This won't be too long, although there's so much I could say. Most of it has been said by other wiser and far more eloquent people than me, but since I've been completely misrepresented on the topic, here it is.
Firstly, I personally have no national allegiance. I was born in Britain, and I live in Canada, but I neither identify as British or Canadian. You won't even hear me use the term British, I reject the concept. If asked, I will tell you I'm English, which enrages some, and confuses others, but it just tells you where I was born - it explains the way I talk, and why I eat Steak & Kidney Pie. It's not (as a very snotty French immigration officer once told me) a nationality. I know. That's the whole point. Nationality implies acknowledgement of nations, and you can shove nations right up where the sun doesn't shine. Nations do things that have nothing to do with me. They cause labels to be created that always cause problems. That's a much longer topic for another day, but suffice to say, my attitude is that I'm a citizen of a small blue planet, so take it or leave it.
But most importantly for this particular debate, I'm not American. Living right next door to the US, and spending quality time in social media online, naturally I cannot avoid American stuff. I sometimes get irritated by Americentrism, but as I have many American friends, for the most part I shrug it off.
When politics crop up, I have to remind people, frequently, that as a non-American, I am not involved in American politics. Does it affect me? Sure, but it's just a neighbouring country, not mine, and while I may take an interest, I'm not involved. I am not an American voter. And, as a matter of fact, because of my personal status, I have no vote anywhere. I've been an ex-pat too long to be entitled to a vote in England, and as I'm not a Canadian citizen, I have no vote here either.
I'm not heartbroken about this, as I wouldn't know who to vote for anyway. I don't trust any of them.
I don't do party politics. You may have to read that twice. Oh, sure, I'm to the left of centre, if you average everything out, but my political compass varies with the topic involved, and there is no party that represents me, and I'm not about to put my name to any of them. So I get extremely irritated when I get called a liberal or a conservative (yes, I've been called both) because I'm none of the above. Does that bother you? Too bad. That's how it is. Call me names if you like, but I don't identify with any group or organization. Quite apart from anything else,there are THREE main parties in England and Canada, so there. It's not either/or. That affects how Americans think, I believe. Anyway, the point is, I'm outside of it all.
So right now all the garbage being spouted about how Obama is as bad as Bush, just goes right over my head. How has it taken you so long to clue in? They're all politicians. They all lie. They all criticize one another's foreign policy, and they all do the same things.
In case you missed my Facebook post the other day, my opinion is as follows:
"I said I wouldn't get into the whole Syria thing, but just hear this. I am not American. I don't CARE which party, left or right, is this or that, or who or what. From where I stand it's "The American Government", and party politics is UTTERLY IRRELEVANT. All I see is that a bunch of guys in suits in one country is going to make decisions on behalf of another country, and they may well make very bad decisions. This has got nothing, NOTHING to do with who you voted for, or what party they belong to. It's the Stars & Stripes brigade as an entity, OK? From out here, they all look the same. If that hurts your feelings, too bad. When a bomb comes towards me, I don't give a shit whether it's got Lib or Con written on it, I'm still dead."
And still it continues. As if any one man is responsible for these decisions anyway. If you think your leader, whoever he is, wherever he is, acts alone, and has any real power, my unicorn would love to have a chat with you.
The fact is, that world leaders, for all their flaws and charms, make decisions with advisers, who have advisers, who have advisers. It's a team effort, and I don't mean team in the cosy "we're all in this together" sense of the word. I mean team as in corrupt bunch of wankers who are all in it for their own gain, one way or another, to whom yes or no are interchangeable depending on promotion prospects and bribes, and in the end it's a miracle that civilization runs as smoothly as it does, because there are fools in charge. The system sort of props them up.
Having mentioned some of this, I actually had people turn round to me and say "So you think we should do nothing?"
There is a country called the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but it isn't a democracy. The government basically does as it pleases. Nobody knows quite how many have been killed or harmed, and the government either turns a blind eye or is involved in it. One corrupt leader replaced another, and nothing changed. And the rest of the world? Well, they write letters of outrage.
Nothing is really being done about it.
Here is some information, if you are unaware:
I have no reliable figures, but it's probably safe to estimate that more harm per capita is happening there than just about anywhere else.
Why aren't we (outsiders) bombing Kinshasa?
I've asked why the current government there is even recognized by the rest of the world. The answer I'm usually given is along the lines of, well, even if you took him out, his replacement would be just as bad. It's probably true, too. There is a very rotten core there, and removing one part of it would achieve nothing. You'd pretty much have to go through that huge country (yeah, look on a map, it's very big, you may have missed it however) processing each person one at a time to find out if he's a good guy or a bad guy. Good luck with that.
If you can't see where I'm going with this, you're not paying attention. It's essentially the same problem, the same story, but with a twist, to Syria. Bad leaders over a long time frame, no obvious alternative, no easy way to sort it all out, meanwhile ordinary people are being harmed on an ongoing basis.
So, ask yourself why Syria is so different, so urgent, so important? Geography comes to mind. Strategic position. Call me cynical but this is not a humanitarian issue by western leaders, so forget that. If they were actually concerned about people being harmed by their own government, "something would be done" about countries like Congo, but it isn't. Nothing is being done.
We do nothing all of the time, until it suits us. When we do something there's a reason, and sadly, it's never the right one.
Some have suggested that it's all about oil.
I am not privy to the secret talks world leaders have. I don't know what their motives are. I just guarantee they aren't telling the truth. No, I guarantee it.
Do I have a solution? No. But I tell you this, dropping bombs on people is not the answer.
"If all our options are bad, why pick the one that involves missiles?" Rachel Maddow
I hope it's all bluff. Threats. But the American government have a habit of carrying out threats. It's not like we can sit back and say "Oh, well he won't REALLY do it". He might. Apart from anything else, any action taken without the full support of the UN is technically illegal, but that's never stopped them before either.
And of course, there's another angle with the Russians. Now, there's a world leader you can admire. Not. I think Russia is actually going backwards. But they have their eyes on the prize.
So let's get this straight, at no point have I said "Do nothing". But please, do the right thing, not the expedient thing. Do the thing that the Syrian people want done, whatever that is (has anyone bothered to ask them?) Do the thing that won't cause more harm than good in the long run. Do the thing that actually solves something. If you don't know what that is, then have the balls to say so.