Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, April 18, 2003

Personal View: After US Hawks Get the Upper Hand

Mao Zedong once said: Where there are the masses of people, there are left, middle and right sections. In the West, people generally divide the different attitudes in the aspect of foreign policies into the factions of the Hawk and the Dove. The Hawk, a carnivore, is fierce and tough; the Dove, a vegetarian animal, is meek in character.


At the beginning of the Iraq War, Iraqi army and people unexpectedly put up stubborn resistance, for a while, complaints from US public opinion were heard everywhere, blaming that Donald Rumsfeld was arrogant, underestimating the enemy and making improper deployment, thus causing setbacks to the coalition forces' offensive.

But as a result of Baghdad's unexpected abandonment of defense, the war situation turned abruptly for the worse, the US-UK coalition forces won easy victory without fighting hard battles, then there arose words in praise of US troops and commendation of Rumsfeld, making it seem that everything was under their expectations and control. This implies that the outcome of the Iraq War has further intensified the say of US hawks.

Mao Zedong once said: Where there are the masses of people, there are left, middle and right sections. So-called left, middle and right sections refer to the fact that different people and different groups or factions have divergent and even opposite views on the same thing and proceed to adopt different stands and policies due to the difference of their political status, economic benefits, historical and cultural concepts as well as living environments, personal dispositions and other factors.

In the West, people generally divide the different attitudes in the aspect of foreign policies into the factions of the Hawk and the Dove. The Hawk, a carnivore, is fierce and tough; the Dove, a vegetarian animal, is meek in character. It is vivid and graphic to use the Hawk and the Dove to respectively refer to the hard liners and the moderates.

Politics is extremely complicated. Of the Hawk and the Dove, it is hard to say which is better. Generally speaking, the two each have their advantages and disadvantages, the Hawk is strong, but it is radical; the Dove is steady but somewhat passive.

The reactions of the Hawk and the Dove to the same thing are often entirely different. For instance, with regard to the "9.11" incident, the Dove, rethinking on the basis of America itself, advocated that the United States should seek ways for the elimination of terrorism from America itself and should pursue multilateral cooperation in international relations; on the contrary, the Hawk became tougher and more aggressive and blustering, advocating that the "preemptive strike" strategy should be used to wipe out the forces that constitute threats to the United States, the Iraq War is precisely the product of the Hawk's "preemptive strike" strategy.

The Hawk's use of force naturally has its thinking logic. Generally, they have a blind faith in strength, especially make a fetish of armed force. An overview of history shows the Hawks usually act arbitrarily under two circumstances: first, when the country is prosperous and its strength is expanding, they are liable to become proud and conceited and bullying others on the strength of their power; second, at the time of crisis-ridden and deterioration of the situation, they often become desperate and impetuous and take the risks.

Japan and Germany in those years belonged to the category of the second circumstance. Japanese militarist and German fascist forces flagrantly launched the aggressive war against other countries in order to shift their domestic economic crises and political contradictions. The United States of today belongs to the category of the first circumstance. With sole global economic strength and their military strength far ahead of others, some Americans become excessively self-conceited, tough and haughty, use arms to strike violently against the small countries they regard as offensive to their eyes.In their eyes, they can ignore the requirement to abide by the international law and can pay no attention to the opposition of the people of various countries. Of course, US hawks are essentially different from Japanese militarists and German fascists, I put them together just for convenience in explaining things. A tough policy usually would produce quick results, for instance, the occupation of wealth and resources and controls over certain regions. These illustrious results naturally would evoke a burst of cheers and applause, so the popular support for the hawks rises sharply just like the bull stock. But many American people, while busy themselves celebrating victory, neglected the actual problem needing careful pondering: Can the hawks' tough policy be really tenable? Is it really beneficial to your country and yourselves?

Take the Iraq War for example, the coalition troops' victory will not necessarily be able to test and prove the hawks' logic of strength. We would rather say the Iraqi troops fought too badly than the coalition forces fought very well. If the opponent were a stronger one, then the casualty of the US troops would be doubled or redobled. If the casualty reached 3-4 digits, would US voters allow their sons to fight on for the hard liners?

The Iraq War has indeed given the United States the power to control Iraq's oil and a huge number of postwar reconstruction contracts. But those who have gained these are not the voters, but are the interested groups. Their interests are the factors to which the decision-makers give special consideration.

The Iraq War also caused the United States to lose something, the most important of which is American citizens' sense of security. The war act of unilateralism has, on the one hand, weakened the US-led counter-terrorist alliance, on the other hand, it has unavoidably intensified the contradiction between the United States and the Islamic and Arab world, the soil of terrorism will become deeper and more extensive, more American citizens will possibly become the objects of terrorist attacks.

Interests are shared by a small number of people, whereas panic is endured by all else. Have the American citizens who support the war ever thought of this consequence of the Iraq War?

The gradual loss of the moral force is a greater issue. Launching attacks on another country in circumvention of the United Nations for seeking hegemony and interests will inevitably lead to the loss of popular support and the loss of morality and justice, this consequence, though invisible and unfathomable, exerts far-reaching influence. Of course, this requires the impatient Americans to savor it slowly.

To sum up, the hawks emphasize strength to the neglect of justice; value interest and slight faith, pay attention to short-term things and neglect long-range things; tactically they are sagacious, strategically they are stupid; in appearance, they love the country; in actuality, they harm the country. Although the hawks are holding the great power of the United States, they will, after all, get nowhere if they persist in implementing a hard-line policy and unilateralism.

As an ancient Chinese saying goes, "It's unheard of that one can persistently hold the bow when it is already full." It seemed that President Bush also understood this truth, when he was lobbying for presidential election, he told the voters: If the United States is an arrogant country, others will detest us. If the United States is strong but modest, we will be widely welcomed by the world. Now it seems that President Bush has forgotten what he once said, or otherwise what he said was merely a casual talk.

By People's Daily Online

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