Saturday, 5 December 2015

ConservativeHome| Daniel Hamilton: After the Syria vote, liberal intervention is back – or should be. We need global engagement.

ConservativeHome| Daniel Hamilton: After the Syria vote, liberal intervention is back – or should be. We need global engagement.


"Encouragingly, Commons support for extending the airstrikes already underway against ISIS in Iraq to Syria has been achieved without the repeated fetishisation of the need to secure United Nations (UN) “approval” that many in the Labour Party appear to see as a pre-requisite to any form of foreign policy interventionism. While the support of the UN is always preferable in respect of any military engagement, its structures lack the nimbleness required to allow human rights-based democracies such as the UK to take steps to protect both their national security and that of states such as Iraq whose territory is under siege from ISIS operatives. The “legitimacy” of the United Kingdom’s foreign and military policy decisions need not be drawn from an international body but rather from appropriate debate and scrutiny in Parliament. Wednesday night’s vote proved that.

There is, however, a crucial role that international bodies such as the UN must now play in Syria: planning for a country that is free of both ISIS and Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Blair’s lack of a clear strategy to stabilise post- Ba’athist Iraq only served to prolonged the presence of troops on the ground – driving up casualty rates and infuriating public opinion. The UK, U.S and France must now work with the UN and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to fashion a clear plan for the future functioning of the Syrian state, including the federalisation of government structures and protections for minorities.

When considering the issue of military action in Syria, another key consideration must be that of discharging our obligation to support allies like France – both in formal bodies such as NATO or the unshakable cultural norms of pluralism and human rights – in their hour of need."

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