The debate about bombing Syria is, in part, about the shock-and-awe policy of politics: most of us remember the shock-and-awe blitzkrieg unleashed over Baghdad as a curtain raiser to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Shock-and-awe, known in military parlance as Rapid Dominance, is a doctrine developed at The National Defense University of the United States in1996.
You're watching TV and a fundraising appeal for Syria comes on. There are shocking images and no one can deny the serious needs of the men, women and children on the screen. But you don't reach for your debit card at the end. Something in you has not been moved quite as much as when you saw such an appeal for the tsunami victims in 2004.
The depth of intelligence and information on the chemical attacks that have been released underlines a stark contrast with the 1920s when, for instance, there were no satellites and modern communications. There is also a clear contrast in the intelligence evidence that has been assembled compared to that about Iraq a decade ago.
Last Thursday, the House of Commons defeated the government motion to use force '"if necessary" by 285 votes to 272 in light of the government's belief that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against its own people. From across the political spectrum, yesterday was heralded as a wonderful day for parliament.
Earlier this week, the United Nations declared Syria's refugee crisis the 'humanitarian calamity' of the century. Every day, roughly 5,000 refugees flee Syria with little more than the clothes on their backs. The number of Syrians who have left their war-ravaged country has risen to more than two million. A year ago, that number was 230,671.
As the leaders of the world's twenty most powerful nations are flocking to St Petersburg, the UK's international development secretary, Justine Greening, made a valiant effort to reduce the toxic political fallout of her prime minister's fiasco over British policy vis-à-vis Syria this week - and perhaps also to save her own skin after failing to vote for the government's motion.
During the summit, leaders of the 20 largest economies have a golden opportunity to work together and find a political solution to the crisis. Military intervention is not the answer, and risks making the lives of ordinary Syrian families worse and failing to stop the bloodshed. If the G20 is serious about giving these families a hopeful future, they should be focused on bringing all the parties in Syria to the table to find a peaceful solution.
The coalition of the willing done a good job of creating just the opposite, seemingly. Large majorities in both the UK and US still do not support attacking Syria, and it is those most passionate about politics who seem to most object. For the antiwar left, any use of force by the West is neo-imperialism and repeats the mistakes of ten years ago...
Feeling quite nostalgic? Feel like we have been here before? You should. In the past few days, a divided US Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved an authorization of a military intervention against the Syrian government, creating a mixture of showdowns as exciting as the new series of the X Factor.