Sunday 19 November 2017

Dominic MacSorley: To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war

The US, the UK, and France are all now teetering on the brink of a military intervention in Syria, holding to a position that the attack was carried out by the Syrian government, they look ready to react militarily, with or without a UN mandate to ensure that there are no further attacks of this nature.

Whether such action would be legal is an important question but it is certainly not unprecedented. The NATO air war in Kosovo – which only gained UN Security Council approval after it had been initiated – was undertaken with the justification that it was needed to avert a humanitarian disaster and to protect the civilian population – claims which, it may be argued, apply in Syria today.

But the legality debate seems moot. Video footage of the victims has inflamed public opinion and contributed to a sense that 'something must be done' – the court of public opinion has, it seems, displaced or negated the need to await the findings of the UN weapons inspectors.

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