Anton Goryunov writes from Damascus: The thing about conflicts is that each time one erupts, here or there, dozens if not more of other countries decide they need to interfere, to help sort them out, while actually making things worse. Like it’s happening now with Syria when its own government and the opposition are basically ignored by everyone, for the sake of posturing, scoring of political points and, let’s be honest about it, asset grabbing and regime change.
Western democracy-loving nations are leading this dangerous trend of getting involved in sorting out internal conflicts all over the world, citing their concerns for the state of human rights and freedom every time they start meddling in the affairs of others. And it looks odd, as these Western countries have loads of problems to solve themselves – it would be much better if they stuck to sorting out the mess at home rather than helping to create more of it abroad. (By the way, how does a political system with two parties that are no different from each other constitute a democracy? And how is a liberal democracy actually a democracy when it uses political correctness to suppress dissent?)
Mind you, these days more obvious dictators have also taken it upon themselves to make all sorts of noises and demand freedom for people in other parts of the world, even though they would be better off liberating their own folk for a change. I mean, how is it that such members of the Arab League like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Somalia and Sudan are demanding to intervene in Syria and liberate the people there from the clutches of the tyrant al-Assad? It looks and sounds bizarre, really. And it was similarly bizarre watching these same countries get all upset about that Mad Dog Gaddafi, suppressing an uprising against him and getting whacked for it as a result. Some conflict resolution, eh?
Anyway, the thing about conflicts within the borders of one nation is that the more countries get involved in sorting them out, the longer these conflicts last and the bloodier they become. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one example. It’s now difficult to say how many nations have been involved in helping to resolve it. And yet, it just wouldn’t go away and keeps dragging on. Even though it is crystal clear that the only people who can find the solution are the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves. But no, everyone is getting involved, even that punk Tony Blair, suggesting what to do and how to do it, throwing huge money at it. And still it just won’t go away.
The Balkans is another example. Half of the bloody world was at it, getting involved and saving the locals from ethnic cleansing conducted by the Serbs. And then it turned out that all sides were not exactly angels. But it was too late, as one dodgy peace plan after another was implemented, until it all ended in the bombing by NATO of Yugoslavia, removing Slobodan Milosevic and annexing Kosovo from Serbia. And now the Balkans are a powder keg that will blow up again one day, simply because too many countries have been involved in building a bright future for the locals.
Iraq is another example. The idea was that Saddam Hussein was suppressing his people and posing a danger to the rest of the world. And at some point the US and Britain simply couldn’t restrain themselves any more, feeling sorry for the poor Iraqis and anxious to protect the rest of the world as well, from a possible nuclear and chemical and biological attack by the monster. So a war was launched, on false pretences as it turned out, and a million dead Iraqis later another dictatorship emerged and the country is balancing on the verge of civil war and is in danger of splitting into three parts. Or maybe even more.
Afghanistan is still enjoying the fruits of foreign intervention and collective conflict resolution, but the funniest thing of all is that once everyone leave in 2014, proud of doing a tough job well, the very same Taliban, who were ousted in 2001, will be coming back, basically taking the whole situation back to square one.
The countries that embraced the Arab Spring are a classical example of how collective conflict resolution screws up every time, with Libya sinking into lawlessness after that intervention by NATO and the Arab League, and Egypt barely escaping Islamisation, after everyone deciding that President Hosni Mubarak was no longer suitable for the nation and that the Muslim Brotherhood was a better bet for democracy to triumph. Yemen is also getting a taste of some serious Islamic rule. And although Syria is still holding on, in the face of the international community drooling over an opportunity to tuck into another conflict, the way things are going the civil war there will last forever now.
The whole idea of resolving conflicts is to let the locals find solution themselves. But in our modern times too many politicians in too many countries seem to be tempted to get involved. If only to cover up their inability to sort out things at home. (Take Prime Minister David Cameron who likes to shed a tear about innocent civilian dying in Syria. During his shift in power around the same number of pensioners died from cold in the winter, afraid to switch on the heating. Should the outside world intervene to topple the Cameron regime?)
Soon we’ll have conflicts running everywhere. With everyone involved in them.