April 2, 2001 5:16 PM   Subscribe

Wargames. Obviously ripping up Kyoto agreement not quick enough route to total destruction for George.
posted by blackbeltjones (30 comments total)
hmm... staying up late working... watching ABC World News with Peter Jennings (we get in on BBCNews24 here in the UK, at about 1.30am our time) - and the white house correspondent is saying that the warships that The Times said were mobilised have been ordered to return home...
posted by blackbeltjones at 5:43 PM on April 2, 2001

Between the upcoming release of the mega-blockbuster Pearl Harbor, increased competition for programming jobs in the tech sector, and Dubya's confrontational stance toward China, Japan and Northeast Asia, I'm sensing an uprising of WW2-style anti-Asian sentiment around the corner.
posted by waxpancake at 5:50 PM on April 2, 2001

yeah but he's friendly w/ Taiwan so he's OK with me.
posted by gyc at 6:29 PM on April 2, 2001

While tempted to chastise Bush about this, I don't think he's handling the situation poorly at all.

Really, when you think about this, it isn't all that big of a deal. It's certainly not as bad as when we "accidentally" bombed the Chinese embassy a few years back.

Still, all this tension with China has gotten a bit nerve wracking. I get the impression that the Bush administration wants another evil empire to go against. After all, it worked for Reagan.
posted by aladfar at 6:51 PM on April 2, 2001

New Bumper Sticker:

Don't Blame Me For World War III
I didn't vote for Bush.

posted by Wizzle at 7:13 PM on April 2, 2001

aladfar, I agree with you. Can someone tell me exactly what the State Department is doing wrong here?
posted by fooljay at 7:22 PM on April 2, 2001

ummmm....trashing relations with the second most powerful country in the world, maybe? and why? just so W. can boost support for SDI2?

This guy's foreign policy (all that waxpancake mentioned above, plus Cuba) is practically criminal.
posted by jpoulos at 7:43 PM on April 2, 2001

But in this situation, what has he done wrong? How should it have been handled?

I get the feeling that "piling on" Bush will be as big of a sport for Democrats as "piling on" Clinton was. Why does politics scream for vilification and partisanship?
posted by fooljay at 7:53 PM on April 2, 2001

By the way, how does putting pressure on China to release our downed airmen and equipment (which they downed in International waters) have anything to do with SDI2?!
posted by fooljay at 7:54 PM on April 2, 2001

Why does politics scream for vilification and partisanship?

What else is politics for?
posted by solistrato at 8:06 PM on April 2, 2001

The problem, Fooljay, is that Bush's somewhat ham-handed for selling an Aegis missle defense ship to Taiwan has the Chinese really, really antsy. But Bush and the State Dept. seem to be handling this fairly well (except, possibly, for insisting on getting the plane back when Bush called for China to release the American servicemen; it seems like a demand that's going to be ignored, so why make it and then seem to be backing down?). And China apparently has a 48 hour grace period following a consular request to allow visitors, according to a treaty with America, o this may yet work itself out without too much tension. Especially as the current ambassador to China is said to have a good relationship with the Chinese military.

And you're right this certainly isn't as bad as blowing the hell out of the Chinese Embassy.
posted by snarkout at 8:25 PM on April 2, 2001

China isn't the 2nd most powerful nation on the planet. Maybe 4th or so. They can't project power (even against Taiwan) and they have a limited nuclear capability. Now in 20 years or so they may be 2nd, but now they're strictly a regional power.
posted by CRS at 8:43 PM on April 2, 2001

gyc, I highly doubt that when the raging extremist mobs start rioting, they'll really differentiate between all Asians.

"Epicanthic folds, black haired? Sure, let's lynch 'em!"
posted by hobbes at 9:04 PM on April 2, 2001

How should it have been handled?

Diplomatically. And by that, I mean not just the tone but the mechanics. You've got a new ambassador who's just come in from HK, and a State dept that's still finding its feet (analogy: it's April, they need to watch a couple of pitches before they start swinging away). So you get the consular staff in China and the career people in DC on the case, working the back corridors, taking soundings. Leaving the administration to work as a kind of project management/facilitation team for them. In short: you make it look as if it's something that can be sorted out without the gestures of gunboat diplomacy. Treat it like you threw up on the foreign prime minister.

And that's the point: this is diplomacy here. Gestures are important. Tone is important. And while Bush undoubtedly had the tone for Texas, and in many respects has the tone for the US, he hasn't got it for the world stage just yet. Anyone want to send him a copy of Thucydides?
posted by holgate at 9:23 PM on April 2, 2001

By the way, how does putting pressure on China to release our downed airmen and equipment (which they downed in International waters) have anything to do with SDI2?!

I was thinking about this, actually. And the cynic in me popped out this gem: what if the confrontation has actually been engineered, not only to define China as the new bad guy for Bush's frigibellicosity, but also to suggest that conventional close surveillance is increasing dangerous and/or ineffectual? So: Bush says "right, the yellow horde have our spying technology, so now we've got to build the missile defence to protect ourselves..."

