It seems truly a blessing from common sense and reason that the UK has stepped down from the dubious honour of being mired in another bloodbath. The horrible, inhumane mess that is the situation in Syria is not a place to exercise the damning saviour’s complex that is Western foreign policy.
Now I am definitely not a moral relativist. There are evil regimes and less evil regimes. There are objectively good philosophies and there are objectively evil philosophies. Even talking relatively, the immorality of the welfare state has nothing on the immorality of ethnic or religious cleansing. The freedoms we enjoy in secular democracies, although curtailed by statist socialism, are a Libertopia compared to Sharia law.
However, that does not justify trampling over the non-aggression principle to “bring democracy” and be the “world police” as Amercian neo-conservatives and their lackeys are doing. How well have they done so far in bringing freedom and democracy to the world? Recorded civilian deaths in Iraq number around 115,000 - 125,000. The numbers in Afganistan over the last 6 years have been more modest: just under 15,000 civilian deaths. Naturally, a significant proportion of these have been caused by the “bad guys”, but there’s no need to point fingers: the victims really don’t care.
It also seems that the American military-industrial complex has the memory of a goldfish, arming al-Qaeda-supporting rebel groups in Syria, just like it armed the Taliban in the 1980s. And now Barrack Obama, who was supposed to be so much better than the warmongering George W. Bush back in 2007, wants to play soldiers. This historical myopia stretches back further. American or American-led interventionism did a lot in the 20th century to save communist-friendly countries from themselves, with astoundingly awful results. And they were never inclined to help, for example, the freedom fighters in Soviet-occupied Lithuania in the 1950s, because the aggressor had nukes, and not just some AK-47s in the desert or elusive (imaginary) WMDs. Quick to intervene where the aggressor is much weaker, the “bringers of freedom” are, and slow to help people who actually ask for help.
Luckily, neither the British Parliament, nor, it looks like, the majority of the US Congress want another ridiculous war. Something of note is the ludicrous bipartisanship in America over this: when George W. Bush wanted war, Republicans were quick to support him, but now, more Democrats are pro-intervention. Let’s just hope that Vladimir Putin’s recent provocation will be ignored, as it should be.
Intervention only leads to more death, more misery, and more aggression, not to mention the growth of government. No one has a “God-given right” to save the world, and everyone’s heard the cliche about where good intentions lead. As Ron Paul has said, ” the idea that every conflict, every dictator, and every insurgency everywhere in the world is somehow critical to our national security <…> is the thinking of an empire, not a republic.” This is applicable to David Cameron as much as to Barrack Obama. Leave Syria be and focus on restoring liberties closer to home.