CHARLES GRAHAM - Must Britain always be on the front line?

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FOREIGN Secretary William Hague says he cannot rule out our troops’ going into Syria.

As most of the world wrings its hands at a growing catalogue of horrific massacres, it comes as no surprise to hear a country with something of a track record for intervention over recent decades speaking in such terms again.

But while many agree that alternatives are fast running out, it is undoubtedly with a feeling of dread that we listen to these increasingly combative statements. After all, we are still extricating ourselves from the complex and costly campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And with Russia still staying loyal to President Assad (for now), the UN is powerless to take action. Which means Nato again, which would no doubt mean British and American troops taking the lead again while partners who always like to be big players in political and financial fields suddenly relegate themselves to ambulance and catering duties.

In short, I ask: “why us again?”

Britain may like to punch above its weight and may still carry guilt from the old empire; it may also carry some pride in tackling some of the world’s most despicable regimes when others have persistently flinched away (forever insisting there is a diplomatic solution, regardless of months if not years of negotiation failures and a ballooning body count).

But surely we’ve done more than our fair share of world policing already. If it comes to intervention, then let some other countries shoulder the greater responsibilities for once.