Washington desisting regime change in Syria a welcome change

By Wang Wenwen Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/6 0:23:39

The White House acknowledged on Tuesday that the government of President Bashar al-Assad remains a "political reality" in Syria.

Last week, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, declared that the Trump administration does not consider it a priority that Assad be removed from power. As Haley is considered a weighty figure in artic-ulating the Trump administration's foreign policy, her words signal a US policy shift toward Syria.

It is a change that should be encouraged though it has come after a long time.

The explicit call from the US for Assad to resign came from then president Barack Obama in 2011 when the Syrian civil war began. Since then, voices calling for more military action against the Syrian government forces have become louder although the regime has much support domestically.

It's a long-held policy of the US to try to topple a regime it dislikes under the banner of humanitarianism or democracy. Regime change, or an attempt at, inevitably leads to bloody war,  be it in Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. More people are dying or living in chaos. In essence, this policy is motivated by geopolitical considerations. As Antoun Issa, senior editor at the Middle East Institute, noted, the sad reality of international relations is that the interests trump humanitarianism.

The Syrian crisis also created a hotbed for the Islamic State, which dragged the West into further quandary in the global fight against terrorism.

It seems that Western countries, especially the US, do not favor incremental but orderly reforms in non-Western countries and are prone to support chaotic revolutions in these countries. At the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the US made it clear that it wanted Assad to relinquish power, and that it would never accept any role for Assad in Syria's future. Under this approach, it seems the Syrian conflict could not be resolved peacefully.

The UN Security Council has the obligation to maintain world peace, but neither the UN nor any country has the right to topple the government of another country. This is the principle that China has been sticking to all the time.

The Trump administration should learn to change its proclivity to topple a regime at will. An appropriate Middle East policy for the US should be to expand its alliance system and promote progressive change rather than initiating on revolution by force.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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