Surely, US President has to seek an international consensus!
That only can save his legacy as a Peace President!
India’s voice must be more positive and assertive!
Seeing the House of Commons debate on Syrian war was a lesson!
The other day, on a Thursday afternoon, we got switched on to the BBC, without knowing it was a Thursday and in London, you always turned on to listen to the Prime Minister takes questions and the House of Common debate on various issues.
This time, it turned out to be a debate on a motion moved by the ruling Tory party on going to war on Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons on its own citizens.
Oh, the House of Commons?
The debate lacked seriousness of purpose. The Syrian war is going on for two years and one lakh people were killed.
House of Commons and Indian Parliament a contrast
This particular debate came on the heels of the Indian parliament meeting and debating and passing a series of bills in record time and also getting disrupted and also getting adjourned almost every day!
So, what is the sanctity of parliaments in today’s world?
Almost every country has a parliament; China has a very large Parliament, the number of members run into a few thousands? We don’t know right now the exact numbers but the numbers are very large.
Of course, we don’t hear about the Kremlin’s Dumo but we know often that parliament also gets some important legislation passed. What we remember about the Russian Parliament is the role it played during the Yeltsin years.
He was the first elected president in Russia’s long history. So, his name would be long remembered. Of course Khrushchev and later Gorbachev also would be remembered for long for he voluntarily gave up power and it was revolution of all past revolutions. A Communist leader paves the way for a peaceful change and in Russia’s case it was historically much more momentous than, we can say, even the French revolution.
Of course all revolutions lead to much bloodshed and it is still true, unfortunately. Now, with Indian parliament has the distinction of being the parliament of the world’s largest democracy.
The House of Commons on the other had is the most historic of all parliaments, it is rightly called the mother of parliaments.
For Indians, British House of Commons is the model, in our Constitution; it is clearly written down that when there are doubts in any of the clauses in the written Constitution, we have to refer back to the House of Commons for guidance.
Such is the greatness of the unwritten British House of Commons.
We had studied British Parliamentary history and also visited and observed the actual working of the House of Commons. Once when the great lady, the iron lady, Margaret Thatcher herself was replying to the questions at the Question House.
This time, when we witnessed the House of Commons debate on the subject of going to war the debate was on the principle of going to war against Syria with its alleged use of chemical weapons, we saw David Cameron thundering with words that didn’t sound genuine. It all seemed to be a shadow boxing. Why?
First, the UK must only know well, rather too well, is no longer a big power. No longer an economic power. But the House of Commons debated as if they were called upon to go to war! This looked a bit laughable!
Second, once, yes, the House of Commons looked great. There were really great men and women. Even the Labour party of those days had great many very competent women members. Not anymore, it looked.
The few women members seemed very docile. They seemed to be content with participation. Yes, one or two spoke. But that is all. It was very brief intervention.
Even the member from the treasury Benches didn’t show much enthusiasm.
Even the foreign minister, once a big job, today looked very docile, he as much more a small boyish-like figure.
Why, even the Prime Minister looked very timid. His words sounded quite hallow!
Some members raised the question: what was the British national interest? What is the national interest involved?
No clear answer. Nor the PM’s argument that on humanitarian ground we have to war and assert the international human rights violations?
The whole tenor of the debate looked school boyish and they debated for the debate sake.
There didn’t seem to be much seriousness in the House of Commons debate and its supposed role in international opinion making. Of course, the entire debated puffed off, the voting that was taken in the end of the debate gave an equal divided opinion ,vote for war(that is Britain sending its war planes!) 272,against going to war, 285!
It all ended up as a joke, to put it mildly.
The leader of the Labour Opposition, Ed Multiband (an old family, his father was a migrant from Europe and was a Communist-turned Socialist?)
Anyway, Ed miliband looked like a boy himself, his speech too sounded rather too academic and very insipid to say the least. One didn’t get hearing any great oratory, once the House was associated with great mean and great leaders.
In contrast, the EU nations, Germany being the most economically powerful expressed its opposition from the beginning. France cut a sorry figure, first coming out in favour o war and then getting thorou8ghly isolated. Hallande, the President cut a sorry figure.
Now, as for US President he had great many difficulties and dilemmas.
As an American President, he has a responsibility to maintain world balance among the leading powers.
He is now in his second term. Clearly he doesn’t want to risk another war. The historic precedent is that an American President has the ultimate power to say yes and then war planes take off!
He is the Commander o the armed forces f America.
He needn’t consult the Congress, it is the convention. But Obama is a wiseman, He didn’t want into the trap of the delusions that is being built around the American President.So, though he took a touch position in public asserting that USA might consider an air strike at any time, soon cooled down took a step back and said he would also consider the Congress.
Now, where does India come in?
We have failed miserably.
India didn’t open its mouth! This is to voluntarily surrender our moral duty to stand up. What a shame!
India must have articulated its stand and must have at least diplomatically taken a stand. Why not say we will consult with the great power and take stand?
Neither diplomacy, nor any moral commitment is in the Indian scheme of things. What a pity?
Now, surely, the UN must come out with its articulation. As for Russia and China, they only fall in their stature in the eyes of the world.
Why not jointly send out weapons inspectors to the Syrian country and jointly verify the allegation of the use or no-use of chemical weapons.
As for the British, they exposed themselves as good for nothing great power. They, the British are supposed to be a great expert country in international diplomacy.
This time, perhaps, from onwards, the world leaders must shed their timidity in the face of wards and violations of international law, as far as such acts like the deadly use of dangerous weapons of mass destruction in wars.