Palaver from Persimmon Crossingwith Warren Faulk
Electronics Intelligence and International RelationsA recent Norman Solomon entry in The Progress Report and the give and take between the US and Chinese governments regarding our "spy" plane prompted me to begin thinking along subject lines ... again.
I spent much of my military career connected to the electronics intelligence community. Not unusual. Thousands of American, Chinese, Russian, British, German,Japanese and military personnel of other countries can make the same claim. Many who did this kind of work have died of old age and it isn't going to stop anytime soon. Nor should it. I have no trouble reconciling efforts at good international relations with the Chinese and others, with a parallel intelligence collection activity. The world is simply too dangerous to do things any other way. And I don't limit myself to an interest in what our presumed "enemies" are doing. If Israel planned to attack Egypt, possibly drawing us into a war with the Soviets, I would want to know about it. Fact is, I would want the Soviets to know about it. When the stakes are as high as they are, the fewer surprises the better.
I don't really know the particulars in the present US/China flap, but I wouldn't rule out simply giving the Chinese the benefit of the doubt ... and the airplane too. Let our people talk to them. Tell them what they were observing. Just write the whole thing off and pick up the slack somewhere else. Concentrate on what's important. Get the people back safe and sound. The people, by the way, are not James Bond clones. My guess is that most of them are first or second enlistment youngsters trained to operate a variety of radio, radar and possibly camera equipment. In other words, they are our kids. Strategic intelligence in a non-combat environment is not important enough to justify taking any more risks with their lives. They have already dodged one bullet.
The intelligence community world wide has a huge capability . The US effort is second to none in my opinion. Strategic electronics intelligence helps keep us safe. I think it is a healthy thing for others to know that we are doing it within the confines of international law. So, if I were the President I would say:
Dear Mr Chairman,
Yes we were spying on you. We don't trust you. That is the simple truth.
We understand that you don't trust us. Fine. Now, if we did stray into your airspace we apologize. We are especially sorry that you lost a pilot and aircraft in this incident. We very much appreciate that you allowed us to land. We are surprised and pleased that you did not shoot our aircraft down.
If, during the course of our investigation, we discover that our crew or aircraft caused the collision we will make reparations. You can keep the Electra. Another is already on station as you know.
Having said that, why don't you come on over and see how we do things in America? Maybe give us some pointers. Look around and perhaps it will become clear why we go to such extraordinary lengths to protect what we have.
Here are the plans for our missile defense system. Take extra copies for your friends. Build one for yourself. We have no intention of attacking you or yours. Can you say the same?
Somewhere at the bottom of all this lies a glimmer of hope. Hope that we will keep talking and not begin shooting. Hope that we can learn to trust each other, help each other, love each other. But as long as there is a threat there will be a need to study it.
-- Warren Faulk
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