When the war hawks were screaming for a hasty intervention in Syria, Phil Ochs’ ‘Cops of The World‘ came to mind, especially the lines ‘We’ll smash down your doors, we don’t bother to knock./ We’ve done it before so why all the shock?/ We’re the biggest and toughest kids on the block/ ‘Cause we’re the cops of the world boys, we’re the cops of the world’ In 1966, Phil Ochs saw the mentality in the West towards intervention in foreign countries. This continued for 50 years. Maybe in 1966 the West was the ‘toughest kids on the block’ and could afford to do this, however aggressive and imperialist it is, but nowadays, this power is fading, and will soon be gone. We can no longer afford to be so arrogant to dictate the world to our agenda, and to implement it by force.
We have seen leaders that once could declare war at a whim having to beg parliaments for support. Clearly the lesson of hasty action has been learned. What many war-mongers fail to realise is that the fight in Syria will continue, through the UN and other international forums. The power to build Coalitions of the Willing is no longer wielded by single countries. Just as the rule of law and of representative assemblies has been upheld domestically, so it must be internationally.
Ochs protested at the arrogance of interventionism, the reasoning that because we’re the biggest, we can do what we want. Our arrogance has not gone completely, as shown by the war hawks, in government or out, but it has died down, as shown by the vote in parliament. Our attitudes have changed, with a poll showing that large amounts of Brits don’t want war or intervention, nor do they think the ‘special relationship’ is important anymore, with 67% polled saying that they don’t think it’s relevant. This may finally be the end of British imperialism.