The UK has fought too many wars in recent years. The UK has intervened too often in difficult conflicts in the Middle East.
I wrote to the Prime Minister with others urging him not to send military force into Syria, and declined to vote for war. I was unhappy about the UK’s involvement in Libya, and was a keen advocate of withdrawal from Afghanistan which has now been accomplished.
The tragic conflicts in the Middle East are engaging the regional powers in dispute and proxy wars. There is a continuing battle between Sunni and Shia groups. There are various terrorist and rebel groups who resort to extreme violence. The governments of Iraq, Yemen and Libya cannot secure the support and loyalty of parts of their own countries.
Sometimes the UK needs to accept that it cannot bring peace to places like Libya or Iraq by intervening with troops. The politics of these countries are complex. Our troops do not speak the local languages, and can be placed at risk with little chance of bringing about a political solution on the ground. Wars occur when politics and diplomacy fail. Wars end when people do decide to talk to each other about how they can live together.
I support maintaining sound UK defences. I support the UK as a leading member of NATO, dedicated to preserving the independence and self government of NATO members. As a member of the Security Council of the UN, a leading member of the Commonwealth, and a member of NATO, the UK has wider obligations. These also require care and wisdom in executing these roles. For the next few years I want us to talk more and fight less in the Middle East.
Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU