Is America "losing face" in China because of Bush's incompetence?

While I have always thought GW Bush to be inadequate as a world leader, he has since demonstrated to my satisfaction that he may be inadequate in basic foreign policy. Unless he is a genius at strategy, it seems he has let Chinese national interests and their censored, fabricated, and crafted point of view dominate American media for the last two days. He seems helpless, maybe confused or even lost. It is obvious that the Chinese knew exactly what to do about this latest incident from day one. We are now the shame and laughingstock of the world for the second time since the Florida recount.

In case anyone is wondering what makes Chinese culture tick, please refer to the following tourist cites and especially note the parts about “saving face” since it is NO LAUGHING MATTER in Chinese culture and completely separates our culture from theirs. (In this case we are being set-up to lose face in China via propaganda, not as a mere faux pas):
My advice to GW Bush:

ADMIT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND CHINESE CULTURE, and pretend that they bluffed you and took advantage of your ignorance and inexperience (this is important, not only because it is true, but it will make the Chinese leadership look crafty).

EXPLAIN TO THE CHINESE ON NATIONAL TV that in America and the free world, we find all the causes to every accident and we DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING and it is a BAD SIGN or BAD FAITH to demand apologies, so we don’t give them freely or merely from some cultural expectation (quote your father if possible because they eat up that shit with a spoon).

According, IMMEDIATELY slap a maximum 15% “emergency tariff” on all imported goods from China pending the release of “prisoners” and explain that this is ONLY FAIR(this is within any US president’s right).


HINT that the CAUSE of the crash was due to their nation’s poor pilot training and NEPOTISTIC POLITICAL SELECTION of Chinese pilots. (This is where, as a pilot, you can save face completely if you dare, but please leave out the word “nepotism,” or they will expose you as a fraud).

DEMAND to know why the Chinese pilot HAD TO ASK PERMISSION TO BAIL OUT, according to his wingman’s statement, and explain that this is a dangerous idea, and remind the world that China does not even require fire escapes in factories, cite the enormous number of fire deaths in unsafe Chinese factories (this helps reminds them they are a cruel dictatorship).


Note: GW Bush was on TV today, he threw an opening baseball out onto a field for an opener, but he theatrically wound up like a real pitcher and threw it too hard for his ability, and it bounced off the dirt, out of control. This guy may have knee-jerk conservatives in America fooled, but not the Chinese.

You know, just when you start to break up your posts into readable paragraphs you use caps. Ah well, I suppose me not reading your posts is all for the best.

The Chinese love CAPS.


It would seem that you are upset that Bush will not take a harder line in resolving this situation. Frankly, that’s unfair. Right now, most of the cards are held by the Chinese, and they know it. They have the plane and the crewmen. We may well be completely in the right about the incident, but it doesn’t change the situation.

Let’s look at alternatives:

First, the “knuckle under” approach: This is what they Chinese want, so badly that they are risking everything to get it. China wants to be a superpower, and to dominate the Eastern Hemisphere, and what better way to do it than by facing down the USA? I personally suspect that they were expecting a response that would be more in line with the previous administration. Any kind of an apology would be the absolute worst possible thing for Bush to do. THIS would cost us tremendous “face”, not only in China but across the world.

Second, the “kick their ass” approach: Any proposal of military action (hostage rescue, destroy the plane) is totally ridiculous on the fact of it.

Third, the “get tough approach”: This would seem to be your approach. Be careful though, and remember we still have to share the same globe with these guys. No good is going to come out of backing them into a corner, the Chinese are going to have to see that they have room to back down and save face on their own side. If this situation goes on any longer, the Chinese are in deep enough trouble as it is - they just don’t realize how bad yet. For starters, they can kiss Most Favored Nation trade status goodbye. The only thing that keeps the Chinese government in power is the steadily improving Chinese economy. We are their largest trading partner, and the House/Senate is getting pissed.

This solution will be resolved in the course of a couple weeks as the Chinese soften their position after seeing we will not kowtow to their demands. Bush has been dealt a bad hand, and I’ll credit him for now as playing it the best he can.

And the pitch at Milwaukee? The guy is a middle age executive and wearing a bulletproof vest. Give him a break, BB - at least he was at the mound instead of tossing it out of the stands. Can you put one across home plate?

