It is, sadly, a commonly trodden path. A UK Prime Minister has an early military victory – say, in the Falklands, Sierra Leone or Libya – and then believes himself (or herself in the former case) to be a charge of a global superpower. If only the UK used what power it does have to better effect!
Yet again, the US has decided it will intervene – without a proper game plan – in the Middle East. Yet again, it needs the UK to make this intervention look vaguely reasonable. Yet again, the only possible outcome will be ugly. In fairness, the outcome will be ugly even without intervention. It is a no win.
However, my bigger concern is the democratic deficit in all of this. I know of almost no one in this (admittedly atypical) part of the UK who thinks military intervention in Syria is a good thing; and of absolutely no one who can explain exactly what intervention will occur, why, and to what outcome.
A real world power, as the people of the UK know, would use that power independently. The PM may think military intervention would get him another lovely round of tea on the White House lawn; but in fact standing up and saying “You know what, we’re not going to allow you to repeat the same mistake yet again” would win him far more friends among his own electorate…