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CGTN Think Tank Survey: 84.6% Believe U.S. War Against Terrorism in Afghanistan has Failed

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Images of Afghans chasing a U.S. transport plane at Kabul airport shocked the world after Taliban took over Kabul on August 15. As for the costly and longest-ever war waged by the U.S., 84.6 percent of global poll respondents believe it failed.

The CGTN Think Tank conducted a global survey in Chinese, English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Weibo from August 20 to August 26.

There have been more than 140,000 responses including liking, sharing and commenting on this online poll consisting of three questions.

80% say U.S. failed Afghanistan War

The United States launched the Afghanistan war in the name of counterterrorism in 2001 and made a hasty troop withdrawal in 2021. The first question is, do you think the U.S. war against terrorism in Afghanistan has failed? Why?

Among respondents from various countries who participated in liking, sharing and commenting, 84.6 percent believe that the U.S. war against terrorism in Afghanistan has failed and English speakers cast the highest number of votes – 77 percent. Arabic-speaking netizens showed a clear-cut stance, with over 90 percent of the comments tending to believe that the U.S.’s anti-terrorism war in Afghanistan failed.

On YouTube, the number of comments topped those of Facebook and Twitter. 

The survey analyzes the comments of six language groups: Chinese, English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian, and finds that the respondents in different languages tend to believe that “the United States has failed in the war on terrorism in Afghanistan,” but the reasons for the failure vary widely.

French-speaking participants compared the anti-terrorism war in Afghanistan with the wars in Iraq and Vietnam, saying that the United States lost its return on investment.

Many English-speaking respondents said that the U.S. war in Afghanistan was based on lies and disinformation, so was doomed to fail.

Relatives load coffins of victims of the August 26 twin suicide bombings into a car at a hospital in Kabul, August 27, 2021. /CFP

Wars waged by U.S. cause ‘destruction and turmoil’

After World War II, the United States launched wars in Vietnam War and Afghanistan, among others. The second question is, what do you think those wars have brought to these countries?

Global respondents in the six languages use highly consistent wording in this order of frequency words: destruction, turmoil, division, death, despair, pain and hatred.

According to the survey on Facebook, 88.89 percent of Spanish-speaking respondents, 82.14 percent of French-speaking respondents and 88 percent of Arabic-speaking respondents agree that “the war has brought negative impacts to relevant countries after World War II.” At the same time, Russian-speaking netizen responses to this survey question were nearly twice the number of the other two questions.

The survey analyzes the comments and finds that respondents believe that “such series of wars have brought violence, poverty, suffering and even destruction.”

SomeEnglish-speaking netizens believe that the series of wars launched by the United States have brought destruction to the war-torn countries, causing heavy casualties of innocent civilians and intensifying hatred between different countries and the United States.

A widespread perception among Arabic-speaking netizens is that U.S. military interventions have brought destruction, backwardness, instability, famine and death.

U.S. ‘not a superpower for the well-being of the world’

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has said that the U.S. is “the most warlike nation in the history of the world,” and the country has enjoyed only 16 years of peace in its 242-year history. The third question is, what do you think led to the U.S. becoming so “warlike”?

This question had the highest participation rate among respondents, with 80.2 percent showing a negative attitude towards belligerence.

In this poll, 89.63 percent and 87.23 percent of Spanish-speaking netizens on YouTube and Facebook respectively commented negatively on the cause of the belligerence.

The third question also had the highest participation among Twitter users. The number of responses in this single question accounts for 45 percent of the total number of responses in the survey.

One English-speaking netizen said, “I think the U.S. uses the term superpower not for the well-being of the world, especially the poor countries, but for plundering money in Muslim countries and seeking development in the name of creating terrorist organizations to make people think that terrorists are Muslims. Then they plunder resources and then leave to attack other countries, in order to make their own country safe.”

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Xi-Biden Call Analysis: Cooperation Should be Based Upon Mutual Respect

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In the first phone conversation between the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies in seven months, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday morning had a “candid, in-depth and extensive strategic communication and exchanges” with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, according to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“On the basis of respecting each other’s core concerns and properly managing differences, the relevant departments of the two countries may continue their engagement and dialogue to advance coordination and cooperation on climate change, COVID-19 response and economic recovery as well as on major international and regional issues,” Xi told Biden. 

White House officials said Biden initiated the 90-minute phone call, which is only the second of this kind since the U.S. president took office.

There had been high expectations for Biden to improve bilateral relations ever since he replaced former President Donald Trump in January.

Biden’s China journey four decades on

Biden came to China in 1979 as a member of the first delegation the U.S. Congress sent to China. The then senator said in a speech that China’s development was good for the United States.

He visited China again in 2011, and wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “a successful China can make our country [U.S.] more prosperous, not less.” 

“On issues from global security to global economic growth, we share common challenges and responsibilities – and we have incentives to work together,” read the article titled “China’s Rise Isn’t Our Demise.”

In his first phone call with Xi on the eve of the Chinese New Year in February this year, Biden sent his greetings to the Chinese people. He said he was prepared to have candid and constructive dialogue with China in the spirit of mutual respect and to improve mutual understanding and avoid miscommunication and miscalculation.

