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US capability to intervene not to be underrated
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15:11, November 30, 2007

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The American government-sponsored Middle East peace xonference at Annapolis, Maryland, the U.S., on Nov. 27, was the biggest ever conference of its kind on the Middle East issue so far called by the United States in recent years.

In addition to the Palestine-Israel issue, the United States has, since early this year, still resorted to varied means to “manage” world affairs, stationing troops in Iraq, chasing and annihilating Taliban militants, defying or resisting to Russia, intimidating Iran, imposing punitive measures against the Sudan and meddling in the current political situation in Pakistan…

People, however, seem to have seen the ability falls short of the U.S.' wishes. When it became aware that was no timetable for the resumption of peace and tranquility in Iraq, the United States keeps revamping its policy toward Iraq and, faced with a formidable Iran, it did not take further action apart from sanctions that had been imposed upon it. On the Korean Peninsula Nuclear Issue, it has made some headway only with the help and assistance of China, the Republic of Korean and other relevant nations… Then, is the capability of its overseas interference really declining?

There are three main factors contributing to its inability to stand the strain:

First, the relative strength of the United States, or its weight, has declined in a global setup. And its strikes and embargoes imposed upon some countries can hardly result in a substantial effect due to the in-depth growth of economic globalization, the fast spread of capital and technologies and the continuous proliferation of new emerging economies. Meanwhile, the gradual democratization of an international order has also limited the space for the U.S. to brandish its might.

Second, the U.S.' soft power, such as its own power of inspiration, attraction and mobilization, has somewhat descended. So the U.S. has to seek support from its allies wotj regard to all its interventions in the past history. After its outbreak of the Iraq War, nevertheless, it has been rare and difficult for the nation to draw wide-ranging and instant approval worldwide.

Finally, domestic factors in the U.S. also have an impact on its overseas intervention intensity. To date, the new conservative forces, which advocat for unilateralism, have gone downhill, and the incumbent Republican government is restrained by Capitol at the helm of the Democrats; a sense of defeatism inflicted by the Iraq War has dampened the confidence of general public in the government and the mighty rallying-power aroused after the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001 has been squandered.

Nnevertheless, the primary factor for the successful intervention of global affairs is the hard power. In term of hard power or strength, the United States still ranks first. Its intervention capacity via the combination of economic means with coordinated military threat and remote or distance strikes remains very powerful and formidable.

Some views hold that the U.S. is still alive with a tendency to increase its advantages over other nations in view of national strength, science, technology and education, and particularly in military. In spite of immense costs endured wrought by the Iraq War, its hard strength is still inadequate to sustain its intervention of international affairs to some extent.

Moreover, from a long-term point of view, the U.S. does not have a matching foe in a relatively long period to come. Although some regional powers have grown in strength, they do not intend to challenge its status and so they neither firmly support nor stay in a vehemently opposition to the intervention actions of the United States. This point is indicated distinctly by recent postures of the new French and German leaders to amend their ties with the U.S. respectively.

As for the U.S.' domestic factions, the zeal or enthusiasm of either the Republicans or Democrats for overseas intervention will not subdue as long as they are in power and, what different is nothing but their focuses of attention and ways of solution they are good at.

At present, the U.S.' intervention capacity is peerless and this advantage will remain for a fairly long period of time. Confronted with regional crises and global issues, the United States, if not over-pursuing unilateralism and benefiting from some coordinative factors, will possibly enhance is capacity for intervention overseas.

Furthermore, the decisive factor is within the U.S territories and, in other words, global stability in the years ahead is, to a great extent, decided by how the American people relard or look upon international disputes, and whether or not they are able to contain and how to contain their government.

By People's daily Online and its author is Liu Weidong, a noted associate researcher with the Institute of American Studies affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

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