Syria – Calm Heads need to Prevail


The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) was solved by a trade off which was kept secret. Similar calm heads are required regarding the outcome in Syria.

The problem now for all politicians is the 24/7 media world, bloggers, Facebook and Twitter. Too many people, broadcasters and journalists report the simplest of comments and professional Tv and Radio journalists strike down any politician who has the courage and conviction to change their minds.

Politicians are now expected never to change their mind on any given problem. No one else in any society lives their lives under the same constraints.

People change their minds every day. A politician changes their mind and it is reported as a revolt, climb down, a sign of weakness.

I recall Denis Healey, when he was Secretary for Defence, making a statement in the House of Commons over the question of nuclear arms. He was shouted down by opposition MPs.

Afterwards he remarked that he thought the idea of having a parliament is that you listen to a reasoned argument and change your mind if you hear a better proposition.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was solved by a trade off which was kept secret. In order for the Russians to withdraw their missiles from Cuban bases the Americans agreed to remove their missiles from Turkey but asked the Russians not to make it public.

It appeared that the Americans had stayed strong and forced a climb down by the Russians. In the end diplomacy had worked, not the warmongers who wanted to have a crack at the Russians in a war that would have destroyed much of the USA and just about the whole of Europe.

It is to be hoped that diplomacy will solve the situation in Syria.

So far, most of the interviews I have heard on radio are driven by presenters hoping they will get a ‘declaration of war’ live on air.