This should most likely be moved to a non-aviation forum. But before that happens I thought that I would post something from Tom Friedman in the Op-ed in the NYTimes. I couldn't of said it better.
So Hong Kong Spotter if this what you want, I for one are willing to give it to you. We'll take the 24 Americans back as well as our $40 billion dollars in trade with China annually. We could also influence the world to vote against the Olympics, and send all the Chinese students home for US universities.
April 6, 2001 , New York Times
Sorry About That
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
I would never do this myself, but if one wanted to be nasty, one could write a column with the following lead:
"China says it wants an apology for the collision of the U.S. surveillance plane with a Chinese fighter jet, which resulted in the death of a Chinese pilot. Well, I say the Chinese are right. We should apologize. But why stop with the plane incident? We should apologize for being the market for $40 billion a year of China's exports. We should apologize for the fact that U.S. companies are among the largest foreign investors in China and have been instrumental in China's economic takeoff. We should apologize for the fact that 54,000 Chinese students study in the U.S. every year, more than any other nationality. We should apologize for the fact that the U.S. has shown restraint in weapons sales to Taiwan. We should apologize for the fact that the U.S. paved the way for China's entry into the World Trade Organization. Yes, we should apologize for all these things and promise to stop all of them immediately."
That would be the nasty approach. If I were trying to be a friend of China's, I would point out that China is behaving as if America were the only country with something to lose if this dogfight is not quickly resolved. China has said that either the U.S. accepts that the incident was all America's fault and apologizes, or the relationship will suffer and America will suffer. That's only half true.
Yes, U.S. interests would suffer from a prolonged crisis with China. But China would suffer just as much. Let's start with the basics: The Chinese Communist Party has struck the following bargain with the Chinese people: You let us continue to rule, even though Communist ideology is no longer functional, and we will guarantee rising living standards. For the Communist leadership to fulfill its side of this bargain it needs a steady inflow of investment and technology from the U.S., and, even more important, it needs access to the U.S. market for China's exports. If China is seen as holding U.S. airmen hostage, the U.S. Congress will move to block everything from China's entry into the W.T.O. to its trade privileges in the U.S. to its possible hosting of the 2008 Olympics.
Moreover, it would be one thing for China to call for an immediate U.N. investigation, or a joint U.S.-Chinese investigation, into this collision — which occurred in international airspace — and if the U.S. is found responsible to demand compensation. No problem. But for China to insist that the U.S. apologize before it has debriefed its own pilots, analyzed the flight recorders or spoken to Chinese military officials, is another way of saying that the rule of law does not matter. All that matters is how China feels. Such brutish behavior, if sustained, will quietly prompt China's neighbors — Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam — to draw militarily even closer to the U.S., and that would be a big strategic loss for China.
Finally, it took America 10 years to rebuild a bipartisan consensus on China after the Tiananmen Square killings, and it could all be exploded by this incident. Since Tiananmen and the end of the cold war, there have been three American camps on China: those who wanted to contain a rising China, as we did Russia; those who believed we could tame China with economic engagement; and those — who eventually became the bipartisan majority — who believed U.S. policy toward China should be to build bridges where possible and draw red lines when necessary. If this current affair is not resolved soon, the U.S. consensus on China will explode and the advocates of containment will triumph.
The press is now yammering that this crisis is a test for America's new leader. That's true. But it's just as big a test for China's old leaders — of whether they really understand the new world they're living in.
Guess what? America is not the only country enmeshed in today's global economy and globalization web. So is China. Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed "regret" about the loss of the Chinese pilot precisely to help those in China who don't want this affair to blow up relations with America. But China too has to behave in a way that enables its U.S. friends to sustain the relationship. China too has an enormous amount at stake in ending this crisis legally, quickly and quietly. Indeed, if one wanted to be nasty, one would say that China has a lot more at stake than the U.S. does.