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I’ve had a great interest in China for at least the last forty years, and the exponential rise of the world’s largest populous nation to enormous international importance during that exact period has hardly diminished my interest.

Almost three years ago, I published China’s Rise, America’s Fall, a major article comparing and contrasting the situation of the world’s two economic superpowers. A year later, I published How Social Darwinism Made Modern China, suggesting the evolutionary factors behind the success of China and the Chinese people.

But a couple of older articles and a handful of columns available in our small webzine’s archives do not constitute adequate ongoing coverage, and various readers have suggested that the biggest of the BRICs deserved more than that.

I agree and we have now brought on board as a regular contributor Peter Lee of China Matters, Asia Times Online, and Counterpunch, an outstanding longtime observer of the Middle Kingdom, who also fluently writes on other foreign policy matters ranging from the Middle East to the Ukraine. A few days ago, we ran his lengthy Feature India v. China: Border Games.

 

During the nearly ten years since he began blogging at China Matters under the nom de plume “China Hand”, his writings have grown to well over one million words of highly thoughtful analysis, now all at the fingertips of any visitor to The Review.

All too often, our elite MSM deliberately ignores those crucial facts and stories that are too discordant from the official statements and press releases issued by their administration sources, and a knowledgeable individual can effectively fill these gaps. This represents the reason for our webzine’s existence, and Lee’s China writings perfectly fill this bill.

During President Bill Clinton’s military campaign against the Serbian government, one of the most dramatic events was the American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, resulting in the death and injury of numerous Chinese diplomatic personnel and sparking a major international incident. Although our government immediately claimed that the attack was an entirely accidental byproduct of the “fog of war” and the American public quickly forgot the matter, Chinese public opinion was outraged, resulting in the lasting growth of major anti-American sentiment. Some have even characterized the attack as China’s own 9/11 for its long term consequences.

China’s subsequent military buildup now regularly raises the risk of a confrontation with America in the South China Sea. Her innovative carrier-killer missiles threaten our control of the sea lines and her J-20 stealth fighter has broken our previous monopoly of that crucial military technology. With America having recently launched a new Cold War against President Putin’s Russia due to the Ukraine conflict, the two Eurasian giants have drawn much closer together, potentially constituting a world bloc more powerful than that of America and its European satellite nations.

During the 15 years following our attack on the Chinese embassy, I have scrupulously read my NYT and WSJ every morning, but never once learned the fascinating story presented in Peter Lee’s columns linked below. Perhaps some other readers will be equally surprised at discovering these possible facts, which may someday loom very large in future histories of our era:

 
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  1. During President Bill Clinton’s military campaign against the Serbian government, one of the most dramatic events was the American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, resulting in the death and injury of numerous Chinese diplomatic personnel and sparking a major international incident. Although our government immediately claimed that the attack was an entirely accidental byproduct of the “fog of war” and the American public quickly forgot the matter, Chinese public opinion was outraged, resulting in the lasting growth of major anti-American sentiment. Some have even characterized the attack as China’s own 9/11 for its long term consequences.

    I’ll never forget that. I was in China right before it happened, and could palpably feel that something was coming. I left the country right before the strike as hostile propaganda was mounting on both sides.

    I remain convinced that the attack on the Chinese embassy was deliberate. What was it, three different bombs from three angles dropped from B2 bombers and guided by GPS right into the embassy? The “old maps” explanation for the strike came off as pure BS to me when they trotted it out on TV. It wouldn’t surprise me if the wing hosting journalists was specifically targeted.

    It was a nasty crime, and I don’t blame the Chinese for being furious about it. But what else could one expect from the Clinton administration? The Chinese funded their ’96 campaign, after all. You get what you pay for.

    I’ll just say I’m sure glad I flew out of Beijing a few days before the strike. It was a pretty lousy time to be an American there after that, but the state department obviously had other, more important concerns than the well-being of Americans in China.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Peter Lee
    In 1999, US was still in what I might characterize as the "Tiananmen" afterglow. The 1989 demonstrators were unambiguously pro-democracy and pro-US, and the not unreasonable assumption was that genuine PRC public opinion would side with the good-guy US and not the bad-guy CCP apparatus. President Clinton delivered an apology which, in the US at least, was regarded as an honest statement of regret that the real PRC public, the enthusiastic fans of things US, would readily accept. When reactions to the Belgrade bombing indicated otherwise, the feeling in US was one of scandalized disbelief.

    In the July 2001 China Journal, Peter Hays Gries of Ohio State University analyzed letters and submissions to China’s Guangming Daily and characterized the protests as “genuine and understandable” and largely unrelated to unawareness of the presidential apology.

    Post Iraq-war, it is difficult to remember the years when the United States effortlessly claimed the moral high ground. But in 1999, I remember that I also discounted Chinese whinging about the Belgrade embassy accident.

