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A Chinese Test for the New Bush Administration

Monday, 02 April 2001 12:00 AM

Then again, it may not. Hopefully it will all be over in a few hours.

Let us examine some of the underlying issues:

1) Will Beijing hold the crew as POWs and then try to bargain for reduced U.S. military aid to Taiwan? This 'capture' comes at a crucial time in the new Bush administration's assessment of Tiawan's military capability to defend itself. Recent reports had the new administration selling the Aegis anti-missile defense system to Taiwan. This would greatly upset Beijing. Could the Commies be so brazen as to try to prevent that sale by capturing this plane and its crew?

2) Did Beijing 'arrange' for this plane to be captured in the first place? Was the 'accidental' midair collision in fact set up to force this plane down?

3) What of the crew? As of this morning we have had absolutely no contact with the crew since their capture. This is an ominous sign. Will they be tortured? Have they already been beaten and drugged as you read this? And, if so, will the new Bush administration punish the Red Chinese for this? We may not know the answers to these questions for months.

4) What of the three women on the crew? Opponents of women in combat have long feared the result of female POWs and what could/would be done to them. While we are not in a hot war with Red China, this is a hostile situation. Will a nation that has forced abortions and readily practices infanticide as a form of birth control hesitate to apply extra 'pressure' on female U.S. military personnel?

5) What will Chinese military intelligence have gleaned from the airplane? Certainly by now they have carefully investigated it and removed or copied whatever they can. However, in light of the sieve that our weapons labs have become, how much more can Beijing steal from us anyway?

6) What will Bush/Cheney/Rumsefeld/Powell and former President Bush, himself a former delegate to Red China, do to bring home our crew alive? Twelve years ago in the wake of Tiananmen Square, then-President Bush talked tough – and then dispatched Brent Scowcroft to assure the Red Chinese leaders in private that there would not be any long-term consequences to their brutal killing of pro-democracy student protesters. Red China read that Bush response as "all bluster, no spine." It was the exact same as the now infamous Read My Lips: all talk, no action – and a betrayal of the initial rhetoric. Will this Bush take a harder line than his father?

We will soon find out.

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Then again, it may not. Hopefully it will all be over in a few hours. Let us examine some of the underlying issues: 1) Will Beijing hold the crew as POWs and then try to bargain for reduced U.S. military aid to Taiwan? This 'capture' comes at a crucial time in the new...
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2001-00-02
Monday, 02 April 2001 12:00 AM
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