Following U.S. President Barack Obama’s last State of the Union Address, Xinhua interviewed Wang Xiangsui, a Professor at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Director of the Center for Strategic Studies. Wang thought that the content of Obama’s speech was hollow. Some of the achievements Obama listed could not stand up to detailed scrutiny. America’s China policy will mostly maintain the status quo. Below are some excerpts from the interview:
Xinhua: On the diplomatic front, Obama listed the "return to Asia," the TPP," the Iran nuclear deal, and the normalization of the United States and Cuba’s relations as part of his performance report. The U.S. media commented that these diplomatic projects may end up being aborted projects. What’s your opinion on these issues?
Wang Xiangsui: Obama’s list of these diplomatic achievements is very hollow. The reason is that, in the end, whether they are his diplomatic legacy or are remaining issues is still worthy of further discussion. Among his list of those deeds, he has not necessarily achieved any tangible results. For example, on the issue of "returning to Asia," is it an achievement or, ultimately, will is still be a problem? In the past, the Asia-Pacific was only one of the global areas where the U.S. had interests. After its strategic move eastward, it became apparent that whatever global imperial power the United States has is shrinking. Therefore, it is too early to conclude right now whether the "Asia-Pacific rebalancing" will be an example of the success of this strategy. Even whether this strategy is a right one for the United States is debatable.
The same is also true for the TPP. In October 2015, the governments of the United States and 11 other countries signed the TPP agreement. For it to be implemented, the agreement still needs for all of their Congrsses to passed it. Even if all these countries do give a green light to the TPP agreement, whether the TPP will fulfill its expected role is still unknown. The era in which the United States had the final say over the rules of the Asia-Pacific region is already long gone. It is also unrealistic for the TPP countries to completely exclude outsiders.
Xinhua: Obama proposed four major problems for the U.S. to solve. One of these is how to protect U.S. security and lead the world but, at the same time, also avoid being the "world’s policeman." How do you see it? Does it mean the United States will reduce its efforts in international affairs?
Wang Xiangsui: The Iraq war was a turning point. America’s national strength and its intervention style in international affairs do not support the U.S. in continuing to intervene everywhere as the "world’s policeman."
What the United States wants is to be the "world’s policeman," but with relatively limited liability, relatively low capital costs, and very little criticism. For example, it might create more "police branches" on a global scale, with "regional police" to play a bigger role. This also reflects, from another angle, that American power is in gradual decline and it is no longer suitable for it to take as much direct intervention in the world as it did in the past.
Source: Xinhua, January 15, 2016