Europe and Syria
There will be a debate – and later a vote – tonight on whether to strike Syria or not with the Conservative party advocating the motion and the Labour party having a split vote. While the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has announced that he will vote against it he is allowing the members of his party to freely vote on either side (BBC, 2015). The uncertainty of the situation is as a result of political instability in the UK especially with the Conservative party’s current austerity policy.
There is no indication as to what the UK could contribute with the Syrian-Russia alliance and the US-led coalition already bombing parts of Syria where ISIS forces are located. France has also been relentlessly bombing in Syria after the attacks on Paris last month. If anything, a race is occurring with states of different political structures racing to destroy ISIS. The leading question is for what reasons do all of these forces have to contribute to the conflict. Especially when the UK cannot afford a military budget – not unless it sacrifices the UK’s service sector (NHS, public education, increased housing prices) which it will have to do should the motion go forward.
Social structure change
From a constructivist perspective, ISIS has changed the social structure of the state system – especially after the Paris attacks. This has created new grounds to build upon a new structure suiting the image of the victor. Meaning anyone who defeats ISIS leads the world as the new hegemon. Therefore, the balance of power is shifting from the unipolarity of democracy to the inclusion of other structures – making it bipolar when including Russia or multipolar when including the other BRIC countries who have been silent on the issue (Baylis, 2014, pp.104-6).
In the long run, the only reason that the UK would want to contribute to the on-going conflict is to contribute to the winning side. The side which is likely to gain from the large oil reserves in Syria and Iraq as well as recognition from the international community besides being a permanent member of the UN Security Council – therefore, fulfilling its duties as a liberal democracy alongside France. However, should the motion tip towards the Labour vote, it would mean the UK would display a transition in its inner politics – from Tory to Labour – as a reflection of the transition of UK society and its priorities towards equality.
By Abdullatif AL-Mannai – a guest writer under our “Bamboo Shoots Scheme” which endeavours to help young IR students make their appearance in academia.
Baylis, J. Smith, S. Owens, P. (2014). The Globalization of World Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
BBC. (2015). Syria air strikes: What you need to know. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34931421 [Accessed: 2 December 2015]
Featured image: Al Jazeera http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/thousands-rally-uk-spain-bombing-syria-151128165623222.html