Rebel fighters in Syria

When the dust finally settles on the pages and when the retrospective questions start to be asked, one will always stand out: Where was Western intervention? Yet, the only question I find myself asking is whether or not it is right for us to intervene in crises such as the Kenyan Mall Massacre or the recent Syrian crisis.

It is globally known that the West is and has ever been a dominating force, politically and militarily. The American and UK alliance bring a force to the table which has the influence and power to substantially affect the world, be that in a positive way or otherwise. Of late the recent crisis in Syria was immediately sought to be rectified via military means. Some argue that this is the only way to intervene when large-scale violence is present; others that it was entirely and erroneously impulsive and a solution without putting ‘boots on the ground’ was wholly possible.

The West has a history of putting their proverbial noses into other countries’ business and quite often on the premise of a humanitarian urgency; WMDs in Iraq; the need to overthrow tyrants; the acquisition of oil; innocents being murdered.

Ultimately, Syria is a warzone, and when the West throws its weight around the only thing they’re telling the world is that they’re still in charge; their colonial heritage has not been left behind but lives on through their constant need to try and fix the world. Yet it is down to the simple fact that Syria is a warzone that we should not, and are not, becoming involved via militarisation.

The people of the United Kingdom do not want to send more of their countrymen and women off to another war which we shouldn’t be involved in. I believe it is a country’s right, whether or not the world sees it at the moment, to face domestic problems and overcome them. For a country to better itself and stand without the crutches provided by the ever-interfering West it must first find ways of overcoming obstacles and thus prosper and grow as a country. It was a proud day for democracy when the motion for action on Syria was rebuffed.

Kenya is not a war zone. Contrary to an Al-Shabaab leader declaring that they will consider Kenya as such until Kenyan troops have been removed from southern Somalia, the West should not treat it as a war zone. We should remind ourselves of the genocide committed in Rwanda in 1994 when Hutus began slaughtering members of the Tutsis tribe as the world stood by and watched for 100 days. It is a haunting reminder of the sheer velocity of violence which could have been reduced had the world, in particular the UN, acted faster.

With the recent threats made by members of Al-Shabaab and the horrific backing-up of those threats in the Westgate Mall massacre, maybe it is time for the UN to intervene in a way which reduces the possibility of starting a war and ultimately aims to end the strife peacefully.

The West does not have all the answers and never will, but when the time comes in the future, when questions about what we did to help the world are asked of us, what will we say? That we didn’t learn from our past? That our only way to help people was via military means? We are not nearly as evolved, nor as civilised as we think, if the only solution we have to offer counties during times of crisis is our military backing.

With the Kenyan crisis it is not a question of what the West can do, rather, what the UN can do, lest we repeat our previous omissions.