Sunday, 20 March 2011

And So The Tragedy Continues...

It has been a sad couple of weeks.

The events that unfolded in Japan following their 9.0 earthquake have been truly horrifying. Many terrible images were presented and repeated on global television screens. The death toll, in main due to the tsunami, continues to rise as hope evaporate for finding those missing. I have not yet been to Japan but my father was a frequent visitor who loved the country, so it is with deep emotion I view the horrors that have come to pass. This horror have only been compounded by the effects of the disaster on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility. I am not an expert on power stations but have received training on handling radioactive material and the effects of radioactive particles on the human body. Any enhancement above natural levels of radioactivity in foodstuffs in particular is not a joke: people will die through cancer because of it but since the effects will only be evident in statistics, they can usually be ignored by those who continue to support the use of nuclear energy. I always viewed nuclear power as the source of last resort; now I have to come out totally against it’s usage for large-scale energy generation. We will always have nuclear reactors; for instance their products are often have medical applications but we should not design facilities that if they fail, the potential for catastrophe is simply too great.

This morning we awoke to the news of air-strikes against Libya. Yes Gaddafi has proved himself to be a killer and now must fall but I have to be critical of the way that Foreign Secretary William Hague has handled the situation. The purpose of the no-fly zone should have been to allow violence to stop and not to escalate further thus allowing politics to re-establish itself. Since Hague came out for full regime-change this was simply no longer an option. Europe might as well as declared war on Libya from that point onwards.

Let me explain why.

Some of you might recall a blog I wrote in September 2009, Lockerbie: Business as Usual. . That blog put the decision of the then Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill into context as I outlined the strategic nature of British and European links with Libya and why the Al Megrahi case wouldn’t, couldn’t be allowed to stand in the way of Europe’s quest for natural gas that does not originate in Russia.. That is still the case so how could Britain maintain relations once regime-change has been called for? It would also explain why France has been so quick of the mark on this occasion. Germany on the other hand has stood back. I wonder if this has anything to do with renewed exploration for small-scale gas-fields in Poland?

Gaddafi has proved himself to be a terrible ruler and in doing so encouraged those who wish to see him overthrown bring full military weight to bear. He had nothing to loose when turning to the Chinese and Russians as potential energy partners, as he did this week. My guess was any such offer would have been also an attempt to gain a veto from either or both in the UN Security Council.

As for the people of Libya, let me quote a friend of mine who was evacuated from there a few weeks back. To put it in context, he was responding to John Kerry’s call for sanctions against the Gaddafi regime.

“I am an American trying to get out of Tripoli. Your suggestion of sanctions against Libya will only create hardship for the good people of Libya. History has already shown sanctions of such only creates hardship for the wrong people. Please refrain from such suggestions until the crisis days are over and the dust settles. Such suggestions at a critical time is blowing smoke in the wrong direction.”

Owing of the trade implications for Europe and investment already made by BP, trade sanctions were never an option. The situation has to end now in the overthrow of Gaddafi.

The smoke is now blowing for real. My guess that the five nations involved in the attacks will be satisfied with an Egyptian-style military take-over. As long as the investments are protected.
I hope that it will be soon over and that the people of Libya will be in control of their own destiny and be free in their own country with minimum of casualties.