And if that's the case, then he's a fucking genius, and I take back my last comment entirely. An evil genius, yes, but still.
posted by holgate at 9:33 PM on April 2, 2001

Well, pace my own earlier thread, I think as it's played out so far the right tone has been taken overall. The biggest problem is that this is a classic Arab/Far East negotiation, epitomized by the aphorism He who speaks first, loses. The Chinese sat pat for almost two days on the basis of some preliminary statements, while we alternately raised and lowered our rhetoric. The warships must have been a gambit, we can hope: by pulling them back we look less jumpy. But by ordering them in, then pulling them back, we look simultaneously indecisive and impulsive.

The tone has been right, all things considered, but it really has an air of "Damn, we weren't going to pay attention to this until May 20-27, which our Presidential Transition Team designated in December as China Policy Week." Sort of an "Oh, we have to have a policy about this?" effect.

Arguably, the belligerent rhetoric combined with badly-managed and incoherent responses at the diplomatic level contributed to China's interest in testing Bush's resolve. A little like a certain negotiation under Bush the Elder that led to our most recent war.

I'm not going partisan numb-nuts here; I'm more pulling my hair out. You'd think they'd be better at this.
posted by dhartung at 10:25 PM on April 2, 2001

Note please that tempers seem to have flared up in China. The Times of India has this story about the response to the spy-plane incident in chinese internet chat rooms. Fighting words indeed...
As for the international waters issue, I think *that* is the point of this whole incident. China considers the whole South China Sea as territorial waters and seems to think the same about the airspace over it... Whether this is a valid claim or not I have no idea... but it seems that, valid or not, China has shown, in a very direct way, that it will enforce these boundaries whether the US accepts them or not.
posted by talos at 6:07 AM on April 3, 2001

What the liberal hordes of Metafilter are missing here is that the way Bush is handling this is rather middle of the road.

Try to keep in mind that the reaction from the right-wing here was to give the chinese a 24hr ultimatum and threaten all out war if they didn't return our crew and plane un-touched.

To the right this was an act of war by the chinese. I'm not saying it is a rational view (nor that this slack jawed diplomacy the left wants is either) but it *is* the view of a large portion of Bush's base.

Alot of you seem to think that anything this guy does is horribly wrong and right wing. Try to give him credit when he finds the middle ground. In my opinion, he found it here.
posted by revbrian at 6:09 AM on April 3, 2001

Could it be? YES!
posted by quadruplepostguy at 8:41 AM on April 3, 2001

I'm gonna go reserve 'dodecapostguy.'

The day is coming.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:42 AM on April 3, 2001

Too late for that, sam.

posted by dodecapostguy at 8:44 AM on April 3, 2001

Umm, Darren? As part of Rev. Brian's liberal horde, I gotta ask -- how exactly is losing the plane Dubya's fault?
posted by snarkout at 9:13 AM on April 3, 2001

yeah, i'm curious too, darren. i didn't vote for dubya but i think he's behaving as well as can be in this situation.
posted by bliss322 at 9:53 AM on April 3, 2001

If our Mensa president hadn't spent the past 3 months rattling sabers at the Chinese in an effort to pacify the hard-liners in his administration, I suspect he'd have found the Chinese more willing to discuss returning our plane and our people. Because he's been tweaking their noses (selling hi-tech arms to Taiwan, etc.) they've got him over a barrel and they know it.
posted by darren at 10:17 AM on April 3, 2001

[Because he's been tweaking their noses (selling hi-tech arms to Taiwan, etc.) they've got him over a barrel and they know it.]

It's my understanding that we haven't decided what to sell Taiwan and won't decide until the end of the month. If that is indeed the case, it us we who have the upper hand.

Even if I am incorrect in this, we certainly have several options
posted by revbrian at 10:39 AM on April 3, 2001

Fiction, meet reality. Reality, fiction.
posted by darren at 11:08 AM on April 3, 2001

we certainly have several options

Call me Mister Cynic, but with an economy already under pressure, I can't see Dubya's corporate lobby cheering on any trade sanctions against China.
posted by holgate at 2:20 PM on April 3, 2001

Re the story referenced here:

How would they know that the posters were actual Chinese any more than any AOL user knows that BritNeyQT is a 15yo girl??

I hate the media...
posted by fooljay at 5:01 PM on April 3, 2001

the fact that the said forum at sina.com is a chinese language forum, sort of predisposes one to believe that at least the majority of posters are Chinese.
Mind you that doesn't preclude the Chinese gvt. setting up some of these posts, but IMHO this reaction (in light of the violently anti-USA demonstrations after the Belgrade embassy bombing) could very well be real.
posted by talos at 1:44 AM on April 4, 2001

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