Actually, we have a leader who has been working feverishly throughout the last several months sifting through the garbage of the last administration to salvage what vestiges of an actual foreign policy we may still have, and to formulate and enforce (for the lack of a better word) a consistent foreign policy. The reaction of the administration of the past 8 years had been to send the US armed forces to almost every area of conflict in the world, to do everything from what the armed forces are supposed to do, to passing out rice at refugee camps. Whatever would give the Zipper in Chief that 5 point bump in the approval rating polls that week was what was done. Eight years of neglect are not fixed overnight, and the President and the team he has assembled (Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, among others), have things well in hand. So, please, if your opinion is based solely on the NY Times Op-Ed page, do not speak for the rest of your countrymen, or even "most" of them.
To the rest of you, using an incident like this to try to start the traditional "Europe is paradise on earth, you heathen Americans" flame wars, you should be ashamed of yourself. This could easily have been a British plane or French plane on a NATO mission. China has had a vision of world dominance with concrete plans on the books for quite a while. They are slowly and methodically pursuing those plans, with things heating up quite rapidly at the moment. When the wonderful PLA is knocking at the EU's door, and don't think they wouldn't, I am sure the horrible US Armed Forces will be welcomed with open arms, as the EU joint force would not even concern the PLA...it's always the same thing, when American money or firepower is needed, arms are wide open, but the rest of the time, American money and firepower are derided as the bane of civilization. As a couple people pointed out before, this sort of American activity has assisted the European public a couple times, at least!
Southside Irish...our two teams are the White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs!