By Li Wei
America’s global anti-terrorist operations after “9?11” have not really curbed the rampant terrorist activities. As its “military counterterrorism” approach has left one mess after another around the world, now, out of selfish interests, it is shifting its strategic focus to major-country competition, bent on creating more new troubles.
US becomes humanitarian crisis maker in pursuit of self-interests under the name of counterterrorism
The US was the victim of the “9?11” terrorist attack, yet, as it turns out, it has turned itself into the “victimizer” that forces American democracy upon other countries in the name of counterterrorism. Its anti-terror operations, partly to serve its own purposes, haven’t really put a brake on terrorism but have instead created more troubles for the world and more space for terrorist activities.
The US-waged Afghan war might carry some anti-terror elements in the beginning, but it deviated from the original path after US troops destroyed al-Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan and killed Bin Laden. For one thing, it tried to support a regime in Afghanistan that adopted American-style democracy, which quickly toppled when the 20-year-long war came to an end, even before the US troops were fully withdrawn. For another, what the US troops were up against in Afghanistan were not terrorist organizations, but the Taliban.
The US launched the anti-terror war in Afghanistan in order to bring up a pro-America regime and therefore obtain the strategic geopolitical advantage of containing surrounding countries. The result cannot be clearer: Afghanistan becomes the hotbed of terrorism, the country is in endless chaos, and the people there are living in dire agony.
What was worse, the US launched the second Iraqi war in 2003 still in the name of counterterrorism. To overthrow the Saddam regime and implement the so-called “democratic reform” of the Middle Eastern country, Washington even fabricated such false intelligence that Iraq “possessed weapons of massive destruction and had connections with al-Qaeda”. The war not only destroyed Iraq but also gave birth to Islamic State (IS), which has seriously damaged the national security of Iraq and Syria and become the bellwether of global terrorism, posing grave terrorist threats to the international community.
In addition, the US-led NATO has militarily interfered in the Libyan situation, leaving the country in the grip of battles among tribal warlords and its people in defenseless misery. The US also launched armed attacks against Syria to overthrow the current government that’s not to its liking, leaving the country in a protracted civil war and people’s lives always on the line.
It’s clear to all that the US, for its own interests, has gone amuck interfering in the internal affairs of other countries under the pretext of counterterrorism. It is not only a trouble maker but also a maker of refugees and humanitarian crises.
From counterterrorism to major-country competition, America creates unrest around the globe
The American hegemony is all but exhausted. Washington is so anxious to maintain it that it has shifted its strategic focus from counterterrorism to major-country competition.
However, the old way of maintaining hegemony with military strength has come to a dead end. Since the US was founded over 200 years ago, it has waged or participated in more than 200 wars, and its military operations more and more end up in crushing defeat, as well proved by the fiasco in Afghanistan.
On the other hand, American-style democracy is no longer viewed as the “universal truth”. Many developing countries that were under the colonial rule of the US-led West were forced to accept the American democratic system after gaining independence, but the political superstructure was so incongruous with the economic foundation that many of them have been plagued by constant turmoil and economic stagnation. A growing number of developing countries have realized western democracy cannot save them.
Refusing to accept its falling domination, the US thinks it’s the emerging countries’ rapid development that has challenged its superpower position, so after its international anti-terrorist operations have hit the wall, more than once, it decided to turn its eyes to China and Russia. While Washington cannot wait to veer from the anti-terror road, international terrorist forces centered on al-Qaeda and IS haven’t veered and continued to take the US as their arch target. In other words, America’s wrongdoings in counterterrorism have exposed its people to terrorist attacks.
The only way to uproot the soil that breeds and spreads terrorism is improving people’s lives through development. Only when we base our actions on the overall interests of the world can we fundamentally solve the terrorist issue facing the international community. Those at Capitol Hill must realize that the age of unilateralism is gone for good.
(The author is a researcher from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations)