Bush shows good judgment in foreign-policy decisions

-- Der Bund, Berne, Switzerland - April 25

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2001

With his decision over the supply of weapons to Taiwan, George W. Bush has shown proof of sound judgment -- as he did earlier with his reaction to the ramming of a U.S. spy plane. He has shown that he doesn't only listen to the hawks in his government but also to Secretary of State and former General Colin Powell -- who is a dove in that environment.

There is a clear link to be made between these two incidents -- and it's more or less that Bush wants to keep the atmosphere good for the return of the plane and for future relations with Beijing, so he is withholding from Taipei the warships fitted with the Aegis missile defense system (while Japan is getting them). ...

The Aegis destroyers are also controversial in Taiwan because of the delay in delivery and the high cost. Bush's decision means the island can buy a number of other defense systems -- against which Beijng is also protesting. ...

The fact that the foreign ministry in Beijing has adopted a restrained tone leaves room for hope of moderation in the future. However, in order to defuse the longstanding situation in the Taiwan Strait, the People's Liberation Army should withdraw the missiles which are threatening the island. Otherwise, Taiwan can still hope to be included in the U.S. missile defense. Bush has left that possibility open.

But for the time being, all three sides have the chance to drag the question of ''one China'' from the military to the political stage.

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