With final details yet to be publicized, and the White House reporting a prompt repatriation is imminent, the incident demonstrated the steely resolve of the new U.S. president in successfully meeting his first foreign policy challenge.
Srong from the outset, President Bush never wavered in either his commitment to secure the return of our military personnel or his determination to clearly assert the right of the U.S. to conduct surveillance from international airspace.
By sending such a strong signal early on in his administration, the president established himself as an able player on the world stage. And strength is a virtue the U.S. has been sorely lacking for the past eight years.
Refusing to apologize was the correct course, as the U.S. did nothing wrong in its conduct of the mission by the EP-3E, which was struck by the People's Liberation Army F-8, causing damage such that a distress landing was necessary.
Families of the detained crew report that support for the president's position throughout the incident remained hight among the 24 captives.
One cannot help but speculate on the very different course that would have been pursued by a Clinton or Gore administration: the quivering lip, the shaking head, the teary eyes, the hand wringing, and – no doubt about it – the inevitable apology. Then, of course, would follow a whirlwind of media spin touting the wonders and marvels of such a caring and sensitive administration.
And what a bunch of bunk that would have been.
But we, and the world, would have known better. We would have known that our standing in the eyes of both friend and foe would have been taken down a notch. We would have known that another incident or crisis would have been the inevitable result of such kowtowing.
Fortunately, such concerns are not a reality. Fortunately, it once again feels good to feel pride in our president and our nation. Fortunately, we have a president at the helm of a mature and experienced team, able to face challenges head on while keeping his priorities for our national interest foremost in his mind.
It's a dangerous world out there, and it is reassuring to know that President George W. Bush is our commander in chief, because he certainly does have the
Read Dan's previous column:
• April 12, 5:00 p.m. –
Dan Frisa represented New York in the United States Congress and served four terms in the New York State Assembly.
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