    Writing in 2001, Gries provides a reminder:

    The demonstrations shocked the US media, which quickly pointed blame at the Chinese government for inflaming the protests. A brief review of major US newspaper editorials of 11 May reveals a consensus view: the Chinese people were not genuinely angry with (innocent) America; they were, rather, manipulated by Communist propaganda that the bombing was intentional…The Washington Post declared: “The Big Lie is alive and well in Beijing”…Such “state-supervised anger”, the Boston Globe declared, was neither genuine nor popular. The “brutes in Beijing” were responsible for the Chinese people’s mistaken belief that the bombing was intentional.

    A contentious interview conducted by Jim Lehrer with the Chinese ambassador to the US, Li Zhaoxing, immediately subsequent to the attack, is enlightening for the cognitive dissonance provoked by Li’s refusal to endorse the presumption of US transparency and probity. Looking back at the interview through the perspective provided by the shameless mendacity of the Bush administration over the Iraq War, it is Lehrer and not Li who looks delusional and out of touch.

    LI ZHAOXING: I'm saying that the Chinese people and the Chinese government are requesting a thorough investigation of the NATO missile attack on our embassy in Yugoslavia.
    JIM LEHRER: Yes, sir. But my question is: why would you think that it would not be an accident or a mistake? In other words, why would you think-- to repeat my question, why would you think that the United States would intentionally kill Chinese citizens in downtown Belgrade?
    LI ZHAOXING: Ask your own people. Ask your own officials. Ask your own experts. If they ask themselves, seriously, honestly, do they really believe that this is simply a kind of mistake?

    JIM LEHRER: Are you suggesting that that is not the intention of the United States, to do exactly what you-- in other words, to conduct a full investigation and hold the people responsible for this?
    LI ZHAOXING: We attach more to facts, rather than words. No matter how eloquent one could be.
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/europe/jan-june99/li_5-10.html

    Gries passes on a report in the Washington Post in which Tom DeLay, the thuggish Republican whip, revealed to Li his own formula for managing US-PRC relations, one that did not depend on apologies:

    I was on Meet the Press…right after the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Kosovo [he meant Belgrade], and the [Chinese] ambassador was on before me. And if you remember, he’s kind of an obnoxious fellow and he’s screaming and yelling about how bad the Americans were, and I had had it up to about here. So he’s coming off the stage and I’m going onto the stage and I intentionally walked up to him and blocked his way…I grabbed [his] hand and squeezed it as hard as I could and pulled him a kind of little jerk like this and I said: “Don’t take the weakness of this president as the weakness of the American people”. And he looked at me kind of funny, so I pulled him real close, nose to nose, and I repeated it very slowly, and said, “Do-not-take-the-weakness-of this president as the weakness of the American people”.
    http://www.ou.edu/uschina/gries/articles/texts/TearsofRage.pdf

    I expect Li Zhaoxing recalled Mr. DeLay’s solicitude as well as Jim Lehrer’s amazed disbelief when he returned to Beijing to become China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    On the ten-year anniversary of the bombing, China Digital Times linked to an interview with a student who identified the bombing as the trigger for a sea-change in the worldview of at least some Chinese:

    What do you believe has changed now in the attitude of young Chinese (like those who protested 10 years ago against the USA) towards America?

    Over the past decade, I think the young Chinese have gradually dropped their illusion of the U.S. and begun to view it more objectively.

    After reform and opening-up, to be more specific in the 1980s and 1990s, the Chinese people began to know more about the outside world. The prosperity of the west attracted the young people so much that all of a sudden everybody wanted to go abroad. At that time, we had a popular saying, “Moon of the west is even more beautiful than that of China.” Experiencing the sharp contrast between China and the west, many Chinese people became critical of China, perhaps in a cynical way.

    However, when the Chinese embassy was bombed, many people began to think: is this the kind of democracy and human rights that we want to pursue?

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  2. Her innovative carrier-killer missiles threaten our control of the sea lines and her J-20 stealth fighter has broken our previous monopoly of that crucial military technology.

    Not so much “innovative” as low quality copies of western designs. A byproduct of free trade and offshoring. Those factories making cheap electronic goods with sweatshop labor can be retooled to military purposes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Realist
    It sounds like you do propaganda for the State Department.
    , @Major Problem

    Her innovative carrier-killer missiles threaten our control of the sea lines and her J-20 stealth fighter has broken our previous monopoly of that crucial military technology.

    Not so much “innovative” as low quality copies of western designs. A byproduct of free trade and offshoring. Those factories making cheap electronic goods with sweatshop labor can be retooled to military purposes.
     

    On reading your comment, I dug up an old e-mail from 2010 by an aerospace engineer discussing the J-20. Most of it still has to be remain out of general circulation I suppose, but I thought this (non-classified) part of it was interesting:

    "Hi Redacted,

    I thought you might be interested in reading this report about the new Chinese stealth aircraft. I wonder how they managed to smuggle the pictures out of China? I was interested to see that it looks a lot like the Lockheed F22 Raptor, especially the forward fuselage. It does look more ungainly though. There are blisters under the wings to accommodate the flaperon actuators, but the advanced technology in the West enables the actuators on the F22 to be made sufficiently compact to fit inside the wing section without growing blisters on them. The J-20 also has canards, the small wings forward of the main wings. These are always an indication of insufficient control from the standard control surfaces, necessitating the additional surfaces to compensate.
    ...Russian assistance in terms of software support for calculating the RCS of various designs. The overall performance of J-20 is superior to that of Russian T-50 (maneuverability & supercruise) but still inferior to that of American F-22 (electronics & supercruise)...."

