Saturday, August 31, 2013

The confused case for action in Syria

A couple of days ago I wrote a post expressing my sense that there was a lack of clarity over the nature of the action we were being asked to support in Syria. I have now found an article that lays that confusion bare much more elegantly than I could.

It is by Charli Carpenter on Foreign Affairs:
There are two distinct conversations going on about the legitimacy of the West’s expected military campaign against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. 
The first has to do with whether military action is an appropriate response to the wanton violation of a near-universally held norm - in this case, the taboo against the use of chemical weapons, which the Assad regime allegedly violated last week. 
The second centers on whether military action is an appropriate means for protecting civilian populations from atrocities (of whatever kind) committed by their governments. 
These conversations, although often conflated, have very little to do with one another, since each policy goal suggests a very different form of intervention.
And the Liberal Democrat response to Syria has embodied this conflation.

We were told by Nick Clegg that "This is not about boots on the ground. This is not about regime change."

Yet it is hard to see how the laptop warriors who dominated my Twitter timeline after the Commons vote could achieve what they wanted without boots on the ground or regime change.

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