Wanted: A Mayor Daley for Syria.

"Hey! You palookas had better stop fightin' and play nice or you ain't gettin' no share of this garbage contract!"

“Hey! You palookas had better stop fightin’ and play nice or you ain’t gettin’ no share of this garbage contract!”

Syria. Ooooer. Don’t like the look of that.

Let’s be honest, Syria is causing us middle of the road former Blairites a lot of aggro. Yes, we can agree that the Assad regime is made up of an awful crowd of bastards just itching for a good Tomahawking. We can also agree that democracy is a good thing.

But then it all falls apart. See, if the Syrian opposition was dominated by Paddy Ashdown types who spent the evenings after a long day fighting debating the pros and cons of the Single Transferable Vote, you’d say grand. The fear, however, is that many, if not most of them, are sitting around the fire discussing “Do we get the Christians before or after we get those uppity women who want to read books?”

We in the West have to realise one thing. Human rights and democracy are not the same thing. What do you do when the majority of people in a country vote in free and fair elections not just for people we disagree with (the Americans do that all the time) but people who actually want to supress or even kill minority religions or ethnic groups or women? What if rounding up the gays and putting them in camps is the will of the democratic majority? Does that make it right?

What do we really need in Syria, if we can’t get a nice Guardian reader style democracy? We need human rights andĀ order, stability, and peace. If Democracy means Syria becoming Iran, we don’t want it there. We want an authoritarian non-psychotic regimeĀ that maintains reasonable human rights and is stable. Like the former Mayor Daley Junior in Chicago. Neither the Assad nor Mubarak regimes were that. But I’m not sure arming the rebels will give us that either.

Morally, bombing chemical weapons facilities is probably justifiable in its own right. But in this civil war, the best we can probably do is try to get as many refugees as possible to safety, and help the Turks pay for it.

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