Monday, November 29, 2021

Home again

The return of the spy plane crew was most important

It is refreshing to have the crew of a U.S. spy plane back on American soil in a peaceful manner, but the situation with China could have been resolved more quickly.

The 24 crew members of the plane that made an emergency landing in China nearly two weeks ago landed in Hawaii on Thursday.

The crew was returned to the United States after President Bush approved a compromise on the language of a letter to China. The letter said the United States was “very sorry” for the loss of Chinese pilot Wang Wei and for the spy plane’s landing on Chinese soil.

Wang is still missing after the collision between the jet he was flying and the U.S. spy plane over the South China Sea. He is presumed dead.

The United States was right to apologize to China for the loss of the pilot and landing in its country. While the crew had little choice as to where to land, an apology for that would not compromise the country in any way. It was also best to apologize for the presumed death of the pilot; a U.S. crew was involved in the incident and should express sorrow for the loss of one of China’s countrymen.

It was not the responsibility of the United States to shoulder the blame for the collision. The important issue in this situation was not to place blame entirely on one party, but to work to resolve the situation and return the crew members to the United States.

It can’t be denied that the United States was on a spy mission, but espionage is not uncommon. While China was calling for an admission of guilt, it should also have addressed its pilot’s role in the incident as well.

This situation was a major test for the Bush administration. To submit to Chinese demands simply to maintain good diplomatic relations would be detrimental to the country’s image under Bush.

This situation was handled relatively well and without tragedy beyond the initial incident, but it could have been resolved faster. While 11 days is shorter than some other hostage-like situations, this could have been over faster by compromising sooner. An agreement could have been negotiated faster without compromising the integrity of the country.

Relations between the United States and China are already tense, and China is not a country to upset. The United States needs to know when to stand its ground and when to work on a compromise. While an agreement was eventually made, this situation did not help already weak relations and the United States could have benefited more from working toward an agreement faster.

The situation with China was resolved without much of a major incident. However, both countries could have benefited from a faster resolution. While the United States should have apologized for the loss of China’s pilot and landing on China’s soil, there was no need to accept total responsibility for the collision.

The important thing is that the crew of the U.S. spy plane is home safe.


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