If any high-ups in the Bush administration are reading, here's a public domain speech to the Chinese that the President could deliver. It's tailored to his speaking style: …insert your own generic intro speaker, "thank you", and "nice to be here" welcome here..
"It is with a sincere heart that I send condolences to the widowed wife and orphaned child of Wang Wei, the Chinese fighter pilot presumed lost in the South China Sea. As commander in chief, I have ordered our naval vessels in the area to assist in the search for the missing pilot.
"The loss of life in an avoidable accident is a regrettable tragedy, and we are glad that our servicemen and women managed to land safely. In order to avoid the foolish confrontations that needlessly endanger the military personnel of both the United States and China, I am hereby suspending all reconnaissance flights in the South China Sea.
"While we do not have access to our flight recordings, equipment, or people to understand how this accident may have taken place, I apologize for the intrusion of our plane and personnel in Sovereign Chinese territory. I am grateful for the patience and understanding shown by the Chinese people in the aftermath of this accident, and ask for the quick and safe return of the Americans who made an emergency landing.
"The United States and China have become two of the largest two trading partners on the planet. Our cultures, peoples, and mutual prosperity are inextricable linked in this ever shrinking world. Even as The United States and China have come to rely on each other more, two schools of thought have recently emerged in government circles.
"One is the Zero-Sum School that thinks one nation can only prosper at the expense of others. The Zero-Sum School thinks that there are a limited number of jobs, and puts up tariffs to "protect" jobs from competition. The Zero-Sum School is interested in "Benevolent Global Hegemony" as some in our former administration put it. This is the school of arrogance and pride.
"The other school is a Humble School. It believes that people in other countries can innovate, create, and build, and by trading, the citizens of all countries are better off. The Humble School believes that one nation should not, indeed can not, dictate the terms of trade, war, peace, and truth to the rest of the world. I follow the second train of thought.
"The Humble School puts American interests first, but it does not do this by seeking to make others last. The Humble School is peaceful, because it knows that governments should only protect the rights and freedoms of their citizens, never force u2018freedom' on others at the end of a gun. The Humble School stands for friendship, peace, and prosperity.
"As a sign of friendship, I ask the help of the Chinese in repairing our plane in order to allow our crew a safe and expeditious journey home."
…insert thank you, platitudes, cue applause, etc. here….
OK, so that went off into a foreign policy manifesto. Still, was the apology so hard? Instead of a reasonable apology to justified anger over a lost pilot and our spying, our leaders fume and posture like four year olds on a playground. "Say you're sorry!" "No, you!" All this while twenty-four Americans are locked up, and a few words of sincere contrition could bring them home. A Chinese widow and orphan mourn, and pompous Admiral Blair yammers "It's pretty obvious who bumped into who."
April 7, 2001