Thursday, 29 September 2016

On Tough Guys

Dutch investigators have in my view proved that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian supplied Buk Missile. There seems to be strong evidence of a missile carrier returning to Russia minus one of its four missile payload as well.

Russia has denied involvement and Buk say it was an obsolete missile, not part of Russia's arsenal anymore. Conspiracy theories and misinformation have been pouring out of Russia since the attack and that has been renewed in intensity since the report.

'Security' Council member Russia has taken the Crimea away from Ukraine and been involved in further conflict in Eastern Ukraine, has shot down a civilian airliner, is actively supporting Assad in the killing of his own civilians in Syria and has been proven to cheat at sport too.

Although the latter pales into insignificance alongside the rest, it is a symptom of what you get when you elect so called tough guys. The Russian people are receiving very different media reports than everyone else of course, the world is against us, we didn't do it, it's all a conspiracy.

It might be argued that Kim Jong-un is a tough guy too, ignoring world opinion and sanctions and testing his weapons of mass destruction regardless of the economic well being, health and education of his own people. It's a difficult dilemma, Hitler and Stalin were tough guys as well and people will say, quite rightly, that we needed tough guys like Churchill and Roosevelt to be strong for us in that era, but for all their strength those gentlemen came from a very different mould.

Shimon Perez has just passed away, he was a joint Nobel Peace Prize winner along with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin (who he will be buried next to) as a result of the Oslo Peace Accord they negotiated. Perez and Rabin were strong men, but not in the final analysis bullies and that I think is the essential difference, it's not the tough looking bully that we need to lead us, but men of strength and principle. Rabin of course paid the ultimate price.

Shimon Perez lost an election he was expected to win to one Benjamin Netanyahu, he lost to tough guy Netanyahu by a mere one percent, Netanyahu promised to get tough with the Palestinians and he did. Is anything better today or have more people died needlessly?

Beware of tough guys, rhetoric was a major tool of Roman commanders and then as now rhetoric can be used to stir up dissatisfaction, war and destruction, only now we're not using swords, slings and catapults.

Did I mention the UN is constitutionally flawed and needs to be recreated from scratch?

Today Avaaz asked me to sign a petition to ask America to enforce a no fly zone over Aleppo. To shoot down Russian jets if necessary. To do so would be to risk escalation, to do nothing is worse they said. I haven't signed. Not because my heart doesn't go out to the people of Aleppo, it truly does, they're being bombed by two tough guys, but because I have always said that throwing ordnance around with no strategy is worse I cannot sign.

If you can't be part of the solution at least stop being part of the problem. I detest Assad but we brought down a tough guy in Iraq and another in Libya, didn't make things better. It actually brought about more death and destruction and a migrant crisis un-paralleled since World War Two. We need a strategy to deal with tough guy bullies, but creating a vacuum isn't it. Lets hope that nations which appear to have matured never make the mistake of electing their ilk.

I do think we should be dropping medicines, food and blankets to civilians in Syria and I do think western leaders should be looking for a  way to end the cycle of violence, if possible without more violence, since as we all know violence generally begets more violence until one side is exhausted, defeated and destroyed. It's all in the history books but we never learn.

I published a plan for promoting peace in my book Of Land, Sea And Sky but have not found financial backing, the idea is out there if anyone wants to give it a try.

Malcolm Snook Author And Blogger

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