Friday, 27 February 2015

On Interventionist Foreign Policy

Interventionist Foreign Policy does throw up some interesting situations, where ‘interesting’ sadly often means ‘bloody awful’. The West has contempt for Assad's government in Syria, where initially any insurgency against him was thought by many politicians to be the lesser of two evils. Similarly in 2003 Blair and Bush thought they were making Iraq a better place by removing Saddam, but over a decade later the country is now overrun with Islamic fanatics who make Saddam’s Ba’athist regime seem like the lesser of two evils.

Islamic State was, of course, one of the insurgency groups against Assad’s regime in Syria. Now they’ve seized lots of Iraqi territory, and regularly slaughter innocent people in front of cameras. And if you want to go further back you may also recall that our enemies in Afghanistan were once our allies against the Soviet Union.

The wisdom of all this is that our foreign policy has to be based not just on the present but on our past legacies and on future forecasts too. It’s not too difficult these days to consider military intervention against a government or group that was once our ally against some other government or group we disliked. Equally it’s not too difficult these days to consider military intervention against a government or group that will one day be our allies, just as we regularly consider that current allies may well be enemies in the future.

Consequently, in order for our foreign policy to be prudent, politicians must correctly ascertain which governments or groups are going to be our enemies and which are going to be our allies henceforward, otherwise they may get into wars trying to defend Iraq (Japan) from Iran (China), and soon find out that Iran (China) are very useful allies against ISIS (the Soviet Union).

 
* Photo courtesy of rackjite.com

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