Focus Point - Below StandardCommentary by Pete du Pont
April 16, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. While they usually fight the good fight, my friends at the >Weekly Standard> have sucker-punched President Bush regarding China's detention of the American flyers and their surveillance plane.
Robert Kagan and William Kristol's editorial, when the incident was barely a week old, was entitled "A National Humiliation." It claimed the administration had already lost the word war with the Chinese, who presumably engineered the accident.
But where exactly has Bush strayed? He's in a no-win situation in which military action is out of the question, as is apology for what wasn't our fault - and he's correctly refused to apologize. Moreover, Kagan and Kristol offer no suggestions, only criticism for what is steady, conservative diplomatic dealing.
As I said last week, China is the new Cold War menace, and Kagan and Kristol are right in renewing the call for its containment. But it seems to me they're reading more into this than there is: Finding an irreversible weakening of the last superpower because we used the word "regret."
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, death by taxes.