Sunday, 20 March 2011

March, the month to start Crusades ?

I don't consider myself a politically motivated individual, in fact apart from at home, I cant recall many conversations I have had about politics. That's not to say that I think "it" a Taboo subject and I know many people would avoid discussing "it" or religion.

So as I thought about the content of this blog post, I wondered if it would reflect me as a person correctly or the themes which my blog is often about. That said, in years to come, I would hope my blog will be more than just a string of humorous stories, so here goes..

It seems from history that March is a popular time for the western world to start, or become involved in conflict. As far back as March 1095 the first Crusade took war to the Middle East in the name of Christianity. March 1854 marked the start of the Crimean War. In more recent times NATO became involved in Yugoslavia on the 24th of March 1999. It is almost bizarre that the first Cruise Missiles fired on Iraq were sent on the 20th of March 2003 and here we are today again on the 20th of March 2011 as 120 Cruise missiles have been launched at Libya.

Our current Coalition government has been very keen to point out the errors of the former Labour party fighting an illegal war in Iraq. We have been told that this time, the UN had a valid mandate for action, supported by the League of Arab States, yet watching the news today I hear the leader of the said League has been outspoken against the West, for going further than the mandate allowed. Our politicians are being very careful to say that any action is to "enforce the will of the UN" which is of course made up of those very same politicians.

Perhaps I am getting cynical in thinking we didn't step in to Egypt, Bahrain, or any of the other recent Middle Eastern "revolutions" because they don't have any "black gold" wheras Libya does.
Perhaps I am getting cynical in wondering why so many world leaders have been photographed shaking hands with Colonel Gaddafi in recent years only to call him a tyrant now.


Perhaps I am getting cynical to think the weapons the Libyan State is using against its own people were probably bought from us.
And perhaps its just me that thinks it strange, that when David Cameron visited Egypt after their revolution he took a trade envoy of 9 weapons manufacturers ?
Or perhaps the word I am really looking for is Hypocrisy ?

Or then again, in my simple way, I just don't get diplomacy and world politics ?  I'm not of course suggesting that it is right that a man can repress and destroy those whom he should represent, I just struggle to see the Western Worlds justification for "cherry picking" the conflicts it chooses to get involved in, are we really defending the average Libyan or our own interests?

I don't have the answer to that last question, and I am not a conspiracy theorist that thinks there is some secret intent relating to starting wars in March. I'm just an everyday guy with a family, that wonders sometimes what are leaders are thinking.

Why we can afford a squadron on Typhoon fighters at £100million each but are cutting our NHS?
Why in a time of cuts, we can't afford to pay our policeman, but we can pay our army to police the world?
Why we can afford to fire 120 Cruise Missiles at an average cost of $1million each but we cant provide mosquito nets to African children?

In 1595 William Shakespeare wrote in King John

Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;
Threaten the threatener and outface the brow
Of bragging horror

Maybe this was the first written origin of using fire to fight fire, but maybe one day, we will all learn that we really cant fight Fire with Fire and not get burnt ourselves?

Or are these things just "Signs of the Times" ?


James said...

Interestingly we didn't get involved in Zimbabwe- a member of the commonwealth and as despotic regime as you'd find. Why? No oil... Maybe? I don't disagree with protecting people- but as you say cherry picking the conflicts seems a bit arbitrary. A thought provoking blog:) See you next Sunday!

RJR said...

Thanks for taking the time to read and reply in a reasoned manner James, If you found it thought provoking, I achieved my aim ! That was my aim as I don't have the answers just the questions :)

Samuel said...

There are many twist and turns this blog post could lead you down.
You have to ask yourself are we ever as well informed as we so often think we are.
With the intelligence forces of most of the developed world feeding back information to their leaders.
As we have seen over the past few hours and days the world of war and politics are surrounded with the smoke and mirrors of a well rehearsed magic trick. If this is for the safety of those involved or the workings of some other agenda we may never know unless we can peer into the souls of men to the motive that drives them and ultimately the military might of the world.
Divided the world faulters and when we are united for good we should stand.

RJR said...

Thanks for replying Samuel, you raise some very valid points, it is ever so hard to "peer into the souls" of those who lead us, but they will at some point in this life, or the next be accountable for their actions. Your last sentence contains profound wisdom.

James said...

I posted last night while watching Return of the Jedi last night- so I have a couple more minutes now.

I completely agree that money spent on missiles and the like would be better spent on medicines, famine relief, and even tuition fees:) However, just as each of these "better" endeavours are about the alleviating of suffering and the empowerment of those who find themeselves sick or hungry, I think that that those people who find themselves in bondage to despotic regimes, may aslo see the weapons as providing freedom alleviation of suffering.

However, I have an issue with the assumption that our form of government is the best form. It may not be suitable for every country and people. If the purpose of the engagement is to free people and alleviate suffering- all well and good. But what happens when Gadaffi is gone? Who will fill the power vacuum. I do think we have a moral responsibility to help- but it raises a question of where does it stop. There was a simialr despotic regime in Guatemala that the West supported. If we are to intervene, at least let's be consistent (your above point about Cherry picking).

I'm writing an article at the moment about the imperative to help others to the best (and perhaps end) of our ability. It will be assessing that suggestion from an LDS perspective- I'll wing it over when it's done.

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