Keeping the Peace

Wednesday 11th October 2017 18:54 EDT

As the Saudi King visits Russia, seeking peace and stability in the Middle East, I noted on the BBC that that stability is not helped by killing children in Yemen or Syria or a blockade of Britain’s ally Qatar, from whose military basis drone strikes by UK forces target ISIS. A week too when the Nobel Peace Prize was announced – what brings world Peace today?

Below is what I wish the Indian Ambassador to the UN had said. He didn’t. At the end, I reveal who did actually say what is written below.

“Mr President, India considers the actions of the Government of Syria in killing children to be an act of war upon humanity and as a member of the family of nations, India shall act to defend the citizens of Syria and considers itself as of now formally in a state of war with the nation of Syria.

Up to the very last it would have been quite possible to have arranged a peaceful and honourable settlement between Syria and its people, but Assad would not have it.

He had evidently made up his mind to attack whatever happened; and although he now says he has put forward reasonable proposals which were rejected, that is not a true statement.

The proposals were never shown; and although they were announced in a broadcast on Thursday night, Assad did not wait to make comment on them, but ordered his troops to cross the frontier villages.

His actions show convincingly that there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practice of using force to gain his will. He can only be stopped by force.

We and Britain are today, in fulfilment of our obligations, going to the aid of Syria's citizens, who are so bravely resisting this wicked and unprovoked attack on her people. We have a clear conscience. We have done all that any country could do to establish peace. The situation in which no word given to Syria's ruler could be trusted and no people or country could feel themselves safe has become intolerable.

And now that we have resolved to finish it, I know that you will play your part with calmness and courage.

At such a moment as this the assurances of support that we have received from the Commonwealth are a source of profound encouragement to us.

When I have finished speaking certain detailed announcements will be made on behalf of the Government. Give these your closest attention.

The Government have made plans under which it will be possible to carry on the work of the nation in the days of stress and strain that may be ahead. But these plans need your help.

Now may God bless you all. May He defend the right. It is the evil things that we shall be fighting against – brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution – and against them I am certain that the right will prevail."

Actually, the Indian Ambassador to the UN did not say the above. No, the British PM said it. He said it in 1939 when Britain declared war on Germany for acts of genocide. But then there was not Russian and China or UN to block such action by veto.

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