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United States 1, China 0

By Dave Sanford


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A great debate rages on, as international “experts” argue over whether or not the recent actions by the Bush administration signify an easing of proposed policy towards the People’s Republic of China.  Many argue that the United States was wrong in the statement issued to the Chinese to secure the release of our 24 American servicemen and women, while others contend that it was the correct posture to take.  I vehemently side with the latter.

I admit that when the initial reports surfaced, claiming the United States said it was “very sorry” for the incident, I was outraged.  I could not believe that President Bush would allow us to submit to any language including that phrase.  However, upon further analysis, I contend that it was not only the proper thing to do, but it was a strategically brilliant move by the fledgling administration.  As a result of this conflict, the Chinese government now knows they are no longer dealing with an administration that will bow down at any sign of adversity.  The Chinese know that Bush plays hardball.

I ask you to think back to the situation as it stood two weeks ago.  The Chinese were demanding the United States apologize for everything, including the collision caused by a Chinese fighter pilot.  Bush announced that no apology would be given.  A stalemate ensued.  It appeared this conflict could play out for months, our servicemen and women being held captive throughout the entirety of negotiations.  There was little hope that our brave freedom fighters would be home for Easter.  All of the major networks broadcasted little faith in the administration’s ability to deliver our men and women to their families.

Then the epiphany.  The Chinese, recognizing that Bush could not be intimidated, sought a way out of a damaging international relations situation.  When the Bush administration offered what appeared to be an olive branch, the Chinese gratefully grasped it and released the hostages while claiming they achieved a fantastic victory.  The Chinese citizens and world community were not fooled.  It is clear the score is now United States 1, China 0.

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To illustrate this point, just ask yourself what exactly the Chinese government accomplished with their misguided policy.  We got our people back, and we are continuing our surveillance flights without delay.  The only thing the Chinese achieved was an illegal capture of a disabled aircraft and a renewed sense of American distrust in the Chinese communist government.  They may even lose their Normal Trade Relations Status this summer.  Clearly, this was not the intention of Jiang Zemin.

Just imagine what the result might have been if a liberal such as Bill Clinton or Al Gore were in office.  Lefty Jesse Jackson all but demanded a full U.S. apology to get our people back.  Such an admission of guilt would have no doubt prompted another significant weakening of foreign policy towards China.  The Chinese would have been vindicated in their ongoing pursuit of regional domination.  The United States would have faced worldwide humiliation.

Thank God we now have a president that supports freedom around the world and is willing to stand firm in the face of tremendous internal and external pressure to accomplish what is right and just.  I have no doubt that this sense of pride and liberty will continue throughout the Bush administration.  This victory sends a message to the international community that the United States will no longer be the “whipping boy” of the world.  There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s kicking ass and taking names.

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© Dave Sanford, 2001, All rights reserved.

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