Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Chilcot and Blair: Lessons to be learned

Blair's mantra is "The world is better without Saddam Hussein in power".

It's debatable.

Yes if you or someone you know was in his prisons because of their politics.
No (possibly) if someone you love was one million or so who have died in all the fighting associated with the Bush-Blair invasion.

What is certain is that if a dictator is ruling a people who are split along religious or ethnic grounds, it is not such a great idea to try to remove him by force, either external (Bush/Blair?Iraq) or internal (Assad's Syria). It is like talking the pressure off a pressure cooker - you don't just flip the weight off, that leads to an eruption of boiling hot liquid. Best to take it off the heat and apply gentle cooling.

I was a devout supporter of the Arab Spring, and I still am, but the results have not been brilliant.

Tunisia has done reasonably well, but Egypt and Libya have had poor results, and Syria is still an appalling mess.

This is not to say that dictators, authoritarian and totalitarian regimes must be tolerated or even supported. The fact is that dictatorships will always collapse in the end, one way or another, and after their collapse, there is a tendency for old scores to be settled.

So dictators are intolerable, but they will fall in the end.
We need a non-violent way to shorten their reign.

The Green Party in England and Wales, and also the Global Greens, have a policy that shows the way.

IP331-340 here outlines the Global Index of Human Rights which is set out in more detail here.

Essentially, the UN will publish annually a quantified assessment of the human rights performance of all states. This is quite possible, and a couple of academic centres already produce such measurements. The UN will then help and advise states who wish to improve their position in the Human Rights charts. We can also turn our attention to the very lowest performers, offering reward and punishment in accordance with improvements or deterioration in their HR performance.

Dictators and regimes who are committing crimes should be tried in the International Criminal Court, in absentia if necessary, but at the same time can be offered a comfortable retirement in exile if they choose to leave office.

Yes, it is difficult and complex. But not as difficult and complex as trying to oust dictators with bombs and bullets.

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