Oh, and by the way, don’t you think that this is a little heavy? We had a close and disputed election that was resolved peacefully by our system. There’s a lot of countries where this is not the case, and people in them who would dearly love to live here instead.

A friend of the Devil said:

As a Brazilian I guarantee you the the US were indeed laughing stock so what B.B. said was correct. On a little tangent my country didn’t have any kind of elections at all from 64 to 85 and this here dictatorship had Us backing all the way.
Also this peacefull solution was not nescessarily the ideal one.
And another thing that got me pissed was this

Yeah dude. If you know were better of than say uhh you know, anhhhh Serra Leoa than there’'s nothing wrong here. Ahhh Yeah man me rules.

I’ll sum up the OP for those who don’t speak Rant…

Bush is incompetent because he doesn’t have a magic wand that makes all problems disappear.

And, to continue the slight hijack… if the US were the laughingstock of the world, how come we’re on top of the heap? That’s like saying Microsoft is the “laughingstock” of the computer industry.

If you take laughing stock to mean “to be the object of jokes or laughter” I think your assesment is quite correct.

Regarding apology,

I think it would be a bad idea too. When I read that 80% of Americans wanted Bush to deliver one, I realized how foolish and humiliating it would be to cater to the Tiamamen square killers who are getting our elite to move so many high-tech factories over there (with 300 million unemployed, they can’t resist).

Regarding laughingstock,

The US tries to project alot of self-images worldwide, some of the wrapped in the guise of superiority, see Spoofe’s post for absolute proof of this.


What heap would this be? The heap of gang violence? The heap of violent entertainment? The heap of uninsured citizens and inadequate health care? The rising heap of inequality? The heap of tobbacco addiction? The heap of energy consumption and pollution? The heap of top soil erosion? The heap of special interests and selective corporate welfare (see ethanol and sugar subsidies)? The heap of military spending to police the world? You are perhaps confusing the fact that many Americans are on top of the heap. I used to call this the “Hollywood effect” where some asshole junkie from LA would lead people to think they knew the stars.

Note: I have yet to meet a young European who doesn’t ridicule the US for being arrogant (I live in a tourist area and meet at least one per week). So, the sad part is when it is reported that 10% of our meager voter turnout are tossed out, and that some people have to wait in long lines to vote, and ballots are confusing, etc. It is hugely embarrassing to those who try to reform other systems abroad.

In this case, however, I am referring to America losing face in Asia over this crash incident. Many in Asia hold up America to their friends and family as being better for good comparisons, and they are like unofficial ambassadors, and the leaders in China absolutely NEED to humiliate Bush to make a point. Bush could capitalize on this by turning the tables. They see Bush as vulnerable just by having to be elected in the first place. He might as well make his mark and reputation in China and embarrass the leadership there for being mass murderers, another opportunity might not present itself for along time.

The longer China demands an apology and fails to get it the less leverage it will be seen to have.
Imagine if the US says to China that it does not care about the aircraft, what would China look like to the rest of the world by holding those personnel as hostage ?

China needs US markets a sight more than the US needs buy their goods.

Real world, don’t piss off your biggest customers when you depend on them.

All the US needs do is to pass the word very quietly to high level Chinese officials that there will be a total import ban, not make this public and solutions will be found rapidly.

The rest of the world will see this, China needs to get out of this gracefully, right now they have painted themselves in a corner.

These sorts of incidents have been currency between superpowers for decades, the loss of this aircraft and some secret equipment is damaging but I would bet that worse has happened (think FBI spies) and yet the US just continues onward and upward.

Ooooo… The Brazillians are laughing at us. Please.
What is it that people think Bush should do that he isn’t doing? China want’s Bush to apoligize because in Chinese culture, that apology makes the Chinese government look powerful.

How pathetic would it look for Bush to cave in to a bunch of primitives just because they hold a few of our people as “guests” for a little while? That’s part of the political game and our soldiers and airmen understand that when they sign up.

Wrong. There are plenty of people in the State Department, CIA, etc who understand Chinese culture. What purpose would pretending to be bluffed by the Chinese serve other than to make Bush look weak? Right now the Chinese look like that crazy old neighbor who keeps your baseball when it goes into his yard.

