Kenya Mall Attack: Now Is Not The Time To Go Wobbly

2013-09-28 09:40

Whatever your thoughts on the Global War on Terror (GWoT), the loss of innocent life is something that should concern, shock and dismay us all. The fact that innocent civilians may die in the name of terrorism, or the attempts to suppress it, is deeply disturbing. It is the basis of humanity that all of us should, at least, feel uneasy when this happens. I strongly condemn the brutal murder of innocent people at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Kenya. And I hope it is a sentiment that is widely held by all.

The Kenyan people have paid the ultimate price for attempting to defend its own territorial sovereignty and, at the behest of regional powers, return its neighbour state semblance of normality. Not only do I fully support Kenya's right to do so in the first instance, I also believe that, with the international consensus it had to intervene in Somalia, it was right to do so in the second. Considering my hawkish tendencies, I am more willing to supportKenya's position in the second instance, even in the absence of international agreement, provided that it had made a case in terms of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) criteria. It is also why, in principle, I believe that something needs to be done about Syria, even if Russia and China may disagree.

Accordingly, I submit that Kenya's decision to tackle Al Shabaab was both legitimate and justified. It was not a senseless incursion without evidence of malfeasance. Nor was it an attempt to annex territory or resources. It was, if anything, a case which demonstrated the classic grounds for going to war and,  possibly simultaneously, also illustrated how an R2P justified intervention should occur.

But, as the name suggests, terrorism is itself indiscriminate and unflinchingly brutal. While the deaths may send reverberations through the Kenyan political elite, and the elites of other countries who fear that the same may happen there, it is my sincere hope, that at a time like this, Kenya's politicians may stand together in the solemnity occasioned by death and in the firmness of belief. And I hope the world will stand with them.

We cannot, and must not, abandon the principles that are foundational to our own state, and a stable world order, merely because we face intense and deadly opposition. To do so would be an abdication of responsibility to all law-abiding and right-living citizens. It would also amount to a capitulation to those who would destroy us. It is tantamount to saying that we shall curtail our own beliefs, and our defense of them, for fear that others who disagree with them, may harm us for holding them. That can never be entertained.

As Margaret Thatcher said to the then US President, George Bush Snr, at the time of the First Gulf War, "Now is not the time to go wobbly."

Kenya must stand firm. And the world must stand firm with them.

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