Let’s admit it. As a country we’re impotent

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by msr, Oct 27, 2007.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

  2. Common sense my arrse! If this country used the resources it has at its disposal there'd be a lot less ragheads and gobshi'te dictators in the world!
  3. Bugger all.

    And in Afghanistan all we have to do is extend the remit of the Mayor of Kabul to every province, establish a effective and centrally controlled army loyal to democratic principles and a non-corrupt national police force, kill every Taliban who comes near, and in the meantime transform the political and social culture of a country that has seen off every foreign invader since Alexander the Great into something resembling the Home Counties. Oh yes, and win hearts and minds by destroying Afghan farmers' livelihoods because we can't/won't deal with our own junkie scum at home. Shouldn't take more than a year or so, then back for tea and medals

    And once Afghanistan is permanently denied to al-Qa'ida and they go and regroup in Somalia, we can do the same to them. And the next place.
  4. MSR, I read the Parris article, and I don't agree. I see the point that the actual outcomes, on the ground, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and probably soon in Iran, will be bloody. They may even end unsuccessfully. There is a bigger point at stake. Do deveoped countries have an obligation to help people who are suffering to free themselves from oppression? Can we force them to be free? The alternative seems to be to watch from the sidelines and shed crocodile tears when TV news shows starvinlg children or the aftermath of terrorist bombs.

    I don't for a second believe that this kind of morally motivated action is the sole reasons behind the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, Bosnia or Sierra Leone, or Somalia. But I do believe that it forms part of the decision making process. I do believe that, where required and where possible, we should intervene, with military force. I would see us doing more - like Zimbabwe for example. Its very easy to sit on the outside and expect change to just happen. In the process lots and lots of people suffer...

    Its better to regret something you've done, than regret something you didn't do.

    [edited for mongspellage]
  5. Immensely sad but immensely true, although I would say that it has as much to do with incompetence as post-imperial decline. Whoever thought that we would be able to hold Basra and Helmand combined, with fewer troops than we deployed to Northern Ireland, is little short of a murderer.
  6. An apposite comment where Matthew Parris is concerned. :wink:

  7. Isn't the bigger question the fact that problems such as Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be solved by an outside force?

    I was against the invasion of Iraq and signed the anti war petition: not because I am against military intervention but because it is difficult to transform a general feeling that we should 'do something' to help the oppressed into concrete action. If we are guided by a sense of moral obligation, how then do we formulate our priorities? It opens up the whole debate of what is worse and how that is measured. And shouldn't our military plans be informed (at least partly) by the military realities rather than ideological constructs?

  8. Probably more true than you think. As a whole this country doesn't seem capable of doing anything on time, in budget and correct first time. The latest thinking suggests that this Government has pissed £81 billion up the wall on nothing.
  9. Nonsense... it's only a spot of brewers droop.

    In no time we'll be back slyly buggering up other countries for fun and profit; just like in the good old days.
  10. Jeanne - I agree that moral obligation must be backed by a sense of priority and the ability to actually make things better... The difficulty is, how can one know, prior to taking action, whether or not one will be successful? Equivocating endlessly in the UN over Darfur etc is killing people.

    In terms of prioritising where we should and indeed are capable of taking action, there is no "felicific calculus" as Bentham put it, that would make this possible.
  11. Nod and wink: point taken. I guess that anyone knowing even a little bit about Afghanistan and the hows and whys of the Taliban rising to power would have been able to work out that they are a very difficult force to reckon with. They ruled in Afghanistan because of the absence of an authority that was capable of uniting a society that is essentially feudal. The cultural changes needed to support a centralised government are massive.

    Sometimes I find it very difficult to come to terms with the fact that we are still fighting them in spite of al of the advantages our forces have in terms of professionalism, training, kit, tradition, etc etc They must be bloody determined...
  12. Methinks Mathew doth protest too much. Perhaps he should see his doctor and ask for a perscription of Viagra to sort out his personal problems rather than let it project out so from his coloumn space ;)
  13. I think as a country we could do a whole lot more if we tried and pulled together, nothing is impossible if we just try, ans in lots of cases both at home and abroad Health and Safety gets in the way..... (look at the Vulcan to the sky project) I wonder how many people said it could not be done?????

    Attended a meeting done by the local HSE yesterday afternoon, very interesting, in so many cases these days claiming that "its against Health and Safety" is totally unjustified, and they are used as excuses for not doing something for what ever reason.

    And this can be applied for the country being accused of being impotent. we are jus not allowed to try, and that unfortunately that's what comes from having a socialist Government. They don't have the teeth in lots of cases.

    There seems to be something wrong with nation building these days..... Zimb is a classic case, if there was oil in that country and it was going to affect america's supply we would be in there like a shot..... yet we are not.....

    If we spent lesss of the £155 billion on social security and more on the armed forces and creating jobs, and lets face it how many people does it take both at sea and on shore to keep something HMS Lusty and her escorts at sea???? thats lots of jobs lost if they are taken away!!!!!!!

    Regards Duncan
  14. What utter rubbish this article is, it matters not how powerful a nations military is when it comes to 'changing' a country - the country must WANT to be changed, remind me, how long was Operation Banner going on in NI?

    As for being 'impotent', the USSR was 'impotent' in Afghanistan, the USA was 'impotent' in Vietnam and it looks like Iraq as well, its a meaningless phrase.

    I can count on the fingers of one hand the countries that the United Kingdom couldn't 'Liberate' at our convenience, without resorting to nukes. However, you need the population to want you to be there if your going to hang around afterwards.
  15. blue-sophist

    blue-sophist LE Good Egg (charities)

    The idea that one Nation [or Coalition] can impose its will on a free Nation is obsolete. The idea that "The Big Boys" can call the tune is a dead duck. The will of the indigenous people is all that counts in a democratic world.

    By all means facilitate "the will of the people", but armed intervention in another Nation's affairs has been a proven disaster area for decades.

    I have much sympathy for the people of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, Zimbabwe ... oh, the list goes on and on. But sadly, neither the UK nor the USA [or EU, NATO, Russia etc.] can just barge in and say, in effect, "This is how it's going to be".

    Sadly, as with many animal species, natural selection has to take its course: perhaps one day [probably when we are all dead and buried] some of these countries will evolve enough to become sane members of the comity of Nations.