If You Have A Hammer In Your Hand, You See Everything As A Nail

Thursday 19th February

I saw this quote a couple of days ago, and it keeps going round in my head.  So, what exactly does it mean?  In the context it was used; America’s knee-jerk reaction to everything, but in particular to Ukraine, is the military solution, in this case their threat to arm the Ukraine Government.  The logic being that if you have a strong military and lots of weapons, you will see every world conflict as a possible target for your planes and weapons.  We saw this in Afghanistan and in Iraq and now again in Syria.  It is debatable whether the military interventions in those countries left the people of those countries (or will, in the case of Syria) any better off.  All you can say with any certainty is that many hundreds of thousands have died as a result, many buildings were destroyed, much of the infrastructure of those countries is in ruins, and Democracy is in tatters (and a new generation of nails is growing up).  If you have a hammer in your hand, you see everything as a nail, indeed.  And we here are just as bad.  We had planes stationed in Cyprus (why, were the Cypriots our enemies?) and so, of course, we joined in the fun of bombing ISIS, even if the unreported consequence of that hammer reaction is people being killed on the ground.

In a typical Blair-Lite gung-ho stance our brave PM, from the safety of Downing Street, encouraged the overthrow of Gadhafi in Libya, and gave weapons to the rebels.  A small hammer maybe, but Gadhafi was certainly seen as a nail, with a particularly obstinate and obtuse head.  So bang him we did, almost rejoicing at his brutal end.  Now Mr. Cameron looks on at the pitiful state Libya has descended into and declares that only a ‘Political Settlement” will sort the chaos out.  Where we wonder was that political solution three years ago when we were arming one side (the good guys, of course) against the Tyrant.? Well, it was the Arab spring and of course we were helping Democracy.  The very same Democracy which has been snuffed out in Egypt (with weapons we sold them) when the people had the audacity to elect the wrong man.  Quick, fetch that hammer guys, another nail needs bashing.

And we have Israel too, the ultimate nail-bashers, who have found that amazingly no matter how many times they swing the hammer, those wretched Gazan nails keep rising up out of the wood and just keep asking for another bashing.  Anyone would think they enjoyed it.

And when you find a naughty child hitting their siblings with a toy hammer, the only solution is to take away the hammer.  Try giving the child a flower instead….