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Howard's End: A Rat Is Detected In U.S. Policy

If there's one thing that is fast becoming evident from the standoff between China and the U.S. over the spy plane incident, it's that diplomats and strategists in the West have little understanding of China's ancient culture. John Howard writes.

The Chinese don't have five or ten year plans – their plans are fifty years long. The one child policy is a classic example. Just recently China announced that it will continue with that policy for another fifty years. Government stability and ideology is so certain in China, that, unlike the West, it can guarantee that level of forward planning.

And so it should come as no surprise to Western diplomats and strategists that China calls the last two centuries "the era of humiliation."

On the one hand, we have the U.S. saying that when its spy plane collided with the Chinese jetfighter, it was operating in internationally recognised space and there is no need for it to apologise. On the other hand, the Chinese say the incident occurred over the South China Sea in an area which is its own historic waters.

China says that its large territorial losses, brought about by foreign countries over the last two centuries, makes its claims legitimate. For example, in the 19th century foreign countries dominated China and divided it into spheres of influence. Only after almost half a century of political tumult was China able to expel the foreigners and unite again.

It is not surprising that China is now standing firm in its claims to disputed territories, including the vast islands and waters of the South China Sea where there have been huge discoveries of oil and natural gas equating to half of China's mainland oil reserves, and there are good reserves of fish to help feed its 1.3 billion population.

Without doubt China will also use the current crisis as a way to rally the population towards nationalism, and so seek to prolong it.

Moreover, the Chinese simply don't accept the U.S. claim of "a right to espionage" which the Pentagon says the U.S. was exercising. China well knows that the U.S. military does not tolerate close surveillance of American territory.

But what is America up to? Most of their current diplomats and strategists, including the CIA and NSC, can't even speak Chinese, so how on earth can they ever hope to understand what China is saying - considering the difficulties in understanding which always arises through translation.

I smell a rat in U.S. foreign policy.

The U.S. Navy EP-3E aircraft is one of the great prizes of military technology and for it to fall into the hands of a foreign nation would be one of the security blunders of the Millennium. The EP-3E is so stuffed with advanced computers and code-crackers that even Congressional staff members with top secret clearances are not allowed on board.

Yet this aircraft was deliberately allowed to fall into the hands of a power which Congress accuses of engaging in massive espionage against U.S. nuclear secrets.

Nah, it just doesn't add up.

The plane flew out from Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, which has caused the Japanese to assure China that it is not involved.

After the collision, the plane called a 'mayday' emergency and flew to the nearest airfield, which just happened to be the Chinese Lingshui high-tech military base.

I have these questions:

1. Why didn't the crew just ditch the plane by setting demolition charges, bail out, take to their life rafts and await rescue?

2. Why didn't the crew fly over the base, disable the high-tech gear, bail out by parachute and let the plane fly on auto to its destruction in the sea?

3. Who gave the orders to the crew in the 15 minutes between the collision and the landing, to deliver such a sophisticated spy plane to a foreign power? (We know the radios were fully operational.)

There are standard operating procedures for the destruction of top secret equipment in an emergency situations such as this, which were clearly not followed - deliberately or otherwise.

And this was a huge intelligence prize for the Chinese, so it all smells very ratty!

There is one further scenario worth considering that may provide an explanation.

The U.S. administration wants to build a Nuclear Missile Defence System which will require huge amounts of tax dollars from the American public. Any sniff of an incident which could lead to possible conflict, or war with China, and the Congress - along with the public - usually caves-in to the plans of the U.S. military machine.

You decide - because you're likely to get it more right than the present crop of diplomatic and strategic nitwits.

As former U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower said as he left the White House, " Beware the military industrial complex."

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