The People's Daily, China
Lifting America’s Veil of
“Maintaining Global Stability”
By Zhang Hong
The U.S. evidently feels that wreaking havoc in the Middle East is not enough. In recent years, it has turned its gaze toward Asia and the Pacific.
Translated By Nathan Hsu
14 December 2012
Edited by Kathleen Weinberger
China - The People's Daily - Original Article (Chinese)
Recently, two scholars engaged in a debate on the Huffington Post website over whether or not Obama could elevate America's standing and influence during his second term in office. Although their viewpoints differed, they shared one common thread: Without U.S. leadership, the world would be as a boat adrift in a storm. Is that really the case?
Let us examine the effects that the U.S. has had on its traditional strategic focal point, the Middle East, as well as its new focal point, Asia and the Pacific.
On Dec. 12, the U.S. officially recognized the newly-established "Syrian Opposition Coalition" as "the legitimate representative of the Syrian people." This seems to indicate that the U.S. desires a change in its "light footprint" strategy. However, can greater U.S. participation bring peace to Syria? Quite obviously not.
Since Syria's destabilization, the opposition faction's armaments have primarily come from Gulf states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. As the U.S. mainstream media has admitted, without these weapons it would have been impossible for the opposition to hold out until today. And with the close relationship between these states and the U.S., one cannot help but wonder if there is a connection.
Moreover, after the U.S. publicly recognized the opposition coalition, the UK's Sunday Times reported that the U.S. had promised to secretly provide arms to the opposition through its Middle Eastern allies.
More weapons, more bloodshed.
Even more worrying is that in conjunction with recognizing the Syrian opposition, the U.S. listed the opposition group with the most significant fighting capabilities, Jabhat al-Nusra, as a terrorist organization. As if this were not enough, the U.S. also requested that the opposition send a delegation to Washington as soon as possible, one of the objectives naturally being to determine which groups in the alliance are moderate and which are extreme, then decide how to support them.
If the Assad regime falls, will that alliance, forcefully divided from without, really be able to lead the people towards peace? If Syria, the "cornerstone of the Middle East," truly falls, what will become of the region? Will it be peaceful? It is hard to believe in such an outcome.
One could say that the U.S. is notorious in the Middle East.
It has spent nearly $1 trillion in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well costing the lives of thousands of American soldiers. However, thus far the two countries have remained volatile, suffering from numerous attacks.
Look, next at Libya. From the "no-fly zone" to air strikes, the impact of the U.S. was unquestionable. Having overturned strongman Moammar Gadhafi, the U.S. then turned on its heels and left, entirely ignoring the severity of fragmentation within the opposition coalition that they had hastily cobbled together. The new government is faltering, the south is embroiled in conflict and the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in an attack... yet these have become a bitter footnote within the turmoil.
Directly involving itself in a war and then leaving immediately afterwards is obviously an ineffective policy. The U.S. is beginning the formulation of its new Middle Eastern policy in Syria, and the price paid is naturally the peace and blood of the Middle East.
Still, the U.S. evidently feels that wreaking havoc in the Middle East is not enough. In recent years, it has turned its gaze toward Asia and the Pacific. The result has been the shattering of the harmony of the past.
Applying the term "smart power" to stirring up trouble has become the U.S.' most demonstrable strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.
At the same time as it has largely disarmed and reduced its global military presence, the U.S. has strengthened deployments to Asia. The U.S. president and high-level officials are also making trips to Asia. This series of actions has given its "friends and allies" in the region a backbone, as they hope to take advantage of U.S. backing to get a bigger slice of the pie.
The Philippines raised a dispute over Huangyan Island, and after failing to reach the desired effect, unabashedly roped in Japan, a nation that has committed atrocities against it in the past. The U.S. is more than happy to indulge, encourage and make use of such an eager tool.
On the issue of the Diaoyu Islands, the U.S. has previously given its official stance: It does not hold any position. However, Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta and other top officials have given conflicting statements. In China, they say that they do not hold any position, while in Japan, they have openly indicated that Article 5 of the "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan" applies to Diaoyu. In the end, the U.S. Senate emphatically affirmed Article 5.
When the veil of "maintaining global stability," is torn away, the destructive influence of the U.S. is abundantly clear.
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