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Values are thin excuses to start new wars

(Global Times)

09:45, February 07, 2012

The US is apparently angered by the vetoes of China and Russia concerning the UN Security Council resolution on Syria. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it "a neutered Security Council." The US and Europe are likely to move against Syria without UN backing.

China and Russia are acting within the UN framework, but the US and Europe are trying to set their own rules. In the 2003 Iraq war, France and Germany shared the same stance as China and Russia. During the Bosnia-Herzegovina war in the 1990s, the UK and France sided with Russia.

It is far different now. Shared values are bonding Europe and the US again diplomatically. They both adopt this value diplomacy as a powerful tool in the current global competition. With their declining technologic advantage, values are being applied to widen the gap between the West and the developing countries.

The US still enjoys dominant military power, which helped it win the Cold War and smash the Milosevic and Saddam regimes. But now it faces economic competition from emerging countries, where military power cannot help directly.

The Arab Spring is extending revolutions to wider regions, giving a debt-stricken West an opportunity to catch its breath. If it continues to create ripples, the current world economic growth structure may be disrupted. Similar "revolutions" will be encouraged by the West around the world. Their military power will make sure resistance to such "revolutions" is removed.

However, it is currently the worst fiscal climate for the West since World War II. They cannot copy the post-war Marshall Plan to build several democratic model countries with strong financial support. The economic takeoffs of Japan and South Korea, largely a result of their alliance with the US, may not happen again.

But the US is still capable of toppling some countries. Value diplomacy, amplified by the Internet, is unseating some small regimes and causing disturbances in larger nations. The budding of "revolutions" has a clear source in the West. In the Arab region, they largely decide where the "revolution" takes place.

The fate of today's Iraq and Afghanistan is completely different from that of Japan and South Korea. Now the West can uproot a regime, but can hardly rebuild it. It remains highly uncertain what the transplant of Western values will produce in developing countries. Syria may be the next to learn.


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