In an incredible show of arrogance, the United States of America has admitted that it sent an aircraft on a spying mission over the northern coastline of China yesterday. The Pentagon has stated that it intends to perform “reconnaissance missions” starting in international waters over China’s northern coast and moving southwards gradually. These flights are to test the Chinese radar capacity, since when the aircraft enters a zone, the radars automatically log on, and their position is pinpointed by the spy plane. This policy will be connected to the recent arms package signed with Taipei, the Taiwanese capital. Although China regards Taiwan as a rebel province, the Bush administration signed a 4 billion USD agreement, including 4 Kidd destroyers, 8 submarines and 12 PC3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft. Today’s aircraft was a four-engined jet, the RC 135, which took off from the US Naval base at Okinawa. The flight will be seen as provocative and insensitive, especially at a time immediately after the incident with the US Navy EC3E aircraft, which 5 weeks ago crashed in southern China after a collision with a Chinese fighter jet, in which the Chinese pilot died. China protested vigorously after this incident, but President Bush had stated that the missions would proceed. Today is evidence that this is being put into place, as the Pentagon announces a change in policy, as the USA moves away from its “Two Major Wars” capacity, maintained since the Cold War days. The Pentagon does not regard that Europe poses a threat to the security of the USA and therefore intends to phase out military presence in this continent, preparing instead for intervention on a global scale, not a localised one. The US Armed Forces will therefore increase their capacity for mobility and attack overseas, not a defensive position. This means that south-east Asia is the natural arena for an increased belligerence, now that China affirms itself as an important world power. Whether this administration has the capacity to sustain a credible policy in case of crisis management necessities, is another question. US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, admitted “There’s no question that I made a mistake”, when he decided to cancel all military contracts with China, then was forced two days later by the White House to agree to review these contracts on a “case be case” basis. While making mistakes is only human, one would expect a greater degree of cohesion if the administration is to be perceived as credible. The incident which most springs to mind is the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, in which civilians died, after which the US offered a limp apology and the pathetic excuse that their maps were out of date. With the prolific number of incidents provoked by the USA’s mistakes in recent months around the world, some of them unfortunately murderous, and a President who sums up a disastrous 100 days in office as “pretty darn good”, this administration is far from credible. Further, if a nation has armed forces to defend itself, why does the United States have its troops deployed half way round the globe ? In the event, Donald Rumsfeld should not be called “defence secretary”, he should be “Minister for War”.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON
The Bulgarian authorities made a stupid and absurd decision when they did not let a government flight with official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova on board fly to North Macedonia