Simplistic Equals Wrong – Guardian piece by Ian Birrell on responses to Foley’s brutal murder.
Just a riff of connected thoughts arising. That article is dead right – we need to maintain consistent foreign policy, and that’s complicated with the sway of political terms and public opinion in “the west”.
The recent history of the Gulf / Iraq / Afghanistan wars, followed by those arising from the Arab Spring, like Libya, meant that by the time Syria came along we’d lost appetite for considered intervention. “No boots on the ground” or “no military force” became a dogma rather than a considered conclusion based on long-term policies. So now that Israel Palestine reignites, Ukraine / Russia and Syria becomes ISIS in Syria and Iraq our foreign policy is on the back foot. (Made worse in the UK by discontinuity in the FO itself and divisive diversions of UK / Scotland and UK / EU, rather than strengthening of international collaborations.)
These conflicts are all connected, and connected on many levels and issues. If we don’t follow policy that actually reflects them all – their continuity and all their complexity – we have little hope of achieving stable positive outcomes. Into the vacuum flows simplistic “Islamic Caliphate for Dummies” – brutal, evil, wrong. We can do better.
(I say “the west” but of course the other Arab nations and much more also need to align concensus long-term policies more honestly rather than short-term opportunistic stances.)