Wrong. China is used to being dirt poor. Besides, threats would just cause China to take a harder stance in order to avoid losing face.

And this would serve to do what? “Prisoner” has the connotation that they may have commited some crime or were engaged in a hostile action (as in a “prisoner of war”). Tienamen Square is no more relevent to this discussion than Ruby Ridge or Waco Texas.

This has been more than hinted at. The pilot aparently had a history of reckless behavior when engaging foreign aircraft.

Why do we care about Chinese military procedures or fire safety codes? This just distracts from the issue.

I don’t understand this comment. Do Bush’s pitching skills somehow relate to his leadership ability?
Threats and stiring up world public opinion against the Chinese is not the best way to get them to free our people. It just puts them on the defensive and makes them more stubborn. What Bush needs to do is figure out a way for the Chinese to return our stuff without causing them to lose face and without making us look like we caved in.

I’m sorry, mssmith, but how is China a bunch of “primitives?” Just because their culture is different?

Have you ever seen their artwork, or ancient philosophy? They may seem backwards to us, but I would hardly call them primitive.

Anyhoo, when has the US NOT been laughed at? I’ve talked with friends from Canada and the UK and such, and trust me, the US in general and American tourists are usually viewed as pushy, arrogant and ignorant.
(NOT that that is true, but alot of people have that stereotype.)

We’re the richest, most powerful country on the planet. THAT heap.

Or are you going to suggest that we face possible invasion from Rwanda? Or Indonesia? Or India?

I’m sorry if you find it offensive that a supposedly “horrible” country like the United States leads the pack in terms of productivity and prosperity. I would suggest that you probably don’t know too much about American society aside from Starbucks-bred teen angst and/or drivel that you read in the National Enquirer.

Does anyone else see the irony in Brazil laughing at our election process and proceedings? Considering how recently Brazil was ruled by a tin-pot dictator and how long the U.S. has been a democracy, perhaps they ought to do a little less laughing and take a few more notes.

Where did you read this? Everything that I have read or seen indicates that about 60% of Americans approve of how the Administration is handling the matter, and that a majority of Americans do not want an apology to be issued.

Considering that the US installed, backed, and supported many of those dictators, I’d say we deserve a lot of it.

NOt that I’m starting this sort of anti-US thing…just pointing out that the US can be majorly hypocritcal when it comes to these sort of things.

That heap of yours. Are you standing on it, or under it?


I’m not going to give in to my first instincts and continue the hijack about how America is percieved abroad. If you want to debate this we would be better off in a new thread.

To respond to the comments quoted above:

I’m sorry, but I’m sure glad that you don’t work in the State Department. That last sentence, about “mark and reputation” and “embarrasing the leadership” is NOT what we want to do. As I stated before, we do not want to back these guys into a corner that will make the situation worse. That kind of heavy handed “diplomacy” is the kind that starts wars. You seem to view this situation as a great opportunity to slap the Chinese government around a little.

You seem to have a great deal of animosity towards the Chines government (and people) in general. Are they a brutal and oppressive dictatorship? Sure. Would it be a nicer world if they were gone? Possibly. Is heavy-handed, challenge and accuse diplomacy the best way to deal with them? No. I have lived through 40 years of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and have some hopes that we have learned better ways of dealing with other nations from that experience.

These situations are not new. You might look up the U-2 incident, or the USS Peublo, for starters. Right now, my sympathies are with the 24 crewmen and the people trying to peacefully resolve this problem, nd not with someone who thinks this is a great chance to kick some Chinese butt.

Hey BB, watch what you say there.

A Friend of the Devil is a friend of mine.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Not counting the Kyoto debacle.

So the Chinese want an apology? My reaction is, sure, give it to them-but in a way that makes it clear that we regard the whole thing as a joke. And, we should annpounce to the world, that from now on, due to human rights violations, the USA will be “obliged” to put all imports from Chinese factorys “on hold”-till such time as the UN commisssion on human rights can report (on these factories). I can see it now- goods are frozen in port, chinese factories close down as inventories pile up…I would expect that things would get resolved very quickly!