Syria: What is it that Cameron 'gets'?

 

"I get it" says the Prime Minister - but what exactly is it that he gets ?

First, that British public and parliamentary opinion simply does not have the stomach for another military intervention.

For months at home and abroad he has made the case that Syria risked not being another Iraq but another Bosnia - in other words a war that the West should be ashamed for not intervening in.

In theory he could have tried again even after last night's defeat but instead he's concluded that Parliament has given its final verdict on the issue.

He knows that defeat in a motion specifically authorising military action - which last night's did not - could be politically terminal, as against merely humiliating and wounding.

What Mr Cameron also gets is that there is now a significant section of his party so independent or so irreconcilable that they will vote against him whatever the consequences.

What's more, he understands - if he didn't before - that his opponent Ed Miliband can be politically ruthless.

What troubles the Prime Minister and those around him more, though, is the question of whether Britain has lost the appetite to be America's most reliable ally. The thought of America attacking Syria with French and not British support pains them.

George Osborne says it's time for some national soul searching. That's already begun inside Downing Street.

 
Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1612.

    #1609

    As an expatriate Englishman I can see the situation from both sides of the pond. It is clear that the UK's MPs are scared stiff of a backlash from domestic terrorism - the men in balaclavas from South Leeds and elsewhere seem to have a stranglehold on UK foreign policy. To me, it suggests that terrorism (and the threat of it) works. Cameron gets this - he must have wept in private.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1611.

    There's also the danger that Syria could become another place where the US and Russia fight a old-style proxy fight, reviving the Cold War.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 1610.

    @1604David
    At least the one military intervention that we did alone, without reference to the US - Sierra Leone - was a success. You did Somalia without us. Remind me how that finished?

    If the Special Relationship exists & is important (I believe it is) & is to be of value to us both & the r.o.t.world, we are going to have to learn to do it without bombs & bullets.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 1609.

    No1604 David
    'a nation in decline'
    Are you able to confirm that over 50% of US assets are now owned by China?
    What of the remainder are owned by Middle East Royalist Thugs?
    I travel to Luton, Birmingham, Leeds and Bradford often - can't remember seeing many balaclavas.
    Are US bankers still stealing the bailout money?
    Decline? you ought to know.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 1608.

    One of the things I find interesting concerning Syria in the last week or so, listening to range of BBC R4 News & C.Affairs programmes, is how pro-war the BBC is. They are really pushing hard for action on this. I wonder why? I've never known anything like it before.

 

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