"The American 'rebalancing strategy' in the Asia-Pacific is not intended as a move to constrain China," said US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel earlier this month. Hagel also said that the US welcomes the rise of a prosperous, powerful and responsible China, which is in the interests of both sides. These words have been repeated by American politicians - in as much as they welcome China's rise, but the country should be 'responsible'. What is behind these words is the implication that China has not yet become a responsible country, a reference to the establishment of our air identification zone in the East China Sea and the safeguarding of Chinese sovereignty in the East and South China Sea.
Every country has the right to establish an air defense identification zone - indeed it was the US itself that started the whole idea. And the East and South China Sea disputes were provoked by Japan and the Philippines. The US should be held responsible for any fallout for its conniving with these two countries and obscuring the distinction between right and wrong.
The US might have a better chance of rallying others to its cause if it started by behaving like a responsible country itself. Unfortunately, the opposite has generally been the case. Take the Iraq war for example. The US asked the UN weapons inspectors to withdraw before they had verified their findings, then launched a war - without the authorization of the UN Security Council - based on the pretext that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The war caused mass casualties to innocent civilians. This was not just irresponsible; it amounted to a war crime, a matter which has been raised with the international court. The US shows not a hint of remorse or even any inclination to reflect on its conduct. Is this the way that a 'responsible' country should behave?
In the name of anti-terrorism, the US has launched abusive drone strikes in various countries in the Middle East and the horn of Africa, without the agreement of the relevant governments. The US navy launched an incursion into Pakistan to kill Osama Bin Laden without notifying the Pakistani government. Bin Laden's crimes did not justify America's disrespect for Pakistan's sovereignty. Where are we supposed to see any US 'responsibility' towards the international community in these actions, which violate both the sovereignty of other countries and established international principles?
US double standards are a mark of its own irresponsibility. Its stance on the Kosovo referendum was diametrically opposed to its response to the Crimea referendum. This simply provides Russia with justification for its own excesses.
Another indication of US irresponsibility lies in the inconsistency between its words and its actions. One the one hand, the US says that it will not take sides in any territorial dispute in the East and South China Sea. On the other, it claims that the Diaoyu Island issue is a matter for the US-Japan Security Treaty. What is even more serious is that the US command in Okinawa expressed its willingness to help Japan seize the Diaoyu Island.
The White House claims that its "Rebalancing Strategy" in Asia is intended to maintain peace and stability in the region, then it lends its support to provocative actions by Japan and the Philippines. The US glosses over Japan's alteration of it s constitution and its military expansion, and welcomes its lifting of the arms embargo. These irresponsible actions run contrary to maintaining peace and stability in the region.
Obama has just started his four-nation Asia trip. This will offer an opportunity to put America's status as a 'responsible country' to the test. It is not hard to predict Obama's intentions. Many of the countries he is visiting have territorial disputes with China. Will Obama be a peacemaker, or a troublemaker? Given the US history of irresponsibility, it is hard to place any faith in Hagel's words "not intended to constrain China". All we can do is to wait and see, and judge the US by its actions.
The article is edited and translated from 《奥巴马亚洲之旅是做消防员还是煽风者?》, Source: People's Daily Online, Author: Li Xuejiang