BORIS JOHNSON MP was let loose on Thursday in what was widely seen as a tactical move to prove that he was not being silenced. Unfortunately for the Tory Party, Boris immediately opened his mouth and put his foot in it – making it quite clear that he would back any further US military strikes on mainstream sites in Syria without waiting for a parliamentary vote.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Johnson suggested that if Syrian President Asad was suspected of using chemical weapons, the US may want to punish this – and it would be this kind of action which the UK should support militarily. Boris condemned Asad for using this kind of weapon – though Boris is part of a Government which is renewing its own weapons of mass destruction (Trident) which it has insisted it would use against other people.
Prime Minister Theresa May was quick to step in and try to limit the damage, pointing out that US President Donald Trump has no immediate plans to bomb mainstream sites in Syria (though he will continue to bomb what the US has identified as sites which are controlled by ISIS).
It was left to Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to pitch in and remind the Government that the emphasis should be on trying to secure a political solution through negotiation rather than speculating over when various world leaders could play war games. Corbyn said that the Government should be beating a path to the United Nations, not carrying out punishment bombings.
Two major conflicts have been sorted out by negotiation in recent years: the conflict in Ireland and, even larger, apartheid in South Africa. The conflicts where world powers have staged military interventions – most notably Afghanistan and Iraq – have exacerbated conflict rather than solve it. The last thing we need is Donald and Boris joining forces to run riot round the Middle East.