Perspective: Britain Must Think Hard about Supporting the USA

The Birmingham Post (England), April 7, 2001 | Go to article overview

Perspective: Britain Must Think Hard about Supporting the USA


Byline: David Wilson

Let's start with a hypothetical situation. Imagine, if you will, that an EP-3E Areis II spy plane from another country - equipped with the latest electronic and crypotlogical eaves-dropping equipment - has been flying on the edge our national airspace.

We send up an RAF fighter-pilot, and in ways that we don't yet understand the two collide, forcing the spy plane to land in the Shetlands and the RAF pilot to crash land into the North Sea, although his body has not yet been found.

A message is received from the country of origin of the spy plane, who inform our Government that on no account should anyone enter their plane - which if you remember is now safely on the ground in the Shetlands - and that the crew of the plane should be returned immediately.

How would we react to this hypothetical situation? I think we would feel rightly aggrieved, and so, while I am certainly no lover of China - it's record on human rights is just too appalling - I can feel nothing but sympathy for them given the circumstances of what has happened in the South China Sea and Hainan Island over the last few days.

America, which often likes to characterise itself as the 'world's policeman', has on this occasion been caught out in a wire-tap too far, and instead of holding its hands up and admitting that it has done wrong - as most civilian police forces would do - seems intent on attempting to blame the Chinese for the problem.

Should we be surprised that this is how the Americans have reacted? Clearly not. The new Bush administration has already shown itself determined to re-invent the Cold War, and like a new police officer not yet accustomed to the power that he possesses, Bush has been rampaging around the world letting everyone know that 'he's in charge', and is a veritable new kid on the block. …

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