Readers respond to the western strikes against the Assad regime
The limited bombing of chemical weapons facilities in Syria by the US, France and the UK was proportionate and effective, and killed nobody (Report, 16 April). It was an act of defiance against the murder by the Assad regime of defenceless civilians, using banned chemical agents. It was also a warning to the propaganda machine in Moscow, made more necessary by the behaviour of its ambassador at the UN – who blocked all meaningful international investigations of or action against the poisoning of civilians. Unlike some Guardian readers (I do read your paper along with others), I am not going to offer public succour to Moscow and Damascus.
• Jeremy Corbyn’s view of diplomacy appears to modify Roosevelt’s maxim along the lines of “speak softly and carry a stick of rhubarb”. That is not to suggest the route the government followed is unarguably the best. Successful diplomacy requires not just good faith on both sides but also costs associated with the outcome (being the use of chemical weapons) which we are trying to avoid. It also requires a hard-headed recognition that the Syrian and Russian regimes, which are our counter parties, reflect Hannah Arendt’s totalitarian features of using systemic deception and the undermining of objective truth as tactical options and strategic ends.