The good, the bad, and the ugly of the US

Updated: 2014-09-19 07:13

By Chen Weihua(China Daily)

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The unfolding civil strife in Libya clearly did not bring freedom and democracy to the local people. Instead, recent photos of Islamist extremists posing with commercial airplanes they seized at Tripoli airport show how horrible the country has become. It does raise the question if Libya today is better off than under Muammar Gaddafi.

Moving on to Syria, instead of continuing to pursue a diplomatic means for an inclusive government, Obama prematurely announced that Syrian President Bashar Assad must go despite the fact that his own approval rating at home now hovers around 40 percent and disapproval rating 55 percent according to a Gallup poll. The US and its allies also chose to arm the rebels that further escalated the violence in the country.

As is known, many of the US weapons supplied to the Iraqi army and Syrian rebels, such as howitzers, Humvees and powerful machine guns, have fallen into the hands of the IS extremists.

With an unparalleled military, the US is tempted to believe that firepower is the way to solve world's problems. But its experience in the Middle East over the past decade should have shown it otherwise.

There is no doubt that barbaric beheading of two American journalists and one British aid worker by IS extremists should be condemned. But while the tragedy of the three received non-stop media coverage, people should also ask why the hundreds or thousands of civilians killed by US drones are largely overlooked.

Terrorism now poses an increasing threat to more countries in the world, but hard power may not be the most effective way to uproot these elements.

More war equals more extremism, the slogan carried by Medea Benjamin, founder of the anti-war NGO Code Pink, when she disrupted a Senate hearing on IS on Tuesday, may carry some truth.

The author, based in Washington, is deputy editor of China Daily USA.

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