No NATO peacekeepers for Libya, please

Why should it always be us who dives in? We are no longer an important country. It would be absurd to suppose that we have earned, or will earn, the smallest respect or gratitude around the world for having sent a few Tornadoes to bomb Gaddafi out of house and home.

The era of Western hegemony is coming to an end at frightening speed, as the global economy totters and wealth shifts Eastwards. We have a huge task on our plates merely to restore Britain to solvency.

President Obama flatly refused to play a lead role over Libya, and only reluctantly agreed to provide indispensable military support for Anglo-French air operations. Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her department agreed with our Foreign Secretary William Hague to recognise the Benghazi government as Libya’s legitimate authority, an unnecessary and foolish step.

The rebels responded by promptly murdering their own military commander. This may or may not have been a good idea, but it emphasised a fact obvious to all the rest of us: that the rebels are not the sort of people nice Mr Hague would fancy as weekend guests at his country residence at Chevening — or at least, only after putting the kitchen knives and croquet mallets beyond their reach.