China's Government Vilifies America in International Crisis

I can’t help being anything but appalled by the outrageous spectacle China has orchestrated over the past two weeks. It is absolutely despicable. After one of its fighters slammed into an American surveillance plane, the country had the audacity to hold all 24 crew members hostage and dismantle U.S. military property, refusing to allow anyone to return home unless the United States offered some kind of an apology and claim responsibility for the incident.

I’m sorry, but that is just plain sickening. First of all, China’s pilot was blatantly at fault in this collision, which occurred 80 miles off the coast of China, well within international airspace.

Second, the U.S.’s surveillance plane, an EP-3, is the size of a Boeing-737, much slower and less maneuverable than the smaller F-8 fighters the Chinese pilot was flying. They’re trying to tell us that this bulky, awkward barge with wings veered into their fast, agile fighter? Not in a million years, especially now that the Pentagon has disclosed that the plane was set on auto pilot.

Furthermore, Chinese pilots have been recorded engaging in such reckless behavior during reconnaissance flights since the Clinton administration. There have even been reports of crew members seeing the other pilots’ faces as their fighters have closed to within 30 feet of the spy planes. The arrested American soldiers reportedly told Brigadier General Neal Sealock that the flanking fighter had been flying recklessly and erratically before the collision.

Anyone who knows anything about aircraft knows who caused this collision. One hint: It wasn’t the spy plane. But you may be wondering why the United States won’t offer a full apology even if it wasn’t our fault, simply to prevent this from becoming an international incident. Unfortunately, this already is an international incident. China milked it for all it’s worth.

The missing Chinese pilot’s parents have been interviewed on Chinese television, vilifying the big, bad Americans. The missing pilot’s wife publicly called President Bush a coward. Fellow communists in Vietnam are stepping up to the plate for the Chinese. Their president Jiang Zemin has gone worldwide with his very selective version of the truth, and with several lies to boot.

The Chinese have refused American military assistance in searching for the missing pilot; we big, bad Americans have done enough harm already. The surviving pilot, decked out in full uniform, tried not to look reporters in the eye as he claimed the hulking American plane veered sharply into his helpless, innocent comrade. Too bad the Oscars were handed out last month; he would’ve been a ringer.

In case you’re having trouble reading between the lines, this isn’t about a collision. This is about politics; this is Beijing trying to bully its way to a diplomatic victory over a new, unsympathetic White House administration.

We all know about Slick Willy’s involvement with the communist Chinese government; they allegedly funded his presidential campaign, and his administration allegedly sold them our most classified nuclear weapons technology and taught them how to use it. Bush, on the other hand, has changed our relationship with China from strategic ally to competitor. It should therefore be no surprise that Beijing wants to secure a diplomatic victory as soon as possible.

China made it clear that there would be no compromise through its hard-line, “”our way or the highway”” negotiations, maintaining until recently, that if we didn’t offer a full apology our soldiers and aircraft were not coming home. The White House has been painfully diplomatic here, offering everything short of an apology.

Bush has handled himself reasonably well thus far in his first foreign conflict. He came to the table to compromise; they sought to conquer. After two weeks of speaking to a crimson wall, it is inevitable that our president will take a harder stance in kind. He has several options, after all. He can authorize the selling of arms to Taiwan, which China considers a renegade providence.

The U.S. Navy just released a list of possible ways for us to improve Taiwan’s military. After all, the purpose of the ongoing reconnaissance flights is to ensure that China is not preparing to invade Taiwan.

Also, the United States has a very large say in China’s foreign trade. Secretary of State Colin Powell has warned that this incident may impact American support for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, which could be ruinous. Looking back at the Soviet Union, we all know that communist nations face uphill economic battles, so they need every ounce of leverage they can obtain.

In light of all this anti-American propaganda being spread worldwide, we have to stand up for what’s right. The biggest problem with the Clinton administration was its encouragement of apathy over fortitude.

As long as the economy went well, the majority could remain blissfully unaware that America was no longer the pillar of strength protecting the free world, but rather NATO’s puppet, which somehow cast a blind third eye upon the drastic military buildup in China.

War is a terrible thing, and it is caused just as easily by pacifism as it is by aggression.

I’m not worried about this incident erupting into World War III, but how well can we sleep at night knowing that we are at odds with a nation that outnumbers us by a billion and possesses all of our nuclear secrets, the brains to incorporate them, the labor to build them and possibly even the audacity to use them? Given China’s morbid human rights record and communist regime, it would be foolish to simply dismiss such a notion.

Whether you wish to accept it, our nations are in competition. Our president says so, as does China’s communist hierarchy, if not through words, then certainly through actions. From this perspective, it’s tough to blame Republican leaders for scrambling to build a missile defense. But then again, I’ve always classified Democrats as idealists and Republicans as realists.

Bush’s first diplomatic challenge is a difficult one, without a doubt, almost unfair for a rookie. But the ball’s in his court; the world is judging his diplomacy, because it was such a question mark during his campaign. I am confident in his skills as a diplomat and a leader, especially in light of his highly experienced cabinet.

Politics aside though, I hope he succeeds because this may, for better or worse, have a significant impact on our relations with China.

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