Bill Carmichael: West’s incoherent policies fed rise of fanatics

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MPs meet in Westminster today to discuss the involvement of the UK’s armed forces in strikes against Islamist rebels fighting Bashar-al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

How quickly the modern world changes! Just over a year ago those same MPs were voting on pretty much the opposite – at that time the proposed military action was against Assad and favour of the rebels.

So let’s get this straight – in August 2013 our Government wanted to bomb Assad in order to help the Islamist rebels, and today it wants to bomb the rebels, which will undoubtedly help Assad.

Confused? Don’t worry, we all are. The sheer incoherence of Western foreign policy is a wonder to behold.

Since the onset of the so-called “Arab Spring” four years ago, Western politicians have blundered from one catastrophe to the next with the result that the world is now a far more dangerous place than it was back 
in 2010.

At the time naive fools such as Nick Clegg were wetting their knickers over the “Arab Spring”, breathlessly hyping it up as a “Berlin Wall moment” which heralded the onset of democracy and peace throughout the Middle East.

Well, how is that one turning out Nick?

Sure is it is good to see the back of blood-soaked tyrants such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, and few would shed many tears if Assad was to go the same way.

But they are being replaced by regimes that are equally nasty and brutish and which are no friends of democracy.

Last year, when our government was attempting to drum up support for the Syrian rebels who were being pounded by Assad’s superior firepower, some of us pointed out that many of the rebel side were in fact fanatical Islamists who supported al-Qaida.

Oh no, we were told, Western aid and weapons would only go to those “moderate Islamists” who could be relied on to bring down Assad without then turning their guns on the West.

I am not sure what the definition of a “moderate Islamist” is; perhaps it is a nice, cuddly Jihadist who is kind enough to warm the knife before he saws your head off?

But either way this entire policy very quickly went pear-shaped. The “moderate Islamists” turned out not to be very moderate at all and are in fact a bunch of gibbering lunatics who are raping and killing all in their path. And to make matters worse they now have their hands on all the weaponry and aid supplied by the West over recent years.

How utterly bloody marvellous.

Given the scale of the current threat, we now have little choice other than to agree to strikes against the Islamists in Syria. But let us be realistic about what we can achieve. Even if we succeed in degrading the capabilities of the Islamic State, the jihadist threat to the UK will remain for the foreseeable future because of past policies – such as Labour’s open doors immigration blunder.

Credibility deficit

ED Miliband admitted this week that he had written a section on reducing the deficit in his speech to the Labour 
Party conference, but when it came 
to delivering the speech he simply 
forgot it.

What? The Government is overspending to the tune of around £100bn a year – or £2bn a week – which is being added to £1.3 trillion debt mountain (about £22,000 for every man, woman and child in the country) that will eventually have to be paid back by our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

And this existential crisis that threatens the future of our country simply slipped the Leader of the Opposition’s mind? Astonishing!

Unless Labour has a strategy for dealing with the deficit, it will have 
no money to spend on the NHS, or anything else for that matter.

If Miliband goes on the sort of borrowing and spending spree that brought to the country to its knees 
the last time Labour was in power, he will be lucky to last 10 weeks as Prime Minister before the wheels come off, 
let alone the 10 years he seems to 
banking on.

And the fact he managed to entirely “forget” about the deficit tells you all you need to know about the credibility of Labour’s economic policies.