Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

7 Aug, 2014

A Chinese word to the ‘world policeman’: Who wants it, anyway?

By Hua Yiwen

Beijing, (People’s Daily Online), August 05, 2014 – In an interview with the highly-rated CBS program Face the Nation, former United States Secretary Madeleine Albright expressed the view that the world is in a mess, and stated that the U.S. no longer wants to act as the ‘world policeman’.

The U.S. enjoyed its role as the ‘world policeman’ for many years. In the 1990s, the United States launched the Gulf War and the Kosovo War. It also used military force repeatedly in Africa and Latin America. At the beginning of this century it launched wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meddling in the Middle East is also a longstanding American policy.

However, while acting as the ‘world policeman’ is hard work, the results have not been good. In Libya for example, three years on the people see few prospects of “freedom” and “hope” as promised by Obama, but rather a deteriorating security situation. Even America’s own diplomatic institutions feel threatened by continued unrest in Libya.

A U.S. public opinion poll has shown that over the past few years, the number of Americans opposed to military intervention in foreign countries has now surpassed the number of supporters, and the ratio keeps increasing. Faced with economic downturn and the plight of financial constraints, Obama has adjusted his foreign strategy accordingly.

After learning from the lessons of the war on terror for ten years, he has decided to launch the “Asia-Pacific rebalancing” strategy. The problem is that with this strategy the U.S. has succeeded only in fueling regional disputes in the South China and East China Seas, which has added to the difficulties in the Asia-Pacific region.

Now the U.S. tires of being the ‘world policeman’. But who wants the U.S. to keep the role? Excluding some countries and political factions who want to use the U.S. to upset their opponents, few countries really need the United States to be the ‘world policeman’. U.S. power is diminishing on the international stage, and the rising developing countries are demanding a greater voice.

The U.S. needs to rethink its international strategy. Promoting peace instead of causing trouble, “planting flowers instead of planting thorns”, and holding discussions with other countries instead of acting unilaterally are perhaps some positive options.

The author Hua Yiwen is an expert on international issues.

This article is edited and translated from 给世界警察指条路, Source: People’s Daily Overseas Edition