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Rice's finger-pointing should be at the US

Updated: 2013-11-22 07:20
By Chen Weihua ( China Daily)

Rice's finger-pointing should be at the USUS National Security Advisor Susan Rice talked about the United States' policy in Asia at Georgetown University on Wednesday, clearly in a bid to reassure the region of the US' commitment to its rebalancing strategy. That resolve has been called into question after President Barack Obama canceled his trip to Asia in October due to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Obama may still not have any appetite for Asia these days as he has been struggling with the aftermath of the mismanaged Obamacare website. That crisis has brought down his approval rating in the US, according to various surveys.

As Rice laid out the US vision for enhancing security, expanding prosperity, fostering democratic values and advancing human dignity in the coming years, she either pointed accusing fingers at China or made pointed remarks.

It's no surprise that the US is assuming the role of the world's policeman or that it is claiming the moral high ground, although no government figures in any other country would make similar statements to those uttered by Rice.

The question now is how effectively can the US still play the role of world policeman given the world is becoming increasingly multi-polar, and how much moral high ground the US still can claim given the many blunders it has committed over the past decade.

Rice was said to be talking about peace and prosperity. Yet just minutes after starting her speech, she had already immersed herself in displaying the US' firepower by reiterating that the US will base 60 percent of its fleet in the Pacific and there will be cutting-edge capabilities for Pacific Command. She urged the US allies - Japan, the Republic of Korea and Australia - to take greater responsibility for regional security. But she did not say what such military posturing is aimed at.

It is both shameless and laughable for Rice to describe the Chinese government as sponsoring cyber theft, now that the whole world knows that the US National Security Agency is by far the largest hacker in the world.

Rice also said that while the US diversifies the ways it does business with China, it will continue to champion respect for the rule of law, human rights, religious freedom and democratic principles.

While China has plenty of room to improve in all of these regards, the US is no longer qualified to lecture others.

On Tuesday, Rice denied reports that the US plans to apologize to the Afghan people in a deal that would allow US troops to remain there beyond 2014.

Reuters reported earlier that Obama agreed to apologize in a letter to the Afghan people, admitting mistakes made during the "war on terror" and the suffering of the Afghan people, including a shooting rampage in 2012 by a US soldier in southern Afghanistan that killed 16 people, mostly women and children.

At least tens of thousands of innocent Afghan and Iraqi civilians have died since the US-led invasions a decade ago. And Rice felt no remorse for that.

The US is also not a good example of rule of law as demonstrated by the Guantanamo detention center. Obama vowed on his first day in office to close the infamous prison, yet today there are still 164 suspects being kept at the US naval facility in Cuba, without a trial, let alone a fair trial.

Last Friday, I met Medea Benjamin, founder of the peace group Code Pink, in the elevator of the National Press Building. She was busy organizing activities for the massive anti-drone protests set for Washington, D.C. that weekend.

And a group of Yemenis, whose loved ones died during US drone strikes, were in the US capital to pressure the Obama administration to stop the killing and terror caused by the drones.

Rice should acknowledge all these wrongs and reflect on the actions of her own government before pointing her finger at others.

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

(China Daily 11/22/2013 page8)