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article imageOp-Ed: Syria, Britain, Obama and Stop-The-War

By Alexander Baron     Sep 8, 2013 in Politics
Barack Obama has come in for severe criticism for his announcement that he intends to intervene in Syria, but what else should he have done?
The West is tired of war, and so are the people of the Middle East, although in view of the murder and mayhem going on there at the moment, you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. The recent announcement that chemical weapons have been used - even though uncertainty remains about who used them - is the catalyst for US intervention. Whether it wants to be or not, America is still the world's policeman. So what did President Obama do? There were three things he could have done: announced immediate military action; refused point blank to intervene; or announce a delayed intervention. Obama elected to take the third of these options, but he said he would seek the consent of Congress first. Was that or was the not the really smart thing to do?
In effect he is saying to the Assad régime - desist or else. Assad would be wise to accept this ultimatum; although it is said there will be no boots on the ground, we really cannot afford to see yet another full scale onslaught.
Although America is a super-power, the question remains what should be Britain's role? According to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, we are now simply a small island. This prompted his British opposite David Cameron to launch into a jingoistic tirade.
Cameron is of course correct when he talks about the enormous contribution of this "small island" to the world. English is indeed the lingua franca of the known universe, and everyone from Shakespeare to Isaac Newton to Tim Berners-Lee have been gifted to the world by these islands - note the plural.
It is also true that the British once controlled the greatest empire in history, one on which the Sun never set. Alas, that is now all gone, the heritage remains and will remain as long as Man exists, but by the time of the totally unnecessary Falklands War, Britain was at best a 5th rate power. What are we now? A recent cartoon in the London freesheet Metro sums up both us and our bulldog spirited Prime Minister Call Me Dave.
We may laugh at this, but is it such a bad thing? The UK has a population of less than 65 million; the world's two largest countries by far are the rising super-power China, and India. Why don't we invite them to sort out Syria, indeed the whole Middle East?
Meanwhile, at home, the Stop-The-War Coalition is continuing to agitate against any intervention. Lindsay German appeared on BBC Television on August 28 to explain why.
A rally has also been organised in Central London for September 11. We can only hope that date does not turn out to be prophetic.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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