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Bush, Diplomacy, and China
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There's one incident that I have not heard brought up at all in this election year that happened while Bush was in office, before September 11th. It's not entirely surprising that 9/11 has overshadowed nearly every other issue, but I think this incident is a strong refutation of the charge that Bush is inept at foreign policy and diplomacy.

The incident is the mid-air collision of a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet on April 1st, 2001. Here is the BBC's in-depth coverage of the incident.

To recap, a U.S. spy plane was flying off the coast of China, in international waters. The Chinese jet was most likely harrying the flight, got too close, and bumped the larger plane. The Chinese pilot Wang Wei was killed in the crash.

The U.S. plane, with 24 crew members on board, made an emergency landing in China, and the crew was held. The standoff lasted eleven days, with intense negotiations and diplomacy. After the issuance of a letter of apology for the death of the pilot, the crew members were returned unharmed. After being inspected by the Chinese, the plane was also disassembled and returned.

The situation did not erupt (which it could have, easily). The crew was not harmed. We got the plane back. And there doesn't seem to have been any irreperable damage to US-Chinese relations.

I remember abstaining from the 2000 vote because I didn't like either candidate. And I remember being surprised and impressed at how Bush and his administration handled this incident.

And yet no one seems to remember it, and no one even mentions it. But it's incredibly relevant, don't you think?

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