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US Interventionism Has Failed, But…

US Interventionism Has Failed, But…

Interventionism Has Failed, But…

By Zhao Jinglun

May 31 2014 "ICH"
- ""

America's military interventions have clearly
failed. The Afghan and Iraq wars have been strategic
disasters. And its intervention in Libya has proved
counterproductive. The American people are sick and
tired of thirteen years of unending wars. And
President Obama himself has promised to end wars.

Yet in his
commencement address at West Point delivered on May
28, Obama repeated the threadbare claim that "the
United States is and remains the one indispensable
nation," and that "America has rarely been stronger
relative to the rest of the world." And he asserted
that the question "is not whether America will lead
but how we will lead." He stressed that the military
will be the backbone of that leadership, but, he
acknowledged, military action cannot be the only --
or even primary -- component of U.S. leadership in
every instance. Parents applauded when he said the
first class to graduate from West Point since 9/11
may not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Obama said:
"The landscape has changed:" The U.S. has removed
its forces from Iraq and is winding down in
Afghanistan. The lesson is obviously not to rush
into military adventures. He even quoted from
Eisenhower that "war is mankind's most tragic and
stupid folly; to seek or advise its deliberate
provocation is a black crime against all men." That
was why he did not attack Syria and is reluctant to
commit U.S. ground forces in Ukraine. For which he
came under fierce attacks from all sorts of hawks.
The war-loving John McCain attacked the West Point
speech as insufficient response to global threats.
Fred Hiatt's Washington Post editorial page accused
Obama of "binding America's hands on foreign
But he stood
the empire's ground. He accused Russia of
"aggression towards former Soviet states" and claims
"China's economic rise and military reach worries
its neighbors." He further claims "regional
aggression that goes unchecked, whether in southern
Ukraine or the South China Sea…will ultimately
impact our allies, and could draw in our military."
That is
standing facts on their heads. It is America's
allies Japan and the Philippines and its new friend
Vietnam that are stirring up trouble and nibbling at
China's territory. It is deploying two state of the
art Global Hawks and a new X-Band Radar in Japan
that will put China under surveillance. Its military
has already been drawn in in a big way!
Obama also
boasted about isolating Russia. But Moscow is
turning even closer to China. Not even Germany's
Merkel wants to distance herself from Putin.
unequivocally stated: "The United States will use
military force if necessary, when our core interests
demand it."
But Obama said
he is focusing on growing the economy. He also
claimed that al-Qaeda leadership has been decimated.
Yet he admits the most direct threat to America is
still terrorism. Only he emphasized working more
effectively with partners. He called on Congress to
support a new counterterrorism partnership fund of
up to US$5 billion. He also insisted on continuing
the drone war, "with near certainty of no civilian
casualties." That is a lot of empty talk. The U.S.
drone war keeps killing more and more innocent
The Washington
Post said Obama was arguing for a new form of
American leadership that strikes a balance between
interventionism and "foreign entanglements." In
fact, he only made some long overdue tactical
adjustments. "It's the same old stuff with a
different label" as the Chinese saying goes.
author is a columnist with

Zhao Jinglun
was a Nieman Fellow, class of 1981. He is the chief
opinions writer for The Asian-American Times (NYC)
and a columnist for the Hong Kong Economic Journal.


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