We can, with our technology, our material and our enviable financial position, intervene on the right side. We can fight the aggressors, the fascists, and rescue Iraq from the scourge of Islamist violence. But this is only possible in coalition, in alliance. Leaving the Kurds to fight the Islamic State alone is immoral; abandoning Iraq is equally bad; and letting the United States shoulder the burdens of internationalism alone fails the very definition of the term.
When the history books come to be written, someone will doubtless compare the self-immolation of the Tunisian street-seller Mohamed Bouazizi on 17 December 2010, which sparked the wave of Arab uprisings, with the shot fired by the Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip that killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. Each was a single act that no one could have foreseen would lead to the appalling carnage that followed. And each reshaped the world, destroying great political powers and sowing the seeds for future instability.
The five things you need to know on Tuesday 22 July 2014... 1) MILIBAND TAKES ON THE ISRAELIS Ed Miliband hasn't had much to say about Israel's ...
Education secretary Michael Gove recently declared that all 20,000 primary and secondary schools in the UK, stating that this government 'will put the promotion of British values at the heart of what every school has to deliver for children'. But this raises several questions, most importantly: what actually are "British" values?
Everything from friendships to schools to art and love has been productized and marketized until we no longer have a ready language with which to describe or ascribe value that doesn't have a price. The philosopher Michael Sandel has written brilliantly and extensively on the subject, asking if there is anything left which we aren't willing to buy and sell. Safety? Justice? Freedom? Your children?
The Chancellor may feel he only needs to announce tiny symbolic policy moves, given the recovery the economy is finally enjoying. But the government has so much more to do, particularly on the "PIM" policy areas of planning, immigration and money, if he wants to improve the long-term prospects for the UK's economic wellbeing.
On Friday 6 September, David Cameron refuted a Russian official's summation that Britain was 'just a small island' by delivering a speech that reeked of a Gove-esque approach to popular history entwined with petulant patriotism. He seemed to cry out that "Britain's one of the bigger kids too, even if it wasn't allowed to go to war this time", calling upon the rhetoric of the past as if to prove Britain's place in the present world and reimagining it as it suited him.
Last night's remarkable scenes at Westminster will make precious little difference to the people of Syria. Cruise missiles will still fall on some carefully selected military sites in the coming days - the only difference will be that none of them will be British. The key question remains what it was before David Cameron's dramatic defeat in the House of Commons: what is the best policy to adopt in the light of the ever-increasing horror of the war in Syria?
Have you noticed how much those in power talk of learning lessons? The government, and Desperate Dave in particular, are forever boring on about lessons which must be learned. If a hospital in your neighbourhood is killing more people than cigarettes, someone will say that lessons must be learned, as though they are imparting some higher wisdom that would not have occurred to ordinary men and women.