Peter Hitchen's is on point in his latest Sunday Diary:
"And then mark that the pretext for this bizarre rocket attack was an unproven claim that President Assad of Syria had used poison gas.
Yes, unproven. The brutality of Sisi and the Saudis is beyond doubt. They didn’t use gas, but our leaders’ outrage at Assad’s alleged gas attack looks a little contrived if they keep such company.
Also what happened to the rules of evidence? Many people have written, spoken – and now acted – as if the charge was proven. Why the hurry?
Now, Mr Assad is not a nice person. I have been writing rude things about his bloodstained and wicked regime for years."
Can't disagree with a word of this - it is saying a lot when Hitchen's analysis is not so dissimilar to that of arch-youtuber loon Paul Watson and yet remains the most apt.
There are 2 likely consequences of the behaviour of the West in this:
1. Despots the world over challenged by the West will simply thumb their nose at them: we ignore the most aggressive, cruellest of belligerents; from Duterte to Kim Jong Un the key to avoiding western intervention in your own little fiefdom is to either overtly challenge the "evil" West or subvert it with a smile and state visits but ultimately not changing a damn thing about your behaviour to your own people; you invite western intervention, as proven by Saddam, Gaddafi, and very soon Assad, by complying with their demands.
2. The "centre" cannot hold: do we really believe Clinton would behave any differently in this situation? And if Trump isn't willing to try something else what does that mean for voting in any real change?
Everywhere we look, whether it is an encroaching spy-state, social media clamping down on "fake news" or even the slow motion corruption of Western public structures, from police seizure rules to the general "fuck-off" loop of challenging the petty injustice of the state do we really see modern western values as something worth supporting anymore? The article is by Peter Hitchen's for God's sake.
"According to friends and family, local police officers had allegedly targeted and mistreated Bouazizi for years, including during his childhood, regularly confiscating his small wheelbarrow of produce; but Bouazizi had no other way to make a living, so he continued to work as a street vendor. Around 10 p.m. on 16 December 2010, he had contracted approximately US$200 in debt to buy the produce he was to sell the following day. On the morning of 17 December, he started his workday at 8 a.m. Just after 10:30 a.m., the police began harassing him again, ostensibly because he did not have a vendor's permit. However, while some sources state that street vending is illegal in Tunisia and others that Bouazizi lacked a required permit to sell his wares, according to the head of Sidi Bouzid's state office for employment and independent work, no permit is needed to sell from a cart.
...Bouazizi, angered by the confrontation went to the governor's office to complain and to ask for his scales back. The governor refused to see or listen to him, even after Bouazizi was quoted as saying, "If you don't see me, I'll burn myself." Bouazizi then acquired a can of gasoline from a nearby gas station and returned to the governor's office. While standing in the middle of traffic, he shouted, "How do you expect me to make a living?" He then doused himself with the gasoline and set himself alight with a match at 11:30 a.m. local time, less than an hour after the altercation."
This single event precipitated the Arab Spring; a single act of despair and destitution in the face of petty corruption which led to the overthrow of many autocrats in the middle east as well as introducing many worse.
Are we really so sure we aren't getting towards this in the West?