Edited: 27 February, 2012, 20:28
China says the US has no right to “protect” Arab peoples, questioning “the sincerity and efficacy of US policy.” The country’s top newspaper replied to Hillary Clinton after she called China’s and Russia’s veto of a UN Syrian resolution "despicable".
The People’s Daily commentary says, "The United States' motive in parading as a 'protector' of the Arab peoples is not difficult to imagine. The problem is what moral basis does it have for this patronizing and egotistical super-arrogance and self-confidence?"
The newspaper recalls the US-led invasion of Iraq. "Even now, violence continues unabated in Iraq, and ordinary people enjoy no security. This alone is enough for us to draw a huge question mark over the sincerity and efficacy of US policy."
The commentary repeated China's argument that its unwillingness to take sides in the conflict best reflects the interests of the Syrian people.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the US criticism of China's stance on Syria is “totally unacceptable.”
"China has always determined its stance on the Syrian issue proceeding from the peace and stability of Syria and the Middle East and from protecting the long-term, fundamental interests of the Syrian and Arab peoples," Hong Lei said on Monday as cited by Reuters.
Russia, which also voted against what it called a “Syria regime change resolution” in the UN, has also criticized the US stance on Syria. In his latest article on foreign policy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned the West against the temptation to resort to a “simple, previously-used tactic: If the UN Security Council approves of a given action – fine; if not, we will establish a coalition of the states concerned and strike anyway.”
Russian and Chinese criticism over US policies comes after Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying there is no enthusiasm in Washington for war. However, while on a visit to Morocco she urged those who still support Syria’s President Assad, especially members of the Syrian military and business community, to turn against him.
“The longer you support the regime's campaign of violence against your brothers and sisters, the more it will stain your honor,” Clinton said.
On Sunday Syrian authorities held national referendum on a new constitution amid continuing violence. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that at least 31 people died including civilians, soldiers and opposition fighters.
Ballot counting is currently underway, with official results expected later on Monday. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says if approved the referendum will lead to a multi-party parliamentary election in three months’ time.
Most Syrian opposition groups boycotted the vote, demanding Assad abandon power altogether, while they say the referendum could keep him in power until 2028. The US and its allies dismissed the vote as a "farce" meant to justify the bloody crackdown on dissent.
The United States is beginning to realize the complexity of the situation in Syria and is showing signs of slightly backing off from their previous energetic push for regime change in the country, Jeremy Salt, a professor at Bilkent University, told RT.
“While we hear a lot of rhetoric from Hillary Clinton, she herself is showing signs of being more aware of complexities inside Syria,” Salt said. “She was talking about the complex factors, saying ‘Well we want to do something, but we do not know what to do,’ and she was talking about the fact that while there are problem areas in Syria, there are large areas in the country unaffected.”
“You can see there is certain change of the discourse here which indicates the Americans are not certain what step to take next,” the professor added.