Beyond Doubt?

Syria continues to be the main story. Glad to see Putin has stepped up to it too. And, confirming Russia is not averse to supporting physical action, with UN processes, provided the case is “beyond doubt”.

Not forgetting what may be lost in translation, “beyond doubt” is not realistic, it’s scientistic (*). There needs to be a judgement based on what evidence can be trusted. Beyond reasonable (*) doubt surely. Talking of which, the Assad regime needs to do more, to take the chemical weapons seriously. If they deny direct intentional responsibility for the attack, they do need to be seen to act responsibly in addressing what actually happened. Denial is no case to be trusted, quite the opposite.

Despite juvenile incompetence of Cameron / Milliband, it’s good that western allies do establish their political case for authority to act – quite independent of specific plans to act.

It will be major progress (not just for Syria) if Putin genuinely tries to invoke UN here, and US recognise the value. Fingers crossed. I’m sure playing the hero fits Putin’s psyche to a tee. Go for it. [Update 9 Sept – as predicted … Russia taking the lead in getting the chemical weapons out of the equation – force and/or verification, UN needed, but initiative from Russia is as good as any.]

[(*) Scientistic because that’s my agenda, not war and politics. As the tag-line says, it’s about what we “know” and how we make and justify decisions to act, everywhere in life. Reasonable doubt and certainty are matters of human judgement (trust and faith) not science, not arithmetic of naive democracy. Jeez, heard another politician, a US representative, saying his opinion was based on the weight of opposition in his mailbag – forget the maths, use your moral judgement.]

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