Tit for tat or How To Deal With A Political Problem

Hands up all who remember tit-for-tat? It was a popular way for the media to describe a series of killings in the north. There was no need for the journalist to probe the reasons for any particular killing, no need to look at the political history and establish links between the nature of government here and the violence throughout the state. No, good old tit-for-tat was an easier diagnosis. The IRA was killing loyalists because loyalists had killed IRA people, and so the cycle of violence continued. It was a popular diagnosis to feed to the public in the south and to the British people: the north was filled with crazies, gangsters who thrived on blood-letting.

Now have a look, if you dare, at Syria. Russia, we’re told (yes, Viriginia, without proof) was behind the chemical attack on the Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter; Russia’s ally Assad is behind the chemical attack on Syrians when men, women and children suffered terribly. The fact that we have no evidence beyond some crying children being doused by a water-hose doesn’t seem to matter. Assad has used chemical weapons, and the US, with its willing allies  the UK and France, are going to do something about it.

What are they going to do? They’re going to give tat for tit. You used chemical weapons (look, we just know  you did, OK?) and we’re going to answer that tit with our tat of missile strikes and whatever else it takes to teach you a lesson. Granted, the lesson might be to strike back with a second and bigger tit, but we’re hoping that our tat will be so lethal and frightening, you’ll keep your tit in its holster. And who’s going to be at the head of this lethal/frightening assault? Why, the man who is making America great again, at home and abroad,  eho else but Donald J Trump. Hail to the chief titter.

Footnote.  All this within days of the Good Friday Agreement 20 years on, which has been hailed as the model for political solutions that reject violence and adopt negotiations. Now, Virginia, take that cat out the back and see if you can stop it leaping about and making that noise.

 

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