The consequences of this diplomatic effort, however, undeniably bode well for U.S.
standing on the world stage and in the conduct of future foreign policy initiatives.
At home, public support for enhanced defense capabilities has grown dramatically, as has
the will to fund the expenditures necessary for implemention. When the comprehensive
Department of Defense review is concluded in several months by Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, there can be no doubt that more will be requested and approved by the
Congress than otherwise would have been the case.
Support for providing Taiwan with the most effective defense systems such as the Aegis
cruisers has reached more than majority proportions, largely as a result of having
witnessed, firsthand, the reality of Communist Chinese aggression.
By refusing to compromise on the threshold issue of an apology, the Bush administration
not only clearly stated that the U.S. will never accept blame for that which it did not do,
but it also signaled that it will not accede to pie-in-the-sky demands – such as halting
future reconaissance flights.
To the contrary, the U.S. cleverly composed language in which it essentially expressed
regret that the F-8 pilot killed himself and for having been forced – by that very pilot’s own
wreckless conduct – to land the EP-3, in a "mayday" status, on Hainan Island. Of course
we’re "very sorry" that such an incredibly stupid and suicidal act occurred that placed
our crew at risk of death.
It is also fortunate that the issue is now resolved without the meddling of the likes of Jesse
Jackson, who was poised to intercede in an attempt to somehow rehabilitate his tarnished
image. He was all but on the tarmac at O’Hare with his boarding pass in hand when the
agreement was announced.
Imagine what complications would have ensued had he been on the ground in Beijing with
the issue still in play. That nightmare scenario would likely have had him as
go-between or, worse still, as having successfully secured the release of the crew into
Gee, what great TV footage – to watch replayed thousands and thousands of times – that
would have made!
What would that have done for U.S. stature?
Given the certain adverse consequences that would have otherwise resulted, President
Bush faced the truth and showed himself equal to a difficult task.
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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