Although power and interests are national goals in international politics, principles remain a rational method and a solid foundation for securing them. Strategy must face off against strategy, reason must face off against reason, and principle must face off against principle. What matters is which principle can reach a wider audience. What are the values that have the potential to gain both support and power? Principles are the legal right to claim ones’ interests.
Cao Cao would rather to betray the world than let the world betray. The United States probably can accuse, lie, and betray any country, but other countries cannot do the same to the US. Since World War II ended, the United States has bombed over 30 countries, assassinating and toppling potential enemies, and changing ruling regimes. Furthermore, practically all allies and enemies have been betrayed by the superpower. The US viewed the attacks and transplants to be necessary to safeguard the people and defend democracy from hostile aggressor and protect international laws. “Cao Cao strove to unite the entire empire, whereas the United States has tried to bring all countries under its own system,” the US and Cao Cao shared such a same common view. In contrast, “Cao Cao had demonstrated ambition, aggression, and atrocities rather than a vision, while the United States demonstrates principles rather than cruelty to gain support and legitimate its actions.” All of the lords banded together to topple Dong Zhou and restore the Han dynasty. However, Han’s rehabilitation is merely an excuse to pursue their own legal case and seize opportunity to expand their territories and powers. This is the same as the international powers force tiny countries to follow international law while viewing international law and principles as merely means for expanding power and interests. The International law is the best tool to expand power.
Cao Cao was the most long-sighted of all the lords, knowing how to operate clearly, take the benefits, knowing the threats and opportunities, and knowing how to exploit the finest opportunities. When the monarch was ousted from the power, Cao Cao considered the Monarch as a royal seal for him lead and order other rulers. He fought to liberate the monarch and invited him to stay in his territory, while other warlords saw monarch as a burden. He had become a lord of the warlords after the monarch was under his hand. He used the royal seal to do everything and order the others warlords to subjugate to him, or order other warlords to wage war against his opponents. Cao Cao could legalize his activities, and he could declare the unconstitutional actions of others.
Similarly, all nations had battled for dominance. They devastated other nations, and invaded each other before and during World War II. The world was in anarchy state, no International laws; no principles and values were applied, and people were treated like animals. These approaches, according to the US, were incapable of governing such a wide world. American leaders, guided by history, believed that neither colonialism nor imperialism could lead the world order for last long. They had learned and observed from the European major powers’ experiences calmly. They found that “those powers had used the inhumane ways, rather than cooperation, they competed, rather than principles, they sought for self-interest, rather than promoting human value, they destroyed each other’s”. Therefore, US have invented values and principles to fight against not for any human beings, but aggressors, not for self-interest, for liberation and moral obligation. The principles and values that it was invented have then declared as the “universal values”. The principles serve both, the America interest and others. The national interest is the first choice of all nations, yet the principles to be used to claim are the foundation of constitutional accuracy.
Following WWII, the United States became a staunch defender of international law. This international rule might allow the US to punish and attack any country that challenges its interests, while also benefiting any country that decides to follow its political line. Following WWII and Cold War, the United States has sought to establish a new international order, attempted to push NATO closer to encircle Russia to prevent it from rebuilding Russian Empire, and entered the Middle East and African wars to overthrow tyrants and seize huge natural resources. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the US attempted to intensify the war on terror in Central Asia and the Middle East, posing a severe threat to China’s and Russia’s security and interests.
The US can use international law, human rights, democratic to invade, or use its intelligence agencies to incite, cause unrest first and then invade later. For example, the war against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, the war against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the war against Bashar Assad in Syria, etc.so on. In general, the US uses international law in three ways: first, to suppress aggressors and dictators, second, to gain accuracy and legitimacy for their actions, as well as the ability to accuse their opponents by promoting world peace, human right, and democracy, and third, to expand its power and influence to reach further and deeper into the world. It is indeed similar to Cao Cao’s use of the monarch; even if he abused the monarch’s power. The monarch was still a good basis to justify his acts in order to eradicate others and increase his control. The monarch was used by Cao Cao whereas the International Law and Democracy are being used by US.
If it is felt to be unworthy to compare American strategy to Cao Cao’s, then one can compare to the Liu Bei’s moral obligation. The thing to be useful to learn is that principle would justify all means. The Enemies of the United States whether the great or the weak, are not out of the leverage of the international law, human rights, or democracy. The United States aware well that the only way to control the globe for a long time and in a lawful manner is to rule by being a lover and protector of the world, rather than by using violence like imperialism or colonialism. For US, the word love and protect the world means “US is the ruler of the world.” In other words, it is a win-win policy where the word “win” for the United States is synonymous with “leader” or “superpower” and the word “win” for other countries is “following and interests.”