Reasons not be cheerful

Two reasons not to be cheerful.

1] To quote a friend of mine: ‘Jihadism, Western consumerism, youth unemployment, the debt burden, stagnating incomes, the growing wealth divide: they’re all somehow linked, and no-one seems to have convincing answers.’

Now there’s a challenge…

2] Immigrants are crossing in their tens of thousands from Africa. Boko Haram terrorises northern Nigeria spreading jihad and seeking to set up its own ‘caliphate’. Neither would have been possible had Gaddafi retained his hold on Libya. And without the French and British bombing campaign he’d have done so. Better to have left him in power? But what of Benghazi? It rose in rebellion against Gaddafi – and how bloody would have been its punishment?  What if war had followed when the Russians sent tanks into Hungary in 1956, or into Prague in 1968? The latter was the Prague Spring. And in 2010 we had the Arab Spring…

Intervention has its place. In Sierra Leone and Kosovo there was a simple humanitarian imperative. Maybe also in the case of Benghazi – but that illustrates how risky any intervention can be. Libya is now a failed state and we’re living with the – sometimes terrifying – unintended consequences.

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