Yet such goodwill failed to match up with the actions, according to Yuyuantantian, a public WeChat account that focuses on current affairs. And hostility has been particularly evident in the U.S. Congress. 

In recent months, there have been more China-related bills in the U.S. Congress than ever before, with more than a dozen in July alone, most of which recommended the adoption of opposing or restrictive policies against China. 

The U.S. has made a major strategic miscalculation on China, said Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, as quoted in the Yuyuantantian article. “It mistakenly takes China as a major strategic competitor and believes whatever China does is aimed at undermining the U.S. leadership and dominating the international order.”

Xi has said China and the United States will have different views on some issues, but the key is to respect each other and treat each other as equals. But the U.S. has yet to learn to do that, according to Yuyuantantian.

‘Whether China, U.S. can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world’

China and the United States are respectively the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country, whether they can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world, and it is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer, Xi said in the Friday phone conversation.

The two countries should bring relations back to the right track of stable development as soon as possible for the good of the people in both countries and around the world, he added.

How to get China-U.S. relations back on track has become a “must-solve problem,” Yuyuantantian commented, adding that the ball is now in the U.S. court. 

Washington is gradually losing its reputation all around the world, the public account said. “If it really wants cooperation, it has to ‘get off its high horse,’ face the reality and start an open dialogue with China,” it added. 

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Through the lens: How 20 Years of Conflict Since 9/11 Changed Afghanistan

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The Afghanistan war ended just as abruptly as it had begun. Two decades ago, the September 11 terrorist attacks led the U.S. to formulate its controversial counter-terrorism policy, including its longest war in history – the war in Afghanistan.

Twenty years later, the mountainous country nestled in the heartland of Asia has once again come to a crossroads as the U.S. withdrew its troops, with the Taliban reclaiming the power they lost two decades ago.

Afghanistan has long been a battlefield for global powers, but it has never been conquered, hence its moniker – the “Graveyard of Empires.”

In the series “Through the lens: Afghanistan 2001-2021,” we dive into the scars the war has left on the country, and the fear, wrath and resilience of the Afghan people, in eight episodes.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: How the ‘war on terror’ begins

The September 11 attacks claimed some 3,000 lives, making it the deadliest attack in U.S. history. 

Afghanistan 2001-2021: America’s longest war

The U.S. military invaded the country, already war-plagued and impoverished, in the name of the “war on terror.” 

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The poppies blossom

In decades of war and destitution, opium poppy plantation and production have become a major source of income for local farmers. “Either Afghanistan destroys opium, or opium will destroy Afghanistan,” former Afghan President Hamid Karzai once said.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: Fears and tears

In the protracted war in Afghanistan, no one suffered more than Afghan civilians. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee from homes with no shelter and rarely any food.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The Displaced

Wars after wars have made migration a norm for the Afghan people. As of 2021, Afghanistan is the third largest source of refugees in the world, with the number of Afghan refugees standing at 2.6 million. Domestically, 4 million internally displaced persons are still in temporary camps.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The skyline and the slum

In the capital, Kabul, there are only two kinds of people – the rich and the poor.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The withdrawal

On April 14, Biden announced the U.S. troop withdrawal would be completed by September 11, marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked the invasion. In the months that followed, the country witnessed massive chaos. 

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The future is murky

How the new Afghan government deals with the wide range of social, political and economic issues will determine how an Afghanistan under the Taliban will be received by the Afghan people and the world.

Editors: Zeng Ziyi, Zhao Yue, Wang Xiaonan, Yu Jing, Zhong Xia, Du Junzhi 

Images designed by Liu Shaozhen

Graphics by Yang Yiren 

Producer: Wang Xiaonan 

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Xi Jinping Urges ‘True Multilateralism’ in World’s ‘Daunting’ Economic Recovery from COVID-19

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said the world economy is undergoing a “daunting recovery” which requires “true multilateralism” in the face of fresh COVID-19 flare-ups.

“We are ready to work with all parties to uphold true multilateralism, advocate trust and harmony, promote win-win cooperation, and march with firm steps toward the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind,” Xi said at the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum via video link from Beijing.

The forum – held in Russia every year since 2015 – has the goal of promoting multilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Last year’s session was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the speech, Xi called for the international community to unite. “We need to intensify cooperation in vaccine research, development and production, provide more public goods to the international community,” he said.

The Chinese president also voiced opposition to any sort of politicization of COVID-19 vaccines and origins-tracing.

Extra efforts for mutually-beneficial cooperation

“We need to redouble our efforts to advance mutually-beneficial cooperation,” Xi said at the opening ceremony.

He called for the deepening of collaboration between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union in areas including digital economy and climate change.

The Chinese president also urged the group to embrace a “common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security” by “narrowing differences” and “building consensus through dialogue and exchanges.”

As Friday marks the 76th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, Xi also called for the defense of the victory’s outcomes.

“The international community must defend firmly the victorious outcomes of World War II, safeguard the truth of history, and stay committed to taking history as a mirror to open up a brighter future,” Xi said.

(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum via video link, September 3, 2021. /Xinhua)

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