Sunday Mail (UK) - - News -

The old adage that truth is the first ca­su­alty of war has never been truer than in the post-truth era.

Did yes­ter­day’s strike on Syria plunge the west into a new Cold War – with the US, the UK and France lin­ing up against Rus­sia in a proxy bat­tle in volatile, for­eign ter­ri­tory?

Or was it the world’s first act of war ne­go­ti­ated be­tween two su­per­pow­ers?

The now oblig­a­tory con­spir­acy the­ory would see the Rus­sians al­low­ing Don­ald Trump an act of mi­nor ret­ri­bu­tion to save face af­ter his lat­est Twit­ter im­per­son­ation of the lo­cal hard­man in the pub car park.

It says some­thing about the dark­ness the world faces where this grotesque sce­nario is by far the more palat­able.

It would cer­tainly make Theresa May’s haste to act seem slightly more for­giv­able.

Even her most per­sis­tent crit­ics would hes­i­tate to por­tray May as a blood­thirsty op­por­tunist ea­ger to boost her do­mes­tic rat­ings with a for­eign, mil­i­tary ad­ven­ture.

So, why on Earth did the PM rush to join an al­liance with Trump – strik­ing be­fore the ar­rival of chem­i­cal weapons in­spec­tors, es­chew­ing the voice of Par­lia­ment and en­ter­ing murky le­gal ter­ri­tory? Not to men­tion the risk of reper­cus­sions from an in­creas­ingly un­hinged Rus­sian regime.

The Cold War com­par­i­son is ap­po­site only to a de­gree. Be­tween 1945 and 1990, no se­ri­ous shots were fired in anger. The use of nerve agents on en­emy soil was not a fac­tor.

This is much more se­ri­ous. May will not have to search far for flak in the com­ing days. And plenty of it will be mer­ited.

Apart from any­thing else, the PM’s rush to in­volve­ment stands in stark con­trast to her ap­proach to deal­ing with the Syr­ian refugee cri­sis.

She couldn’t run far enough from her moral re­spon­si­bil­i­ties then, leav­ing the EU and Ger­man chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, in par­tic­u­lar, to pick up the slack.

Beware the critic, though, who of­fers no al­ter­na­tive other than to stand aside and turn a blind eye to Bashar al-As­sad’s lat­est atroc­ity.

We can­not be­come numb to state­spon­sored chem­i­cal at­tacks on chil­dren be­cause of the bar­baric re­cent stan­dards in the re­gion. Or be­cause of the ap­palling fre­quency with which this sort of atroc­ity takes place.

Nor should much at­ten­tion be paid to the apol­o­gists who claim there is not enough ev­i­dence to jus­tify a re­sponse. They de­serve lit­tle more than con­tempt.

Syria is the world’s prob­lem. Stand­ing aside be­cause it’s just too dif­fi­cult to solve is not a vi­able op­tion.

Why on Earth did the PM rush to join an al­liance with Trump?

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