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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 January 13 - 19  > Obama should abandon hegemonic policy
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2016 January 13 - 19 [WORLD]
editorial 

Obama should abandon hegemonic policy

January 15, 2016
Akahata editorial

U.S. President Barack Obama said in his final State of the Union address on January 12, “How do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?”

He also mentioned the need to reform “the international system built after World War II”, keeping in mind the convulsions in the Middle East, the emerging Chinese economy, and Russia’s recent moves. His statement reflects the fact that it has become more difficult for the United States to maintain its international influence only by policies of containment and intervention backed by the power of the military and military alliances.

US airstrikes on IS cause global concern

Since the latter period of the George W. Bush administration, Washington has sought to resolve international disputes through diplomatic negotiations, while sticking to its military hegemonism. President Obama stressed that American people should learn “the lesson of Vietnam, of Iraq” to prevent the U.S. from getting bogged down with military intervention. This remark has attracted international attention.

The question is whether the Obama administration is acting in accordance with “the lesson”. Obama went on to state, “America will always act alone if necessary,” while flaunting the nation’s largest military power in the world. He added, “On issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight.”

If the President is calling on U.S. allies to share more of the military burden, it means that his government is still working to ensure its hegemony against the backdrop of military strength.

It is arousing concern that Obama emphasized the “success” of the U.S.-led coalition’s nearly 10,000 airstrikes on Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria and expressed his intent to continue with the operation. The global community, including the United States, has shared an understanding that war cannot eradicate terrorism. Obama said himself, “even without ISIL, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world. Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks.” The U.S.-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq created chaos, which consequently led to the rise of the IS militant group. Thus, the U.S. is responsible for the current state of the region. Therefore, it should break the vicious cycle of war and terrorism and help stabilize the situation.

The U.S. once withdrew all its troops from Iraq. However, President Obama intends to dispatch a group of military advisors and send more special forces units to Iraq again, seeking to eventually have 3,000 military personnel stationed there.

On the other hand, President Obama himself admits to the need for the U.S. to make diplomatic efforts and engage in international cooperation so as to settle global issues. In his State of the Union address, he cited the following as achievements: the conclusion of the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program; the normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba; the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change; and the global effort in the fight against Ebola. Like these, there are roles that the U.S. can actively play in establishing peace and stability in the region and the world based on public opinions at home and abroad.

Supremacy by force should be abandoned

President Obama also noted the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement in his address. He said that this pact will “advance American leadership in Asia”, adding, “With TPP, China doesn’t set the rules in the region, we do.” These statements seem to imply that the U.S., with China in mind, would go into a struggle for economic dominance rather than respecting the economic sovereignty of other countries.

President Obama stated the U.S. will not become the world’s policeman. If the United States is really ready to support international cooperation, it should not give priority to the continuation of its hegemonic power.
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