Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Let Mideast people solve their region's problems

By Han Dongping (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-23 07:40

Let Mideast people solve their region's problems

US President Barack Obama and Congress are discussing the prospects of more military involvement in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It seems the US administration is repeating a distinct pattern of its foreign policy. The American media demonize a country before American politicians talk about American responsibility to help the people of that country. The US demonized Saddam Hussein and invaded Iraq riding on the back of a series of lies. After several thousand casualties on its side, and close to 1 million casualties on the Iraqi side, the US managed to completely destabilize Iraq as a nation.

Before that, the US demonized the Taliban in Afghanistan and invaded that country. With a cost of a couple of trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides, Afghanistan today is in a mess.

After demonizing Moammar Gadhafi for years, the US, together with France and Britain, once the most powerful colonial powers, got a UN "permit" to bomb Libya. The bombings decimated Libya's infrastructure and toppled the Gadhafi government. Now Libya is politically and economically in ruins with a civil war raging on.

Syria, too, would have suffered the same fate as the other three countries had Russian President Vladimir Putin, backed by China, not put up effective resistance to US plans.

Obama and US Congress leaders still suffer from the missionary mindset when they discuss their "responsibility" to fight the IS. However, they only have the responsibility of helping themselves. There are enough problems within the US for them to solve. They do not have the responsibility of messing with other people's problems and lives. US leaders have to let people in the Middle East deal with their troubles in their own way, because the US does not have the responsibility to create any more mess in the region or elsewhere in the world.

If the US gets further involved in the fight against the IS, it would be entering a big trap. The IS fighters hate the US, a feeling shared by plenty of other people in the Islamic world, for its foreign policy toward Muslims. In fact, American involvement would be the best advertisement for the IS to recruit more people to fight US imperialism. It would be very difficult for the US to get out of the quagmire once it gets deeply involved in the fight against the IS.

Obama is reported to have sent National Security Adviser Susan Rice to China to convince it to join the US-led fight against the IS. China doesn't seem to have fallen for the trick. As a matter of principle, China should never join the US or any other country in interfering in (let alone messing with) other countries' internal affairs. China has no conflict with the IS at this point and, hence, it should not draw fire to itself by joining the US in the fight against the IS.

It is best to leave the IS problem for the people of Middle East to deal with. Other countries' involvement in the Middle East will only complicate the situation further and make things worse.

The author is a professor at Warren Wilson College, North Carolina, US, and a guest professor at Hebei University, Hebei province.

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