Saturday, 9 May 2015

Stopping the rush to war, pt 94

To take my mind off Labour's crushing defeat in the general election this week - I will be writing about that shortly - I was reminded perhaps one of the most lasting impacts of the Miliband leadership, and surely his only direct influence on foreign policy as party leader.

You will remember the Syria vote of 2013, when our former leader "stopped the rush to war" and scuppered a Tory move to assist with a no-fly zone, something which Barack Obama was apparently still sore about when they met briefly last year at the White House.

Instead, in a shabby and short-sighted move, Western leaders decided to opt for a chemical weapons inspection regime, a deal negotiated by - you've guessed it - Syria's ally, Vladimir Putin. A matter of months later, Putin was invading a neighbouring country, kicked out of the G8 and internationally vilified.

And, heavens, what have we here? Could it possibly that weapons still exist and Bashar Assad is giving the inspectors the run-around, just like Saddam Hussein before him? And that reportedly the non-compliance is with Russian connivance?

So, in short: 

Labour blocked a move to prevent genocide. 

In return for a weapons inspection deal which now turns out to be non-functional. 

Resulting, we presume, in the deaths of probably thousands of civilians as the weapons continue to be used?

I am sad that Labour lost on Thursday. But - and apologies if this sounds terribly disloyal - I am afraid that I am not sad that Ed Miliband will not now be in charge of British foreign policy.

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