THE use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria and allegedly by Russian personnel in Britain have rightly been condemned as barbaric atrocities which have no place in a civilised world.

However, by deciding to bomb Syrian targets in response, it would appear that Prime Minister May and Presidents Macron and Trump have learned nothing from previous attempts to deliver messages to abhorrent regimes in the world using military force. The examples of intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have left trails of destruction which have done nothing to improve the lives of the citizens of those blighted countries.

This short-sighted thinking is indicative of a failure to understand the mindset of autocratic dictators like Bashar al-Assad, who have an entirely self-serving focus on maintaining power by any means, and have nothing but contempt for what they see as the soft politics of democracy.

In the absence of finding any meaningful way of dealing with blatant evil, Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump have opted for little more than a token gesture, which they hope makes them look strong and decisive. However the message they have sent will certainly fall on deaf ears, and in turn they have allowed themselves to stoop to the level of imitating those who believe only in the use of military force to get what they want.

In justifying her actions, Mrs May has stressed that it was essential for America, UK, and France to “send a message” that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. For anyone thoughtful enough to look beyond the political rhetoric and the grandstanding, it is obvious that the bombing will have done nothing to change the mindsets of either Mr Assad or Vladimir Putin, except to strengthen their resolve to retaliate at some point. For Mr Assad, only total annihilation of any obstacle to his malign intentions will suffice, and our response will do nothing to alter that.

The UK was not under imminent threat of direct attack, and the Prime Minister could have opted to take soundings and discuss our response in Parliament, before taking precipitate action without any evidence of strategic thinking with regard to our longer term intentions in the region. It would appear that her desperation to curry favour with Mr Trump has prevented her from assessing the risks and possible consequences of conflagration in the Middle East.

Resorting to bombing on the scale carried out at the weekend fails to recognise the complexity of what is going on in Syria. At the hands of President Assad it has become a quagmire which has the ability to suck in all comers and to grow into a leviathan which could extend well beyond the borders of that country.

This kind of knee-jerk response gives the appearance of decisive action, but in reality demonstrates once more a limited ability to think of global political solutions which do not take us to the brink of world war.

Gerry Seenan,

Eglinton Terrace, Skelmorlie.

IT seems that it was the French and President Macron who instigated the bombing raid on Syria: Donald Trump being persuaded; the UK as camp follower.

I don’t object to bombing Syria if it would deter President Assad, and it was a small part of a bigger strategy. But there appears to be no strategy, just bluster and hot air from the West.

Theresa May is not an absolute monarch. She does not have the powers of a dictator. She is the leader of a minority government. It's time she found some humility and acted as one.

There are vast sums of laundered moneys sloshing around London, much of it Russian. If she wants to punish Putin, she should start there.

GR Weir,

17 Mill Street, Ochiltree.

DIDN’T a former Prime Minister say “it was the right thing to do” when joining in with bombing Iraq? And look how that turned out.

Gordon W Smith,

21 Baronscourt Gardens, Paisley.

JEREMY Corbyn is simply unsuitable to be a future UK Prime Minister.

Having kicked the anti-Semitism issue into the long grass he now wants to hobble Prime Minister Theresa May's ability to make command decisions ("'Bind the hands of all future prime ministers to wage war'", The Herald, April 16). Mr Corbyn's well-known attachment to many countries and regimes not favourable to Britain makes him the wrong candidate for the job. His position that the UN must pass a resolution before any action is taken is frankly untenable. It seems that the team currently in Syria to examine the alleged gas attack site are being thwarted in their efforts, hardly a ringing endorsement of the positions of "innocence" taken by Russia and Syria.

Nicola Sturgeon has also done herself no favours by backing up Mr Corbyn's position. We need strong government action to stop these horrific gas attacks. We will not get that if Mr Corbyn and Ms Sturgeon get their way. Pacifism only works when everyone is reading from the same hymn sheet.

Dr Gerald Edwards,

Broom Road, Glasgow.

JEREMY Corbyn is a great friend to Vladimir Putin. He will be calling for proof every time the latter does any new mafioso deed and may even look up one day to find Russian missiles descending upon himself. When Mr Putin ordered the shooting down of a Dutch airliner, the theft of half the Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea and the killing of Litvinenko with a lump of polonium, what need of proof in the Salisbury nerve agent case? We know that Novichok was devised to escape detection and stockpiled when Russia was pressured to sign a treaty banning chemical weapons.

The very fact that the Russians now blame us and lay down smokescreens to cover themselves, tells the world that fake news is their answer to accusations of wrongdoing and the utmost feigned anger, as if it was impossible they were not guilty.

What Comrade Corbyn is never going see is that Mr Putin is the arch barbarian and, having got away with it up to now, he must be understood and dealt with. Any sign of fear is the wrong signal. Being fearful of his response is a mistake.

William Scott,

23 Argyle Place, Rothesay.