Focus Point - Bush And ChinaCommentary by Pete du Pont
April 23, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Last week I chastised the Weekly Standard for predicting the end of the world over the Bush administration's handling of the surveillance plane incident. Now, I'd like to say "I told you so."
The plane's crew is back safe. The Chinese still have the plane -- galling but insignificant, because the crew did it's job destroying senstive equipment. About all we gave away was "regret" over the loss of the hotdog chinese pilot who precipitated the whole incident by flying dangerously - as it turned out, suicidally - close to our plane. We gave the chinese a linguistic bandaid so they wouldn't come off as completely embarrassed. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld then released tapes of a previous crew's near-crash experience, thus showing a pattern of chinese harrassment of our flights in International airspace.
So the Bush administration got it done, but through quiet diplomatic channels, where presumably they stressed the continuing hostage holding was intolerable.
Bush came out looking swell. I wish I could say the same for his critics.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, affirmative action.