The road to World War 3 will be paved with good intentions and this particular powder keg has all the necessary ingredients.
The UK should do absolutely nothing militarily in Syria because there is absolutely nothing positive it can achieve in this situation.
We can't be the men in white hats riding to the rescue and should be using whatever influence we may have left on the international stage to advocate jaw jaw over war war.
I disagree. I'm a huge fan of dialogue before war every time but there are some times that the world just needs to put aside petty differences and send an unequivocable message.
The only reason the major crackpots in the world haven't used chemical weapons against their enemies since the Iraq/Iran war forced changes to UN treaties is the threat of an excessively punitive smacking down by the world's powers. It's one of the big taboos out there in terms of state warfare.
If Syria gets away with it then where next? There's no government in the world that can't get the resources to make and use chemical weapons.
So, if the nutjobs near the Israeli border decide to stop Israeli settlers by using chemical weapons then should we just shrug and look away because it's not in our back-yard? What about the next African genocide? Far easier to chemically destroy millions of civilian enemies than have to chase them with your soldiers, just sit back and lob chemical weapons at them. What about if India or Pakistan decide that instead of firing occasional conventional artillery shells at each other that they should chemically get rid of the human difficulties on the other side of the border? What if Argentina decides the best way to stop the Falkland Islanders from protesting about an invasion is to wipe out Port Stanley with chemicals?
Then, what if someone decides that chemicals aren't enough, bring in biological weapons or even a nuke? The only thing stopping a nuke is that it's hard to make without tipping off half the world but biological weapons can be quite easily made with a few nutjob scientists and a few vats of a biological accelerant. Unlike chemical weapons, most biological ones are highly persistent, just look at our very own anthrax island of Gruinard. The scary thing is that they're even easier to use than chemical weapons.
Where do you draw the line on where the world should intervene and say "that's enough?" For me, it's the first toe over the line of using a weapon classified as a Weapon of Mass Destruction by the UN under one of the many treaties. There's no part of that wedge that's thin enough to be allowed in the door.
We've already shamefully turned our eyes to the millions of people killed in genocides in Africa over the last couple of decades because it's too difficult, is this the next one that we don't bother dealing with because it's too difficult? Should we just retreat behind our borders and hope the rest of the world will leave us alone?