China is Right

Les Schaffer schaffer at
Sat Apr 7 07:46:04 MDT 2001


[BOUNCE html format from " George Snedeker" <snedeker at>

the following article is by a conservative liberttarian. i post it
because it addresses many of the issues we might be interested in. of
course the author's motives differ from our own. G.S

April 6, 2001

China Is Right
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

The US government has flipped its lid on this China spy plane mess. So
have many commentators who are refusing to come to terms with some
very obvious facts. Once you blow away the fog, you can see that if
anyone should be protesting right now, it is American citizens against
their own government.

Number one: the collision between the US spy plane and the Chinese jet
occurred along China's border. Think about that and you can understand
why China is so unhappy.

Now, the US claims it was in "international airspace," but backs up
this claim with a rule arrived at unilaterally by the US government
and accepted by no one else. The US makes up rules to justify its
behavior, rules that US does not accept if applied against US

The space where the collision occurred is normally used to facilitate
commerce, not hostile military activities. But in US foreign policy,
there is a presumption that the whole world is a playground for the US
government to do what it wants.

Number two: the US plane was a spy plane. Say it three times: it was a
spy plane. It was not a commercial airliner. Hence it is preposterous
for the US to say that a spy plane landing in Chinese territory is
somehow sovereign property. The international law on this subject
applies to civil aviation.

The US spy plane was seeking to intercept communications and rip off
information for US military advantage, probably at the behest of
China's unfriendly neighbors. This makes it an aggressor against
China, just as the US considers any attempt to spy on us to be an
aggression and evidence of hostility.

Number three: the US spy plane landed at a Chinese military
airport. The US crew never asked permission to do so. Imagine what the
US would do if a Chinese spy plane were zipping around outside
Virginia, became entangled with US jets, and then landed at a US
base. The US would not say: "Sorry, guys, about interrupting your spy
mission. Thanks for visiting our military base and come back soon."

Number four: the Chinese pilot is dead. The US crew is not. Also still
dead are the three Chinese journalists who died when the US bombed the
Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia in 1999. No US soldiers died in that
incident either. The carnage is beginning to mount, and, no surprise,
that at some point the Chinese decide they're not going to take it
anymore. How long can one country be subjected to murderous attacks
from the US before it begins to complain? But if they do complain,
this is decried in the US as "nationalism."

Number five: there is no mystery about how the US treats such
cases. In 1976, a Soviet MIG carrying a defector landed in Japan. The
Soviets demanded the plane back. The US complied after taking the
entire thing apart. It was sent back to Moscow in packing crates.

On another occasion in the 1970s, the US secretly tried to raise a
Soviet submarine from the ocean. We use any means possible to obtain
military equipment from potentially hostile nations. So turnabout is
fair play.

Number Six: the US spy plane was not an innocent victim. No one can
say for sure how the collision occurred, but it seems obvious that the
US version of events - a spy plane minding its own business gets
bumped by a Chinese jet - isn't true. This was a case of the kind of
cat-and-mouse that cars play on highways all the time.

If it turns out that the US is wholly to blame, it wouldn't be the
first time. A couple of years ago, American fighter pilots cut ski
cables in Italy, killing 20 civilians with their recklessness. And
just recently, show-offs and goof-offs cruising the world in a
submarine sunk a Japanese school boat, killing nine, four of whom were
17-year-old kids.

Number Seven: the US has fulminated for years about supposed spying by
China against the US. Remember the Cox Report? For all of its bluster,
it never went so far as to accuse China of flying spy planes around
our borders. But it turns out that the US regards such activity as
routine and justifiable, if directed against other countries.

The message is obvious: the US can do whatever it wants with its
military, but believes itself exempt from the very laws it wants to
apply to others. This attitude engenders hatred around the world.

Though no one in the US cares to remember, the Chinese have not
forgotten the US role in the so-called Opium Wars. In this
19th-century drug war, military force was used to addict the Chinese
to drugs so as to create customers for opium. Nor have they forgotten
the Boxer Rebellion, when US troops - in pursuit of continuing
economic control - burned and looted the ancient imperial
compound. Nor, to take more recent examples, have they forgotten the
US threatening them twice in the 1950s with nuclear annihilation for
responding to huge Taiwanese troop movements to the islands of Quemoy
and Matsu near the mainland.

To say there are double standards at work here is a wild
understatement. Despite all the mistreatment, Beijing doesn't want
war. It wants the US to behave like a responsible trading partner, not
the world hegemon it has become. But there is only so much humiliation
and bloodshed that a nation can be subjected to before its citizens
demand reprisal.

Washington probably doesn't want war either. What it wants is a
license to spy on and otherwise invade the world, killing and maiming
whenever the time seems right, and never having to be held
responsible. Washington wants what every bully wants: the freedom to
beat people up and never pay the price.

American citizens should join their friends across the ocean and
protest US imperial adventures. Our heritage is one of peace. Our
founders tried to create a system that would prevent the establishment
of a world military empire. It is our moral duty to criticize such an
establishment when it threatens to upset peaceful commercial ties,
which in the Chinese case are extensive and magnificent.

At minimum, we must demand that US commentators cut out the absurd
Cold War language of belligerency, lies, and reprisal. China has never
done anything to us. We must demand that our own government stop the
spying, bombing, and killing. No American citizen benefits from the US
empire. But we each have much to gain from having it dismantled.

There is only one evil empire alive in the world today, and it is not

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., is president of the Ludwig von Mises
Institute in Auburn, Alabama. He also edits a daily news site,

More information about the Marxism mailing list