Opinion / Chen Weihua

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

By Chen Weihua (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-19 07:13

The good, the bad, and the ugly of the USUnited States President Barack Obama, a 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate, has declared two wars in the last two weeks, but they are of totally different kinds.

On Tuesday, he announced a war on the Ebola epidemic by ordering 3,000 US military personnel to the West Africa region and promising additional healthcare workers, medical supplies and field hospitals. It shows the power of example that should be followed by more countries.

Such a laudable act came less than a week after he declared another war to degrade and destroy the Islamic State group through a systematic campaign of airstrikes. On Monday and Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that US fighter jets conducted five airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq, bringing the total airstrikes there to 167.

There is no doubt that IS, as an extremist group, should be stopped and destroyed. But that will not be achieved with just airstrikes, which do not address the root causes.

Obama dramatically escalated drone strikes in recent years, which have not only made him and the US much less popular in the world, but also become a recruitment tool for some terrorist groups. The US has since dialed down the drone strikes.

The prolonged bloodshed, chaos and devastation in Iraq continue to be a daily scene 11 years after the US invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. Many people, both inside and outside Iraq, have asked whether the country is really better off today than under Saddam Hussein.

As if the chaos in Iraq is not enough, the US, again in the name of spreading freedom and democracy, continued its support of regime change in the region to get rid of leaders unfriendly to the US while ignoring or even protecting dictators who are US allies.

In 2011, the US and its NATO allies abused a UN Security Council resolution on a no-fly zone over Libya to topple the government.

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