Red China: Headed the wrong way?
You might want to mark April 1, 2001, on your calendar because the day the Red Chinese and our EP-3 electronic surveillance aircraft collided may signal the beginning of a conflict with graver consequences than the recently concluded Cold War.
The weaving of History always makes a fuzzy tapestry at first. But as the coming conflict with Red China grows more intense, we need to examine four of the threads. The first is the Monica-inspired, U.S.-led air bombardment of the former Yugoslavia without a formal declaration of war. The second is the U.S. bombing of the Red Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. The third is the recent downing of the U.S. Navy aircraft on Hainan Island. The forth is Red Chinese penetration of our hemisphere.
One of our more successful post-World War II foreign policies was to foster tension and discord between the Soviet Union and Red China – the two communist superpowers. But our intervention in the Balkans has brought the two powers most able to do us harm closer together.
Both Russia and Red China saw the religious and ethnic turmoil in the former Yugoslavia as an internal affair. They saw the U.S.-NATO intervention as an assault upon the concept of national sovereignty. If the U.S. would intervene in the Balkans where its vital security interests were not at stake, then the U.S. might intervene anywhere.
The Russians are still furious about our attacks on their fellow Slavs in the Balkans. The Red Chinese are still seething over our bombing of their embassy in Belgrade.
The Red Chinese find it difficult to accept our explanation that we were unaware of the new address of the Red Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Given the social life between foreign embassies, all foreign service wives stationed abroad know where to send their RSVPs for embassy receptions and parties. Perforce, they know the latest address of every embassy in town. Thus, it is inconceivable to the Red Chinese that we would send a missile to an address in downtown Belgrade that every diplomat’s wife would know was the current address of their embassy.
The Red Chinese conclude that we either bombed their embassy on purpose or the Clintonistas were stupid. This observer votes for stupid. But the Red Chinese are using the embassy bombing to fan anti-U.S. public opinion and as another justification for their military build-up against us.
Clearly, the Red Chinese are conflicted. To feed a population they cannot even count, they need our trade. Rice famines have brought down a number of Chinese regimes. History tells their mandarins or nomenclatura to fear famine more than foreign invasion. French aristocrats learned that lesson about bread.
At the same time, the Red Chinese want to take over prosperous and productive Taiwan. They see Taiwan as an even more profitable version of Hong Kong.
They would take Taiwan by force. But our aircraft carrier task forces in the South China Sea prevent that. So, they are building a fleet of submarines and surface ships designed to defeat our naval forces.
With the U.S. out of the way, they can take Taiwan and then take possession of the oil-rich Spratly Islands near the Philippines. Moreover, they could interdict the oil shipping routes from the Persian Gulf to Japan and take control of the Japanese economy.
Red China already controls the Panama Canal and has a growing presence in the Bahamas. Chinese President Jiang Zemin just visited the capitals of every nation in South America and Cuba. Are the Red Chinese saying that if we continue to monitor the South China Sea that they will challenge our hegemony over the Western Hemisphere?
Our EP-3 was observing their war preparations. A CHICOM interceptor pilot with the ironic name of, Wang Wei, flew the wrong way and lost his life. In GI-Chinese, that is: Dum Gai.
These four threads. Are they weaving us toward World War III?
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today.
©2001. William Hamilton.