When NATO was bombing civilian targets in Serbia in 1999, it was still possible to have a calm debate about this devastating issue in the West. The same held true when Bush and Blair invaded Iraq in 2003, causing the death (according to an article in The Lancet) of over a million people.
But such rational debates where friends remain friends and acquaintances leave on good terms. are becoming increasingly impossible.
The reasons for this are disheartening: Brexit and Trump. Both of the votes that led to these outcomes have galvanised Western political emotions as never before.
To me however, there is something distinctly odd about this.
Brexit at most will mean Britain will have to re-write some trade deals with Germany, France and the other EU states. No British person will be forced to leave Spain, and no Hungarian is going to be forced to leave Britain.
In other words it is not a life or death issue.
Likewise, Donald Trump’s foreign policy will at best be one aimed at a more peaceful, less expensive and more pragmatic US foreign policy. At its worst, it will be Obama light, though I remain optimistic on this front.
Yet I find it odd that people get emotionally exercised over Mr. Farage and Mrs. May’s disagreements on how much buying a Volkswagen in London will cost in three years’ time, yet they remain placid about how Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicholas Sarkozy turned Libya into a failed state.
I find it odd that people are willing to get into fist fights over Donald Trump’s mocking words about some people’s appearance, when children in Syria and Iraq have been permanently disfigured by American and British bombs as well as those of their terrorist proxies.
If there was ever any political debate worth getting emotionally excited over, it would have been over issues of war and peace, not Obamacare versus Dr. Trump, and certainly not Brussels versus Whitehall.
I mean really, where have the emotional priorities gone?
It is symptomatic of a peoples who are so poorly educated in world affairs that they think a bit of snow in London is more worrying than the water supply in Damascus being poisoned by “moderate beheaders”.
My heart is with the civilians in places like Syria, but my mind is deeply worried by attitudes and priorities of far too many people in the West.