Interventionist policies from the west have failed in the Middle East. It’s time for the rest of the world to step up and offer non-military solutions
By Chandran Nair
Apr. 16. 2018
The past week has seemed like a bad rerun. For the third time in 15 years, western countries, led by the United States, have taken military action against a majority Muslim, Middle Eastern country. Support for intervention is not limited to the hard right: that Syria should be bombed was the mainstream view of the American foreign policy establishment, along with Britain and France.
Let us be clear that the use of chemical weapons is a horrific crime. But we do not know the full story of what happened in Douma; to say this is not to engage in conspiracy theories, but merely to admit that it has still been only a few days since the reports emerged. Yet there seems to be little interest among pro-interventionists in asking even basic questions, or in allowing the UN to lead an investigation. We have been here before with the lies that led to the Iraq war, but that precedent does not seem to deter western leaders as they seek yet again to rush to claim the moral high ground.
But if it is astounding that after failure in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, the west has chosen military intervention again, what is just as disappointing is that the rest of the world continues to turn a blind eye. It is time for non-western countries to recognise that by not getting proactively involved in international diplomatic efforts on these big issues, they relegate themselves to second-tier players, and allow western leaders to define what “appropriate” and “responsible” actions are.