World / US and Canada

Obama labeling China as 'free rider' in Iraq issue

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-04 07:50

BEIJING - China has played an increasingly positive role in the post-war reconstruction of Iraq, but the US seemed reluctant to acknowledge the Chinese contribution and, instead, ungratefully labeled China as "a free rider" that benefited from Iraq's oil.

The US accusation, which comes out of nowhere, is nothing but an attempt for Washington to find a scapegoat for its failed policy in Iraq.

In an Aug 8 interview with the New York Times, US President Barack Obama called China a "free rider" in Iraq for the last 30 years and blamed China for not taking more international obligation.

In a quite self-congratulatory note, Obama seems to be asserting the so-called "responsibility" of the United States in Iraq. But no one would fail to remember that it is precisely the politicians in Washington that have dragged the Middle Eastern country into a bloody war.

From Afghanistan to Iraq and Syria, the failure of the US Middle East policy is gnawing at the conscience of American leaders. Despite vast commitment and high causalities, the security situation in the region has only turned for the worse.

The emergence of extremist group ISIS in Iraq this July was a slap in the face of US foreign policymakers. The terrorists increased their strength during Syria's civil war and took advantage of the mess left behind by American troops in Iraq.

When it is time for explanation, Obama has unfortunately opted for an excuse. Rather than admitting an inconvenient truth, he tried to avert public attention to China, and in a quite old-fashioned manner.

Playing the card of international responsibility, Obama wants to win public support for his foreign policy, but his comment on China as "a free rider" is far from convincing and makes no sense.

After the Iraq War ended in 2003, China has contributed huge personnel and financial support to restore the war-torn country.

Incomplete statistics show that since US soldiers were pulled out from Iraq in 2011, up to 60 percent of the reconstruction funds came from China, and some 40 percent of substantial facilities, including hydropower stations and living quarters, were built with the help of China.

"When Western enterprises are evacuating from the war-torn country, Chinese companies are entering without any fear," the leading Chinese newspaper the People's Daily wrote in an article earlier last month.

It is obvious that the US is an "invader and deserter", while China has been a "partner and builder that has all along played a cooperative and constructive role", added the newspaper.

Obama has certainly turned a blind eye to the huge scale of China's post-war reconstruction efforts, which helped stabilize the turmoil-hit country.

Like some other Western countries, the US president is exaggerating China's economic prowess and downplaying its contribution to the international community.

Being the major source of UN peace keeping troops and assuming a pivotal role in pulling regional and world economy out of crises in 1997 and 2008, China, as the world's largest developing country, has made its due contributions to the world community.

China is an economic power. Its contribution, though largely in terms of trade, investment and infrastructure construction, has promoted regional and world stability.

Beijing has been working hard to build a new type of major-country relationship with the United States.

Washington should discard its stereotyped mentality of finding a scapegoat for its messy domestic and foreign policies.

If the US treats China as a true partner, it will certainly catch up with China's train of fast development and benefit from China's prosperity.

China is not a free rider, but a responsible stakeholder.

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