The Beijing News, China
‘World’s Policeman’ Not an Easy Role
By Gu Xiu Dong
The U.S. exerting constructive action in international affairs would be received favorably, but many Americans are not supporting its role as the 'world’s policeman,' nor do the majority of countries need one.
Translated By Kartoa Chow
29 July 2014
Edited by Gillian Palmer
China - The Beijing News - Original Article (Chinese)
On July 27, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said during an interview for the CBS column “Face the Nation” that “the world is a mess,” and the U.S. does not want to be the “world’s policeman.”
American officials have never mentioned that the U.S. would be the "world’s policeman." This past September, President Barack Obama commented on the situation in Syria, [saying] that “America is not the world’s policeman.” Since then, Obama has temporarily abandoned the use of force and instead has chosen to deal with Syria’s nuclear program through diplomacy and collaboration with Russia. During the commencement speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point earlier this year, Obama disagreed with isolationism and staying out of trouble, while disapproving of interventionism and acting as the world’s policeman [regarding] America’s approach toward foreign affairs.
However, international public opinion indicates that the world generally thinks the U.S. has played the role of world’s policeman in many international affairs. From aspects of American traditions on religion, culture and history, the U.S. proudly believes itself to be the “city upon a hill,” mankind’s “last hope,” endowed with “manifest destiny,” with the obligation to spread its values to the world. Similarly, as the world’s only superpower, the U.S. acknowledges its strategic interests around the globe and must protect them through intervention in international affairs. As a result, American foreign policy, whether leaning toward idealism or adhering to realism, has always carried an urge to intervene.
Yet playing the world’s policeman is not an easy role. There are several reasons why Albright said the U.S. did not want to be the world’s policeman. First, since George Washington’s era, there has existed isolationist thinking that [dictates that] Americans should not get involved in overseas disputes. This belief is often reflected in U.S. foreign policy debates. Second, the several conflicts that the U.S. has initiated or joined in the past 10 or so years have not yet achieved their respective desired goals. Several messes were created while exhausting national power. Third, the global financial crisis has caused the American economy to plummet. With a growing problem in its treasury, the U.S. has to consider cutting its defense budget.
Among these [problems], the lessons learned from the wars with Iraq and Afghanistan have deeply affected the American public’s view on the U.S. as the world’s policeman. Recently, conflicts occurring one after the other in the Middle East have also raised questions within the American and international communities toward U.S. policies.
This world is indeed a bit chaotic, but saying "the world is a mess” does not summarize every international situation. Overall, the pursuit of peace and development remains the main trend of the world. The world needs all nations to cooperate for the win. The U.S. relying on its own strength to exert constructive action on international affairs would be received favorably, but many Americans are not supporting its role as the world’s policeman, nor do the majority of countries need one. It is inevitable that the U.S. is somewhat entangled in the role as the world’s policeman.http://watchingamerica.com/News/243739/worlds-policeman-not-an-easy-role/