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US should eschew interventionist policy

Updated: 2014-01-10 07:47
By Chen Weihua ( China Daily)

The spillover of the Syrian civil war into neighboring countries, such as Lebanon, reflects the failure of the US interventionist policy. In Iraq, the spillover has enabled al-Qaida-linked insurgents to capture the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar province, making the situation in the war-torn country more tragic and uncertain than many people think. And despite Obama's claim that al-Qaida is on the run, the terrorist organization is now active in more countries in the Middle East than in 2003.

Obama wouldn't have realized how shocking the result of WIN/Gallup International's End of the Year poll would be when, in his address to the UN General Assembly in September, he tried to justify the US interventionist policy. The survey of 66,000 people across 65 countries found that "the US is the greatest threat to peace in the world today". A Pew Center survey covering people in 15 countries in 2006 had produced a similar result.

In the WIN/Gallup poll, the highest number of people (24 percent)said the US was the greatest threat to world peace, and most of them were from the Middle East and North Africa, where US military intervention, including drone attacks, has been at its worst. Such public outcry is a rejection of the US' Middle East policy, at least as we know it since Bush's tenure in the White House.

In the months and years ahead, the US is likely to supply more heavy weapons, such as Hellfire missiles, Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, to the Iraqi government to help it control the fresh escalation in violence in the country and the region.

But the past decade has shown that military power and intervention cannot resolve conflicts or redress people's grievances. It's time the US formulated a new Middle East policy that does not rely on these two elements.

The author, based in Washington, is deputy editor of China Daily USA. Email:

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