Principled Opposition Or Game Of Thrones?

For those of you who still hold to the myth that there is some meaningful distinction between a “conservative” or right-wing foreign policy and a “liberal” or leftist one, here’s something to think about:

In 2002, a Republican-controlled US government joined a Labour-controlled UK government to launch an unprovoked attack on Iraq, justifying the war with flimsy, perhaps even fabricated evidence of WMDs. They did so in the face of significant push-back from the Democratic and Tory oppositions.

Eleven years later, a Democratic-controlled US government and a Tory-controlled UK government seek to launch an unprovoked attack on Syria, justifying the war with similarly hasty claims. They appear ready to move forward in the face of significant push-back from the Republican and Labour oppositions.

I’d like to repeat a proposition I’ve made before, in spite of the likelihood that it will tick some of you off: the only bedrock principle guiding the foreign policy positions of most American (and many British) politicians is job security/advancement. They don’t give a rat’s whisker for the lives of American soldiers or innocent civilians, except to the extent that their constituents are likely to blame them. They don’t care whether an “intervention” is moral, constitutional, proportional or affordable. They know that war always results in the accrual and consolidation of power in the hands of the executive, and thus they support war when their guy is in and oppose it when the other guy is in. They make decisions that will affect the lives and livelihoods of untold numbers of their fellow creatures based on a despicable and mercenary calculus: who will get the credit, and who will get the blame?

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