As critical as I have been and continue to be of Obama’s foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, I have a great unease with the schadenfreude being experienced in many corners over the vote in the British House of Commons refusing to take the first step towards authorizing the British government to use force in response to the Syrian Army’s use of chemical weapons.

It rightly is being portrayed as a massive loss not only for Cameron, but for Obama.

Take no joy in either.

The use of chemical weapons by a regime which has plenty of them is deadly serious stuff, more so even than the daily carnage which takes place every day in Syria.

It’s qualitatively different. And it has important implications not only for Assad’s future use of chemical weapons, but for Iran.

I found this analysis in The Telegraph by Dan Hodges quite good, Miliband was governed by narrow political interests – not those of Syrian children. I have left the Labour Party:

What is not in any doubt is that this is a catastrophe for British foreign policy. This morning Britain has the international credibility of Luxembourg. There will still, rightly, be military action against Syria. It’s just that Britain will not be a part of it. Those who wanted to see a loosening, or severing, of the “special relationship” have finally got their wish. The US will respond on behalf of the global community to the use of chemical weapons on the children of Syria without us.

But the implications go far beyond Syria. There is now no prospect of British support for any military strike against Iran, for example. Hooray, many will say. Well, be careful what you wish for. Because the events of the past 24 hours will have been observed just as closely in Jerusalem as they have been in Damascus. And Israel will have watched the spectacle of British politicians stating events in the middle-east are not their concern, and she will not forget. Unlike us, when the Israelis say “never again”, they mean it.


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