Any spin that plays this story differently simply will seek to delude Americans to the reality of what has transpired in the past 11 days.
For almost two weeks China held Americans and America hostage.
So far, there have been NO repercussions, and today they received an effective "apology" from the U.S. government for having done nothing wrong.
Ambassador Prueher's letter today states: "We are very sorry the entering of China's airspace and the landing did not have verbal clearance, but very pleased the crew landed safely."
The operative words "very sorry" are nothing more than an apology. We are sorry that a Chinese jet collided with our propeller plane, causing it to almost crash, and forcing it to land in Chinese territory?
Even worse in my mind was Prueher's statement that followed his "very sorry" concession: "We appreciate China's efforts to see to the well being of our crew."
Do we usually thank hostage takers?
The Prueher letter, in my mind, will settle little.
Each day that passed after the first two days – the longest reasonable amount of time our military personnel should have been kept against their will – China demonstrated to neighboring Asian countries and the rest of the world that the U.S. is no longer a great superpower.
If this was a dry run for China's upcoming crisis over Taiwan, it bodes well for the Chinese.
The U.S. government did everything to please the Chinese.
Policymakers and pundits were so fearful, they wouldn't even use the "H" word. The major media played down China's outrageous action. Major daily newspapers avoided running the story on Page One. The airwaves were filled with talking heads making excuses for China.
This incident was good for China because it demonstrated that America will do anything to avoid confrontation, and will sacrifice its national honor to accommodate the Chinese.
What message have we just telegraphed allies in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea? What about other rogue nations and terrorist groups that may take Americans hostage in the future?
For almost two weeks China kept poking us in the eye with an ice pick.
The best response our administration could come back with was: "If you keep poking us in the eye with that ice pick, we may have damaged relations."
This from a great country like the U.S.!
After the past 11 days, the rest of the world can no longer view us as a great power.
In truth, we should now be "very sorry" for trading with China, opening up our universities to their students, opening our capital markets to their businesses, sharing our technology, and helping to make them a great power.
We can only recover from this if we did what Reagan did after the Iranian hostage crisis: Rebuild America's defenses and lay down a new policy with those that will do us harm.
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