He was referring to the U.S. words "very sorry," which he says the Chinese can twist to their own purposes, regardless of the context in which we used them.
"I do not go along with those who express total damnation" of the way the president handled it, added the decorated veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
He said he was "not sure his dad [the first President Bush] fully appreciated the seriousness" of the threat from the Chinese Communists.
Gen. Singlaub first came face to face with the aims and the mind-set of the Chinese Reds when he was stationed in Manchuria from 1947 to 1949. Those were the years the Communists were fighting to take over China and overthrow the Nationalist government of our ally, Gen. Chiang Kai-shek. All during that period while Singlaub and others were watching Communist duplicity, "old China hands" in the State Department, some later found to have Communist sympathies, were telling us these revolutionaries were "simple agrarian reformers."
"You have to understand these people [the Chinese Communists] have different concepts and standards totally unrelated to freedom" and justice as understood in Western society, said Singlaub.
"The Chinese government has considered itself in the driver's seat ever since they bought President Clinton years ago," and they got used to it. Now they’re flexing muscle, he said, because they’ve been used to getting their way.
"The media [in this country have] been helping China's propaganda machine by saying we "ran into" the Chinese aircraft.
"We didn’t run into them. They ran into us," the general said, adding that in the Chinese language, that distinction is more clearly made. "And here that line has been transmitted around the world."
"We have a tendency not to be too careful to pay attention to how words are translated in Chinese" or other Asian tongues.
For example, he noted, we say we would like to engage in commerce with Asia.
"Well, you know, in Korean, the word 'engage' has the more intimate meaning like that of the relationship of a man with his fiancée." In Oriental society, there's a big difference in meanings of some words.
"There are some in the State Department who deliberately obfuscate those differences," he charged.
As Gen. Singlaub sees it, Chinese leader Jiang Zemin is looked upon by the People's Liberation Army as a "front man." And at the beginning, the PLA did not tell him the truth of what happened in the skies over the South China Sea. "At the beginning, he was totally misinformed."
Singlaub agrees with former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman
"That’s being realistic," he said, "It certainly is not my hope. But you have to remember that, realistically, Clinton gave so much" to enable them "to modernize and advance their military power."
"We have given much ground."
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