When I wrote three days ago that I thought that there might be a better day ahead for Syria than the papers were predicting, I think I was being more optimistic than I dared hope. Since then we have seen a number of steps that have been taken by people unwilling to take them, but doing so in order to further the common good. The will of the UK Government was to get authority from the British Parliament for a limited military intervention in Syria. That was not forthcoming and although smarting from the experience the Prime Minister resolved himself to explaining to President Obama that he was not ready to accompany him on what many including myself judged to be a fools errand. I then wrote pointing out that the political and financial capital that had been earmarked for the Cruise Missiles strikes, should be invested instead in helping refugees flooding into camps on the outskirts of Syria and trying to get the UN to respond to the atrocities in Damascus, Aleppo and throughout Syria. My blog yesterday was a focus on the actions in Washington where it seemed that John Kerry was more committed to action on behalf of the President, than the President himself was. The surprising news that President Obama was to ask Congress to support his plan to send Tomahawk missiles into places where our Cruise Missiles were meant to go, was an even more amazing turn of events.
The call by Ban Ki Moon to give peace a chance has not exactly been heeded, as we understand that the weapons Inspectors need 2 weeks to report. In the mean time the decision by Congress will provide only one weeks grace. However there must be at least a small chance that the congressmen and women having listened to their electors will ask the President to wait another week before giving the command to go. This week has the potential to be a game changer in other arenas. On Thursday and Friday President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron along with leaders of France and China as members of the G20 will be guests of President Putin in St Petersburg. It seems inevitable that the atrocities in Syria and the need to reform the UN security council so that it can act on a matter that has been agreed to by all of the players, that of chemical weapons will be discussed. With Putin in the Chair the opportunities for a change must be even stronger than if he was merely one of the members.
This weekend it appears that a blame game is being played by Cameron and Miliband. We are also told that Cameron is planning a reshuffle in preparation for the return to the Commons on Monday. It is vital that they turn their energy and leadership attention to considering how to ensure that every ounce of spare resource is focused on the four ring circus. Of Syria itself, of the UN where we play a vital and leading role, of the G20 where we have a great deal of influence, and then finally as observers only the deliberations by congress during this week in preparation for their debate on the 9th of September. There is far too much riding on these 4 arenas for us to allow our leaders to act like clowns, no matter how much happier some of us might be.