Soon after the UK government's announcement to send military forces to Syria, a number of 'Don't Bomb Syria' protests have been held across the country, including here in Manchester. As I have been travelling over the last few weeks, I have noticed similar gatherings in several cities as well. While protesters voice numerous reasons for their opposition against the decision, there is one in particular reason that I believe needs warrants repeated reiteration.
A group of radicals that assassinated more than 120 people is definitely not to be taken lightly. Those innocent individuals are worthy of much more than passive lethargy in reaction to this savagery. However, they are also owed far more than such abject carelessness.
A policy that sensibly learns from its past accomplishments and deficiencies, considers the lasting repercussions of its decisions, and prioritises the safety and security of its populations in the face of terrorism is the real answer to the terrorist endeavours, such as the latest horrendous attacks in Paris. The lure to swiftly wreak vengeance by sending bombs and airstrikes to Syria is, indeed, a careless decision that pays little attention to the possible costs they may yield. Undoubtedly, we need to learn to tone down our acrimony with reasoning.
Actions, directed by policy makers concentrated on short-term public opinion, are frequently impulsive and imprudent, particularly in the aftermath of atrocities. Reacting to pressure that 'we must respond', and swayed by rage and hatred, people take reckless reprisal, instead of undertaking a length of action through thoughtful consideration.
It cannot be doubted that justice must be swift, but it is important to first determine what justice is prior to engaging in actions.
The strife that broke out as part of the so-called 'Arab Revolution' did not have to escalate into carnage, causing the deaths of more than 100,000 individuals and resulting in the displacement of nearly 2 million more. Washington's attempts to aid the opposition have gone tremendously askew, since some have reaped the benefits of the US' erroneous training scheme. Even worse, several incursions on ISIS have unveiled a previously unknown unintended cost of Washington's military campaign in Iraq; the usage of American weaponry by ISIS.
It cannot be doubted that military interventions in the Middle East have significant costs that are barely ever projected. This is because the region's socio-political circumstances are naturally too complicated for policy makers in faraway lands to comprehend.
I would like to remind all countries involving themselves in not-really-their-businesses that they will be the principal targets for any groups. Moreover, the the stench of death will not escape their muzzles so long as they engage in military action, mock individuals some people hold dear, and aggrandise their war against certain faith communities and their attacks against innocent individuals with their jets and drones. No doubt this is a warning to all who want to exercise caution.
Indeed, the brutal attack in Paris should not have taken place. We all aware of ISIS' objectives. The more jets we send, the more insecure innocent people in the West will become. The more we restrict certain faith groups, the more likely it is we will see the same occurrences taking place again and again.
Western involvement in foreign lands kills innocent individuals, urging some to leave behind rational thought and support or participate in ISIS' endeavours. The number of likely volunteers is growing rapidly and, undeniably, the West continues to produce more. Neglecting to pay attention to the aforementioned caution will only bolster ISIS' footholds.
It is clear that our course of action should not be guided by hate and anger. More military campaigns will not make anyone more secure. Instead, it will result in more innocent deaths, help strengthen ideological backing for radical beliefs, legitimise brutal groups and, ultimately, lead to more blowbacks in the West and other places. Now is the time to move beyond long years of intervention in places we should not be meddling and towards a new type of foreign policy steered by thoughtful consideration, apprehension and self-control.