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Chilcot Report a wake-up call for world
作者:Fu Jing…    文章来源:Fu Jing    点击数:76    更新时间:2016/7/23   

Politicians' decisions today will be judged by generations to come - leaders such as Obama should bear this in mind

With the aftershocks of the EU referendum result still reverberating, the UK has this month been confronted with the findings of the Iraq war inquiry, which criticized the Blair government for joining the US in launching military action against the Middle Eastern country.

The two events are phenomenal, but for different reasons.

The Brexit decision on June 23 came from a democratic exercise that has had mostly negative consequences for the EU, UK and other global players in the short term. The long-term impact is still unforeseeable.

Chilcot Report a wake-up call for world

Yet the Iraq Inquiry, published on July 6 by a committee led by Sir John Chilcot that probed the UK's first invasion and full-scale occupation of a sovereign state since World War II, has positive messages, although the war itself was merciless.

Chilcot has been paid about $1,000 a day since 2009, when he was appointed as the committee chairman, and his team has also been well paid. It was value for money.

In the lengthy report, Chilcot concludes that the UK chose to back the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 before peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. It says military action at that time was not a last resort.

The inquiry also concluded that judgments made about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction were presented with unjustified certainty. In addition, despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated and the planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate.

The findings in this report, which was started in 2009 as the UK withdrew its combat forces from Iraq, have been hotly debated, while the Iraqi people continue to suffer the aftermath of this conflict through bombings, shootings, hatred and separation.

There is much debate in the UK about preventing further mistakes in the government's decision-making process. However, the goals are too limited.

The UK has been a global player for years, and following in the steps of its ally, the United States, has got involved in conflicts in several countries. Britain should carefully review its decisions on invading countries and instead bolster a peace-loving culture among the public.

Of course, a similar inquiry on the Iraq war ought to be conducted in the US, which masterminded the invasion irrespective of United Nations resolutions. George W. Bush, who served as US president from 2001 to 2009, should face stern questioning, too.

Going beyond the content of the Chilcot Report, it offers a wake-up call for the world amid rising geopolitical concerns in many regions.

On July 8, when NATO leaders met in Warsaw, the BBC reported that a 500-strong British army battalion is to be deployed to Estonia, while 150 troops will be placed in Poland as part of the response to concerns over Russia.

Bloody actions, mainly because of a US presence, are also still happening in many places in western parts of Asia and North Africa.

The US has stood behind Japan, the Philippines and other Asian countries to trigger rising security concerns in the Asia-Pacific area since deciding to return to the region. Plus, the US and South Korea have decided to deploy the Terminal High-Attitude Area Defense, which was announced on July 8.

All these actions have unfolded mainly due to the competitive military capacities of the US and its longstanding hegemonic foreign policy. Just count how many wars the US has engaged in together with its allies since WWII. By contrast, China, the world's second-largest economy, has never invaded another country.

Quite the opposite, China has become more active in peacefully engaging with the world, even in finding solutions to disputes. It has been trying to create a chessboard on which all the players are winners.

The Chilcot Report reminds us that those politicians who resort to war are wrong and unwise.

Politicians' decisions today will be judged by generations to come. Outgoing British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama should bear this in mind.

If the fate of Blair is to be avoided, politicians in the West should not jump to the easy conclusion that "if you don't agree, I will kill you". That logic is not viable in a changing world.

The author is deputy chief of China Daily European Bureau. Contact the writer at fujing@chinadaily.com.cn

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