apply for asylum in Sweden will get it,” Annie Hoernblad, the spokesperson for Sweden’s migration agency, told AFP.
Ha ha ha! "All"?

I don't think you've thought this through.

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