Crisis created to cancel
More than a week ago, an American Navy
surveillance plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet. According to the
Chinese government, the fighter crashed and the pilot is missing.
The situation boils down to politics. The
American pilot did his job (spying) and the Chinese fighter pilot did his
The United States said the plane was in
international air space. The Chinese government forcefully disagreed.
No immediate benefit is gained by keeping
the members of the crew hostage, other than petty posturing in front of
Since the beginning of this pointless ordeal,
American officials have been concerned about the possibility of our military
technology falling into the hands of the Chinese.
Is the issue here our new, high-tech spook
technology and the integrity of Chinese boundaries, or do the Chinese pursue
a different agenda?
Consider this: Could it be possible these
24 American crewmembers are being held as pawns in the center of a simmering
battle between the United States and China? I think so.
When you consider this mini-crisis as President
George W. Bush's first attempt at foreign negotiations, I question whether
or not he is off to a good start.
The Chinese want an apology. According
to Quian Qichen, China's deputy prime minister and senior foreign policy
official, our government must say, "We're sorry, guys‚" to secure the release
of the captured Americans.
President Bush has presented our nation's
regrets, but has yet to offer an apology. Chinese President Jiang Zemin
has stated that the televised expression of regret will not suffice.
China is testing Bush on the world stage.
Can they push the United States into saying "sorry," or will Bush hold
That's why I despise the politics of war
and foreign relations: image is everything. To appear strong politically
supersedes the basic issue of one dead and 24 captured.
The irony in this charade is that both
nations are at fault. The crash occurred because China and the United States
can't keep their noses out of other people's business.
The timing of this crash was intentional.
America's intent to sell arms to Taiwan is viewed as a threat by China.
It's not too farfetched to think the Chinese will use this "crisis" to
block the deal with Taiwan.
The dispute gives both sides something
concrete to take to the bargaining table. We make a trade: our crew for
a promise not to sell weapons to Taiwan.
Relations between the United States and
China remain contentious. This event represents little more than a propaganda
coup for the Chinese.
The dramatic crash would not have occurred
if the two nations weren't already irritated with each other.
The standoff will continue until somebody
blinks. Whoever stays resolute perceives a gain in prestige, for the moment.
Here is a suggestion: Stop looking at the
world in terms of Chinese and American hegemony and start looking at it
in terms of humanity.