China State News Agency Uses Chilcot to Attack U.S. Over Iraq

Chilcot Protest
Demonstrators against the Iraq war in London, England, July 6. British and American failings in Iraq have fueled criticisms of the West. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

China's state news agency Xinhua has responded to the Chilcot report's publication by attacking the U.S. for trying to "force their values on other countries."

In an editorial published Thursday on Sir John Chilcot's inquiry into Britain's involvement in the planning, execution and aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Xinhua wrote: "Britain's decision to join the U.S.-led war is a blind action to follow its U.S. ally, which spares no effort to intervene in other countries under the cover of democracy.

"Some Western countries, in particular the United States, have always tried to force their values on other countries without any respect for their own development paths."

It brings to mind a prescient prediction made by Tony Blair in a note to George W. Bush shortly before the invasion, revealed by Chilcot. "We lose the high ground by forfeiting the U.N. route," he wrote, "Take it away and this is about U.S. power, naked and in their face."

Since the invasion, which was conducted without U.N. security council support, Blair's words have gained greater significance. Anti-Western powers and organizations have come to use Iraq to drum up support for their causes.

"Looking around, the current chronic instability, cycle of violence, and the emergence of extremist groups such as the Islamic State group should be blamed on the hegemonism and interventionism perpetrated by the United States and its Western allies," the Xinhua editorial said.

At a time when it is in China's interests to weaken the U.S.'s global standing, Western policymakers should worry about how much resonance these words could have.