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The new world order

August 30, 2013

Yesterday parliament reconvened in order to decide whether to lend military hardware to the growing humanitarian cataclysm growing in Syria. Thirteen votes marked an historical, polar shift in world politics when it was decided that the UK would not intercede.

Now, I am not an expert in politics or the intricacies of Islamic tribalism –Sunni and Shia Islamic sects acting out centuries of animosity, thus causing the deaths, injuries and displacement of countless individuals and families. But, regardless of the complex religious overtones, surely this conflict is more akin to the ethnic cleansing seen in Kosovo than the dictatorial rumblings of Iraq and the rhetoric of Afghanistan.

This said, the Syrian conflict has a darker, fundamentally diabolical thread, namely the use of chemical weapons. Such weapons are outlawed, illegal and go against the Geneva convention. Setting aside the conspiracy theorists who suggest that the rebels used gas against their own, this may or may not be accurate, the fact remains that gas was used.

Despite threats and protests by the UK, thirteen people voted against military intervention. But why?

In my view the answer is quite obvious, though unpalatable, and the results are widespread and fundamental. Despite being one of the five permanent members of the UN, the UK are terrified of the following:

Being entrenched in another Iraq or Afghanistan, despite the promise of “No boots on the ground.”
A vague attempt at following public opinion (an odd and malleable concept)
Afraid of something akin to the “dodgy dossier” that suggested an Iraqi missile attack was 45 minutes away.
Terrified to upset China and Russia.

All this is ironic and interesting. To be honest, I don’t really have an opinion either way, clearly there is no room in the annals of the 21st century for chemical warfare, for dictatorships and fundamentalism. But equally there is no room for the tyrants of Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Iran to name but a few. Not even mentioning China’s human right record!

So, this marks a massive shift in the world order. No longer does the US call the tune to which the UK marches. No longer do we punch above our weight, instead, and maybe this is h8mbling, we are made aware that we are no longer a world power, but a vague smudgy echo of an empire.

But now Russia and China call the shots and an over stretched US military must attempt to fill the void. But where is the rest of Europe? Where are the other Islamic states? The answer is, skint in the case of Europe, and silent in the case of neighbouring states.

We complain that the US is the world’s policemen – well, so what, either that or communism on a global scale.

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