Saturday, 28 March 2015

Syria vote was one of Parliament's finest hours‏

This letter was submitted to the Financial Times on 26 March

 I was very surprised to see you including amongst the 'low points' of the Parliament that just ended the assertion that the MPs' vote against David Cameron's plan to bomb Syria's President Assad's assets [over his alleged use of chemical weapons]  was "damaging [to] Britain's standing in the world." ("Coalition defies predictions with celebration of five-year alliance," March 26).
I think the opposite is true. So does Ed Miliband, who said in Thursday night's interview with Jeremy Paxman, that he was absolutely right to stand up to pressures from the Obama administration in Washington DC, and scupper yet another US plan to militarily interfere in a middle east state.
Miliband learned from Tony Blair's New Labour's disastrous support of US President George W. Bush in invading Iraq, and David Cameron's  military adventure in Libya, which  has created a chaotic, highly unstable and very dangerous failed state, albeit having removed demotic dictator, with whom Blair had made pragmatic friends.
Had the UK joined the US in bombing Syria, it is  highly likely Assad would have fallen, Syria would have descended into total chaos like Libya and Iraq, and ISIS fanatics would now be established in Damascus, ruling over an even bigger so-called 'Islamic State'.
Moreover, the Miliband decision led to  diplomacy replacing bellicosity, as Assad was forced to agree to full chemical weapons disarmament under United Nations auspices, something backed by the wider international community.
I think credit  should be given to Ed Miliband for his perspicacity and  tough wisdom in facing down Cameron and Obama over this crucial issue; and to our outgoing MPs more widely for learning from history, and acting accordingly.

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