I believe, as a general rule, Governments achieve the reverse of their stated objectives. I hesitate to call it a unique universal law and there may also be other formulations. I first observed this in watching Governments at work in Australia. The Socialist, reformist Whitlam Federal Government did more to enrich the already wealthy and further impoverish the poor despite this being the reverse of its stated intentions. Similarly I noticed that the working man was better off under an avowedly conservative right of center administration while the wealthy marked time.
I then realised that what I was observing was not simple corruption, although there is still plenty of that, it is human fallibility. The actors I watched were honest striving believers. I know, but have not researched, the works of Isiah Berlin who perhaps among others observed that even good ends, diligently pursued, by their very nature preclude other good ends - good ends conflict.
International examples of this putative law are not hard to find. The desire of the British and French for "peace at any price" emboldened Hitler, resulting in the exact reverse of the stated intentions. Our recent attempts at establishing a purple fingered democracy in Iraq have resulted in the creation of a situation where at least some of us are longing for the relative peace and quiet of Saddam Hussiens Government. I am sure you can find even better examples.
This apparent law of nature seems entirely unknown in foreign policy circles in Washington, Canberra, Ottawa, London and other Western capitals. "Destroying ISIS" and "The Freedom of the Ukraine" are the stated goals and under that banner we embark on yet another crusade in the Middle East while simaltaneously poking the Russian Bear. What could possibly go wrong?
If we apply our new law, it is not hard to speculate that attacking ISIS does a number of things that are not in our interests:
1) It dignifies and recognises ISIS as a serious player in international affairs - A state with borders, leaders, spokesmen and institutions. By calling on other muslim states to participate in its destruction we risk internal destabilisation of those states themselves.
2) It makes ISIS a rallying point for every disaffected male muslim teenager and young adult in the entire world, not to mention the older and perhaps wealthier muslims who have had to put up with the thirteen years of injustice, discrimination and abuse dealt out to them by the West since 911.
Applying the law suggests the consequences of attacking ISIS will be to make it stronger, spawn associated radical muslim factions in Western countries and completely destabilize the Persian Gulf - the exact reverse of our stated intentions.
Similarly our efforts to confront Russia should actuallly strengthen its voice in international affairs, drive it closer to China and the other BRICS nations and weaken NATO and the European economy.
Not only do we need "hard hearted empaths" in Government, we need cynical well educated old men who understand: