DAMASCUS, April 26 (Xinhua) — The U.S. foreign policy has always been criticized as being smeared with double-standards, but as the U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently admitted she’d made a mistake by voting in favor of waging war on Iraq, a question has popped whether the U.S. could ever learn from its old mistakes.
The issue of intervening in other countries’ internal affairs has always been a trade mark of the U.S. foreign policy, despite the repetitive statements made by U.S. officials on how America respects the national sovereignty of other countries.
The U.S. has contradicted itself in many situations, such as in the invasion of Grenada in 1983, fomenting a civil war in Colombia to break off Panama, and its 2003 invasion of Iraq, which were based on false pretexts, when the administration of President George W. Bush wrongly accused the government of late President Saddam Hussain of possessing weapons of mass destruction, a pretext that had later been proven wrong.
Clinton, the U.S. Democratic presidential front-runner, said her greatest political regret was “voting to give President Bush authority in Iraq.”
“It did not turn out the way that I had thought it would, based on what he had said,” she said of the Iraq war during a town hall event aired live on the ABC “Good Morning America” program Thursday morning.
“And I regret that. And I said that it was a mistake and, obviously, is something that I wish hadn’t turned out the way it did.” she added.
Clinton’s recent remarks run counter to her stand in the 2008 campaign, during which she defended her “Yes” vote for the Iraq war as a way to give the then President George W. Bush authority to deal with Iraq.
Analysts here believe that the defense Clinton had made in favor of her “Yes” vote was the main reason she had lost the Democratic nomination to now President Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign.
“I think that Hillary Clinton is trying to market herself as a peace advocate, not a warmonger ahead of the upcoming elections,” Maher Ihsan, a Syria political researcher and a journalist, told Xinhua.
Still, Ihsan noted that the regret Clinton had expressed didn’t change the fact that the U.S. keeps repeating the old mistakes, even though differently.
He said that the U.S. policy of interfering in other countries’ affairs is still ongoing, even though in a different way.
“In case of Iraq they intervened personally by their troops, and they were highly criticized for the invasion of that country, particularly after their excuses were proven false,” he said.
“When the Syrian crisis started five years ago, the American administration sought to capitalize on the internal conflict in Syria, but this time they didn’t want to smear their hands directly, so they used gloves, but it didn’t change the fact that they have intervened” he added, referring to the militants who have been supported by the U.S. in the face of the Syrian government.
The U.S. administration has even trained some Syrian insurgent groups and equipped them with weapons ostensibly to fight the Islamic State (IS), a move seen by analysts here as a way to create an allied militant force inside Syria to do its biddings in the future.
“Even though behind the curtains, the U.S. has played the main role in magnifying and deepening the Syrian crisis and capitalizing on the initial anti-government movement, by turning it into a bloody insurgency,” Osama Danura, a Syrian political researcher, who holds a PhD in political science, told Xinhua recently.
Obama has repeatedly urged President Bashar al-Assad to leave power, even though there was no alternative in the country and the anti-government movement was in its beginning.
“Such a stance by the U.S. reflects the imperialism of the U.S. administration, by giving itself the right to determine the legitimacy of the Syrian government without paying a heed to the real aspirations of the Syrian people,” Danura added.
Ihsan, the analyst, wondered whether any U.S. official will express regret over the U.S. policy toward Syria and whether that could change anything or erase the mistakes of the past and present.
Late last year, U.S. Republican Senator for the State of Virginia Richard Black sent a letter to al-Assad, in which he said that the war on Syria was not caused by domestic unrest, adding that “it was an unlawful war of aggression by foreign powers determined to force a puppet regime on Syria.”
“Foreign powers have no right to overturn legitimate elections and impose their will on the Syrian people. Syrians alone must determine their destiny, free of foreign intervention,” the Senator wrote in his letter to al-Assad.