by Xinhua writers Tian Dongdong, Wang Zichen
BRUSSELS, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Two years before the first World Refugee Day, Tony Blair, who was then the British prime minister, offered the international community in the midst of the Kosovo war in 1999 a set of criteria for deciding when and how to intervene militarily in the affairs of another country.
Known as the "Blair doctrine", his proposal was an "irresistible notion" as it virtually enabled NATO "to intervene in other people's conflicts", said the London-based Guardian newspaper.
The doctrine, which argued that a war was "just" when it rested not on any territorial ambitions, but on halting or preventing humanitarian disasters, gave the West a long-awaited "noble and inspiring" justification for their neo-interventionism.
In the name of "humanitarian intervention", the doctrine witnessed wave upon wave of Western interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya as well as a string of other developing countries across the world.
Unfortunately, what was dressed up as noble cause didn't have a noble ending.
In the Middle East, in the name of protecting human rights, fighting terrorism, building democracy and restoring perpetual peace, the United States and its allies, launched a wave of military actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
However, in their rush to open a Pandora's box, they failed to recapture the devil in the region.
Facts have since proved that apart from overthrowing the Taliban government in Afghanistan, Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, none of the other war goals advocated by Washington and its European allies were fulfilled. The actions left hundreds of thousands of people killed or wounded, with millions of civilians uprooted.
The old saying goes that "for whatever one sows, that will he also reap." So after decades of following on the coat-tail of U.S. neo-interventionism, a number of European countries are finally swallowing the bitter pill of interventionism.
With transatlantic relations at a historic low, European countries are currently at loggerheads over the worst-ever refugee crisis in the history of the European Union. The refugees didn't choose to become pawns in a battle over migration, but their influx has nonetheless contributed to Europe's rising populism, now threatening cohesion and integration within the EU bloc of nations.
The 18th World Refugee Day on Wednesday should not be squandered amid division, as it offers a perfect opportunity for Europe, along with the United States, to ponder the damage of their neo-interventionism.
At the EU upcoming summit later this month, when the issue of refugees will be high on agenda, leaders of each member state are advised to learn a succinct lesson from their predecessors. They should feel pains recalling Blair's infamous words that "I shall be with you whatever" when making a commitment to then U.S. President George W. Bush. Some 15 years later Blair is still blamed for leading Britain's rush to war in Iraq.
Sir John Chilcot, author of a British government-sponsored report critical of Iraqi war, believed that the military intervention in Iraq has made the Middle East less stable and more dangerous by breaking a balance of power.
Given the increasingly strong backlash against refugees in the EU, it is high time for European countries to wake up and recall the painful lessons of interventions.