No one in the media knows what caused the recent US-China standoff. Remember one of Colin Powell's six rules for deceiving the media: "Don't tell the whole story unless forced to do so." History shows that the U.S. Navy lies about facts in almost every international incident. The USA admitted that it violated Soviet and Chinese airspace hundreds of times during the Cold War, and over 150 Americans died as a result of numerous shoot-downs. It shouldn't surprise anyone if the secretive U.S. "intelligence" community continues its Cold war antics. The Navy EP-3 may have done nothing illegal, but then it is not illegal for someone to stand on the sidewalk in front of your house each day with binoculars, a sound amplifier, a video recorder, and a scanner to listen to your phone calls, until you go out and yell at him.
Perhaps the Chinese pilot misjudged the distance, perhaps the American pilot rocked his wings, perhaps air turbulence caused the collision. The EP-3 pilot claims he was on autopilot, but this would be very casual with Chinese fighters buzzing around. It also takes some imagination to explain how the nose cone could be sheared off with the aircraft flying straight and level. It really doesn't matter which pilot was at fault, the question is why the USA aggressively probes Chinese air defense networks with Navy EP-3 and Air Force RC-135 intelligence aircraft on a daily basis. They don't just cruise along the coast, but turn inland to record how the Chinese military reacts. These electronic snoops learn what radars are used and where are they located. What communication codes and frequencies are used to scramble fighters. Where the fighters come from and how long it takes them to respond. By the time the fighters arrive, the EP-3 or RC-135 has turned away and is cruising far from shore.
The U.S. military considers this good training which provides valuable intelligence. However, forcing the Chinese to scramble fighters is bothersome and expensive. Despite the image of a new powerful China, it has a smaller military budget than Japan. The USA has no direct security threats, but spends ten times more on its military than China, and still plans to boost spending. On the other hand, China has serious security concerns since it sees Russia, Japan, the USA, Taiwan, Vietnam, and India as potential enemies. China has also become worried that American military strikes have become common around the world. They do not believe that the 1999 bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was just a targeting error by the CIA, especially since it was the ONLY target submitted by the CIA during the entire Yugoslav bombing campaign. They must also be concerned that our Secretary of State was a four-star general and our ambassador to China was a four-star admiral.
The Chinese are profiting from U.S. trade and have nothing to gain by antagonizing the USA. They like the current arrangement in which Boeing trains their pilots and Sikorsky sells them advanced helicopters, while we get black berets for the U.S. Army. As a result, it seems that U.S. Navy admirals provoked this incident. Rumors from the current defense review that large aircraft carriers and surface ships are less valuable nowadays has alarmed the U.S. naval establishment. The Navy's favorite sales pitch is that aircraft carriers keep China from invading Taiwan, which is false. The entire U.S. military/industrial/congressional complex has complained about the Bush administration's reluctance to ignore public opinion and begin a major military spending spree.
There have been numerous incidents in recent years in which admirals conspired to provoke conflicts with the Soviet Union, Iran, and Libya. Admiral Blair, head of the Pacific Command, had increased the number of EP-3 flights in recent months and the planes began to fly closer to China than during the Cold war. According to the "Washington Post", Chinese military officers complained to their American counterparts at a meeting in Honolulu last May that the flights were coming "too close to the coast, and it might cause trouble," a Chinese officer said. From the Chinese point of view, that warning was "the most important topic" at the meeting, held annually under a 1998 agreement aimed at preventing military accidents and misunderstandings. The senior U.S. military officer at the Honolulu meeting, Marine Lt. Gen. Michael Hagee, confirmed that account, and informed the Chinese, "It is international airspace, and we have no intention of modifying what we are doing."
However, the U.S. military has established "zones of exclusion" near sensitive U.S. military installations and during major exercises in which international airspace laws are declared invalid. The Gulf of Sidra conflicts with Libya in the 1980s occurred whenever the U.S. 6th Fleet established a huge "zone of exclusion" just off the Libyan coast, and threatened any aircraft or ships that approached. In one incident, a hotdog Navy F-14 pilot shot down two Libyan Su-22s which were cruising off the coast. The Navy concocted a phony "dogfight" story in which an old Libyan Su-22 fired first and the Navy pilot became a hero. In 1988, the USS Vincennes shot down a Iranian airline which came within 12 miles of its self declared security zone. For the past ten years, the USA has mocked international law by unilaterally imposing "no-fly zones" over most of Iraq and parts of the Balkans.
The big hole in the current EP-3 story is why pilots of a top secret aircraft would turn around and fly 70 miles back to China. The damage was minor and three engines were fine. Why not try for Vietnam 100 miles away, or the Philippines 500 miles away? These are warm waters and three U.S. Navy destroyers were in the South China Sea for quick rescue if trouble developed and the crew bailed out. For unknown reasons, admirals authorized the EP-3 to land in China, and then dispatched a carrier battle group to the area, which was turned back on orders from the White House. According the recent reports in "Aviation Week", the Chinese have gained valuable intelligence from the EP-3. They will turn over the aircraft when they are done collecting information, following precedents set the by the U.S. military during the Cold war. Meanwhile, the U.S. military has recommended that Taiwan buy used American weaponry so the U.S. military can afford even more new weapons.
We may never know the truth, but the Navy has turned this affair into an extensive public relations campaign. The "freedom bird" stopped in Guam to prepare the hostages for the media show in Hawaii. After arriving in Hawaii they were paraded in front of the media and then subject to two days of secluded "debriefings", probably to ensure everyone understood the official story and the consequences of divulging "Top Secret" information to the press or family members. Within hours of arriving home, all these "heroes" appeared on all major news programs followed by excited warmongers stressing the evils of the Chinese military. Chinese human rights abuses were spotlighted, although the USA has more citizens imprisoned, and China has four times our population.
There are many powerful Americans who would love a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident to ignite a Cold war with China. After watching news coverage of this recent standoff, it is apparent that many of these warmongers control the U.S. media. News show ratings tripled during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. Last week, a major television network inflamed tensions by asking President Bush if the USA would use military force to defend Taiwan. Bush said yes, but a wise President should have pointed out that it would be unnecessary since China has only 10% of the naval force needed to attempt an invasion. China is a poor country with internal unrest and surrounded by potential enemies, it has nothing to gain by attacking Taiwan. However, U.S. Navy Admirals have succeeded in using the U.S. media to establish China as a new enemy of the American people.
Carlton Meyer editorG2mil@Gmail.com
May 2001 Articles
Letters - comments from G2mil readers
Ship Hangers - port security remains a joke
B-3 or B-747 - sealord, missile launcher, bomber
Boeing CX - buy 800 military 747s at half price
Future Infantry Weapons - several ideas from Phil West
Navy NMD - an outrageous scam to buy more destroyers
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