From the Revd Andrew Sweeney
Sir, - The recent parliamentary vote on action against the
Syrian regime, and the evident public distaste for military
engagement abroad, raise the possibility of reflection on the UK's
present and future part in global politics.
Rather than despair at the idea that Britain is no longer
"punching above its weight", I wonder whether there is hope that
this stance represents a new realism, that the world can no longer
be managed by the old Powers using the existing political-military
Dare we hope that Britain might lead the way into discussion of
alternatives in international relations, perhaps focusing on the
need for a new, effective, neutral body of international
peacemakers, free of the vested interests that keep the UN from
functioning successfully in this regard?
If only there were an institution or community that believed in
the ultimate victory of love and hope, and the possibility of
peace, justice, and mercy for all nations and people, and that
rejected the transitory and illusorypowers of strength through
economic exploitation and retaliatory violence; and if only such a
community were able and willing to speak with a prophetic
Perhaps such a community would gain the respect of the public
and a degree of influence over the political process. Might the
prayers of the Church of England be usefully employed so that such
a community may arise in the not-too-distant future?
49 Voltaire Road
London SW4 6DD
From Canon John Tibbs
Sir, - Your report "Syria: 'No clear right answer' as West
ponders its response" tells us that "the Government has committed
£348 million to help those affected by the conflict in Syria. This
represents the UK's largest-ever response to a humanitarian crisis"
News, 6 September).
Are we expected to applaud this? Or perhaps we can imagine how
little we taxpayers are helping those caught up in this conflict,
compared with the cost of the wars in which our forces have been
involved for many years.
Our Government will not now take part in military action,
somight best help Syria by supporting the countries to whichthe
refugees have fled.
We could afford it: we would be taking the better and the
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Bedford MK40 2RN