One of the definitions of a friend is “one who is not hostile.”
There are other definitions, of course, such as “attachment to one by
respect or affection,” and “one who supports or favors something.”
The same could be said for the word “ally,” only this term has little to
do with respect and affection. It applies to those who have entered into a
mutually beneficial alliance. Allied parties don’t necessarily have to like
each other, but they do have to share common interests.
Foe, on the other hand, is one who tries to attack or harm another. It
has much in common with the word enemy. They are essentially the same, yet
the word foe implicitly implies a military opponent.
These terms come to mind in light of our current diplomatic crisis with
the People’s Republic of China. As of the last update, they still have in
their possession 24 of our military personnel and a Navy EP-3E, a U.S.
military aircraft described by various reputable sources as being equipped
with the world’s most advanced and sophisticated snooping technology.
On the other hand, we have — not much.
As far as diplomatic relations go, if China were our ally, then there
obviously would be not a crisis. And if our relationship with this country
was friendly, odds are we probably wouldn’t even have been on a
reconnaissance mission along their coastline. Wait — I rescind that. We
probably would have been snooping anyway, as the business of spooks knows no
But in the unfortunate event of an accident between allied planes,
performing an emergency landing on an ally’s soil most likely would not have
resulted in the detention of our military personnel, the infiltration of our
aircraft, or the charges of violating a foreign country’s sovereignty.
Indeed, there would be all manner of communication and assistance.
But we’re talking friends, here.
Among enemies, it’s always different.
I must clarify here that I, personally, have nothing against the Chinese
people. It’s their government where I pause. And while this may simply be a
holdover mentality from the Cold War years, in today’s universal-acceptance
climate, it could be argued that I have been indoctrinated to believe certain
forms of government are better than others, not to mention more moral.
This could explain much of my incredulity with our former
administration, and the reflection I hold that of all of the damages our
former president inflicted on our country, of which there are many, the
gravest may have been in his projection of communist nations as benign and
For the manner in which Clinton approached China throughout his
presidency can only be described as one of open arms (both figuratively and
literally). Because of their similar ideologies, Clinton viewed China as an
ally, and the Chinese government viewed him as a particularly useful idiot.
But it was the tacit endorsement of a communist nation by our president
that has influenced the mass views of a country we previously held at arm’s
length. Preceding Clinton, communist nations were frequently denounced and
readily shunned because they represented significant threats to freedom, if
not outright assassins of freedom. We didn’t trade with them, we didn’t
invest with them and we didn’t assist them in their development.
And the primary reason we didn’t assist them was not to punish their
citizens, but because to do so would make us accomplices to untold misery, or
as Reagan put it, evil. It would be nothing less than giving someone money
to buy a gun you knew would be used for murder.
And murder, it did.
How this recent incident unfolded — they bumped us, we bumped them — is
not the crux of the matter.
The crux is that our country has been slowly lulled into a semi-lucid
state. People have been conditioned to believe the world is not that
dangerous, communism is not a threat and there are no problems that cannot
be solved peacefully.
If this were true, then there would be no purpose to China’s detaining
our military personnel. For that matter, there would be no purpose to
reconnaissance missions or even to the military.
As it is, we now have military personnel who actually believed they
could make an emergency landing in a highly sophisticated and classified
military plane at, of all places, a military base in a non-friendly nation.
What were they thinking? That the Chinese would help them fix the
plane? That our all-powerful government would reach across an ocean of
ideology and shake compassion out of the communists?
Our armed forces have always been, first and foremost, the defenders of
our country and the protectors of our national security.
This is not the way one protects our national security.
Somebody wake up the watchmen.