In his television address on September 10, US President Barack Obama announced that “America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat”, and pledged to press ahead with the fight against terror and root out ISIS. In the meantime, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, went to the Middle East, persuading local allies to form a US-led “core coalition” to deal with the terrorist challenges from ISIS in a comprehensive manner. This has been the strongest US reaction since the abrupt rise of ISIS from northern and western Iraq, and the terrorist group’s successive occupation of territories. Over the past three months, the situation in Iraq has worsened, as ISIS has carried out horrific atrocities; US air strikes have had limited impact, and the stalemate between the Iraqi military and ISIS continues. After ISIS released the bloody video clips showing the beheading of American reporters, American public fear has reached its highest level since 9/11. The counter strategy Obama announced on the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was a timely response to public opinion.
The American media has lamented that the 13-year-old war on terror appears to have returned to when and where it started – 2001. Indeed. Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize soon after he assumed US presidency for his peaceful political proposals. The Nobel Committee thought he had brought a “new climate” to international politics. Since he took office, Obama has always advocated ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the situation is capricious. The sequel of the Iraqi war that his predecessor launched has resurged as a result of the changes in Iraqi and regional political biospheres. ISIS has occupied large pieces of territories in both Iraq and Syria, making them a magnetic field attracting global extremists and terrorists, and an epicenter of the global terrorist expansion, posing an unprecedented global security threat. The US has enhanced its anti-terror postures, and is rallying multiple countries to cope with the terrorist challenge, formulating basic organizational guarantees for rooting out ISIS, and taking an important step forward in its state-to-state collaboration with the anti-terror campaign.
However, ISIS is taking advantage of contradictions between religious sections and political dissidents in different countries, and has organized 20,000 to 31,500 extremist militants. Centered around ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a new type of terrorism is spreading worldwide. The consequences may be beyond imagination once the West Asia-based ISIS chimes in with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. President Obama has much more to do in order to neutralize ISIS. I believe that countries face an imperative need to reach a broad consensus and make a concerted effort to fight this terrorist threat.
First, the anti-terror campaign must deal with both the symptoms and root causes. While strengthening cooperation in the fight against terror, the international community should work for a broad consensus and come up with effective moves, so as to curtail the breathing space of and eradicate the hotbed for terrorism through political, military and economic means. It is necessary to promote political resolution of regional hotspot issues and unite all forces against terror in the area.
Second, the anti-terror campaign should abandon its Cold War mindset and double standards. All countries should understand that the current terrorist threats are not in the form of state terrorism, and that different countries and people of different races may be their targets. The rapid spread of terrorism is a public hazard to humanity. So the fight against terror should not tolerate double standards. Every country should forsake obsolete Cold War thinking and become part of the global synergy against terror, while upgrading its own anti-terror capacities.
Third, the anti-terror campaign should always be based on preserving regional security and stability. All regions and countries should work hard to eradicate and block the sources and channels for the communication of extremist and terrorist ideologies, enhance prevention and surveillance of their infiltration, and maintain national and regional peace and stability. Contemporary fights against terror must also strictly follow international laws. The fight against terror, as a common concern of all humanity, must incorporate a clear awareness of cooperation and rules, as well as due respect for international laws and conventions. The global anti-terror campaign must be carried out in the framework of UN Security Council resolutions.
China has always been resolutely against all forms of terrorism. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China understands and assumes its responsibilities in the war on terror. Besides its own persistent efforts, China is open to cooperation with all parties. For the Middle East’s significant geopolitical position and complicated racial and religious structures, as well as security conditions, there has been a major global impact, which is closely related to both Chinese and US interests. Therefore, China, the US and other countries should strengthen communication and cooperation over anti-terror initiatives. It is even more important for China and the US to enhance cooperation in the UN Security Council. I believe that anti-terror collaboration should and can become an important platform for building a new-type of major-country relationship.