Dispatches from the Conservative Frontline


Syria is a greatly complicated place with numerous actors in the field with differing interests and objectives, in such a short piece one does not hope to cover everything but say my piece in support of troops on the ground. War is a greatly destabilising process, that is a fact, and it is apparent that many valuable lessons may be learned from comparing this conflict to the one in Iraq, this does not however mean that things cannot be different. My position is contradictory to the current Conservative plan of airstrikes against ISIL, however no one in the government denies that in Syria there must be boots on the ground, what is desired is local boots not British ones. A war cannot be won via tactical bombing alone unless the objective is complete desolation, ground troops must secure ground as it were. Here lies an essential issue, the West will not commit troops as it believes this will cause further local radicalism and this is coupled with growing native adversity to interventionism. That being said, there is however a domestic desire for governments to tackle the issue, especially due to the migration crisis, and thus this leads to most western governments stuck with only the option to use airstrikes. Why then should we commit troops, if there are already local militias and we are tackling the sources of ISIL strength with airstrikes? The first argument would come from the quality of Western forces, they could arguably get the job done far quicker than not as well trained militias. Secondly, troops on the ground could help with the transition into a peaceful government after conflict has ceased, it would give the new government increased international legitimacy and sufficient stability to avoid constant upheaval and unrest in this volatile region.

Arguments of course emerge such as, what right do the West have to intervene in nations which are not their own, and furthermore would intervention not only increase the volatility of the region but could led to the need for continual action further down the road? To address the first issue which has increased salience because of Iraq and such conflicts, the West has a right to intervene because of a moral duty which extends to wherever wrong doing occurs, the persecution which exists in Syria by Assad and ISIL is reason enough alone to intervene, just because they are not ‘our people’ does not mean they do not deserve basic rights which we can help them attain. Secondly, volatility may increase in the short term as a consequence of the long term aim, and thus the ends justify the means insofar as it secures peace. This would be a long term endeavour and could not involve western political short termism, but with enough drive, intervention could secure prosperity and peace for a fragile region, negating the need for further intervention.

Now I’ll move onto a far less divisive topic, the York Tories, who enjoyed a lively debate about the EU on Friday which included a number of members on either side of the debate, who continued to argue long into the weekly meal, as could only be expected. The week ahead will be equally interesting because of numerous events we will be undertaking. As usual if you want to engage in lively debates over controversial topics or have a nice night out, find us on social media or at one of our events.

Stefan Schuller