  3. innovative carrier-killer missiles

    Compare the stats with our AIM-54, manufactured in 1974:

    P-800 Yakhont vs AIM-54 Phoenix (1974)
    range in miles 75 … 120
    speed in mph 1522 … 3000
    warhead in lb 551 … 135

    Read More
  4. Her innovative carrier-killer missiles

    Missiles imported from Russia, not designed in-house. Same with Japanese Zero, an advanced design at the beginning of the war. But with communication with the West cut off because of the war, no innovation occurred and they were still using Zeroes at the end of the war, which were obsolete by then. This while the West was making successive generations of planes every year, culminating with jets.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Maj. Kong
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakajima_Kikka

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yokosuka_MXY7_Ohka

    (The Germans gave them the ME262, but not the ability to automate the Ohka)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DF-21#DF-21D
    , @Realist
    " This while the West was making successive generations of planes every year, culminating with jets."
    After the Germans
  5. @Hippopotamusdrome
    Her innovative carrier-killer missiles

    Missiles imported from Russia, not designed in-house. Same with Japanese Zero, an advanced design at the beginning of the war. But with communication with the West cut off because of the war, no innovation occurred and they were still using Zeroes at the end of the war, which were obsolete by then. This while the West was making successive generations of planes every year, culminating with jets.
    Read More
    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome
    If you're going to use an icbm against ships, then you're using tech circa 1951.
  6. @ Bill P

    The “old maps” explanation for the strike came off as pure BS to me when they trotted it out on TV.

    Of course it’s BS; Chinese embassy in Belgrade was built on an empty lot, where no building had stood before. That whole section of the city was swampland until it was developed after WWII, so no building is older than late 1940s. All it takes to confirm this is to look at two Belgrade city maps: one before the Chinese embassy was built, and one after. They sell city maps at every newspaper kiosk there.
    Had the USAF been using old maps for targeting, they would have been bombing an empty field according to those supposedly old maps.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bill P
    Yes, it comes off more as a particularly nasty insult than anything else. It's as though they didn't even try to come up with a plausible lie so as to rub it in.

    Maybe it's just my perspective from being in Beijing right before the attack and watching CCTV and CNN side by side in amazement (the propaganda was exactly opposite on each side, and unlike most Americans I could understand the Chinese), but I had the impression that the US targeted the journalists as a strike on hostile media. I don't know anything about the Chinese spooks in the embassy, but I know for sure that the reporters were waging an all-out anti-American propaganda campaign.

    I was just a kid at the time - all of 24 years old - so I probably didn't have the most sophisticated take on things. But it wouldn't surprise me if that was at least part of the motivation.

    Some of my friends were USMC embassy guards in Beijing, and when I saw the footage of the Chinese attacking the embassy I was really, viscerally upset. I was furious with both the Clinton administration and the Chinese government for ruining things for our little community over there, which was pretty much the only connection to home I had for a couple years.
    , @tbraton
    Mark Eugenikos, I took the liberty of reviewing your past comments out of curiosity, and I came across this one. That's a pretty astute observation. I remember the incident and was troubled by our explanation at the time, but, to be honest, I didn't give it a whole lot of thought after the Chinese failed to make a bigger fuss about it, even though I was strongly opposed to our involvement in the Balkans. In fact, all your comments indicate a poster of considerable intelligence and knowledge. Thought I would take the opportunity to toss out a compliment to offset my little gibe on Sailer's "egoSteve" blog. There is no need to respond.
  7. If this keeps you amused, Ron.Of course, serious people know that all this China stuff is just a distraction.The real existential threat facing America is Mestizo immigration from Latin America.

    Read More
  8. As an American living and working in China now for several years, it is good to see more coverage here. But I hope we can get both sides of the China equation. It really isn’t what a lot of Americans think it is here. Not the scary Yellow Horde nor the clownish poor quality Xerox machine.
    Although some of both are true to some extent, and sometimes something else all together!

    Read More
  9. @Maj. Kong
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakajima_Kikka

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yokosuka_MXY7_Ohka

    (The Germans gave them the ME262, but not the ability to automate the Ohka)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DF-21#DF-21D

    If you’re going to use an icbm against ships, then you’re using tech circa 1951.

    Read More
  10. @Hippopotamusdrome
    Her innovative carrier-killer missiles threaten our control of the sea lines and her J-20 stealth fighter has broken our previous monopoly of that crucial military technology.

    Not so much "innovative" as low quality copies of western designs. A byproduct of free trade and offshoring. Those factories making cheap electronic goods with sweatshop labor can be retooled to military purposes.

    It sounds like you do propaganda for the State Department.

    Read More
  11. @Hippopotamusdrome
    Her innovative carrier-killer missiles

    Missiles imported from Russia, not designed in-house. Same with Japanese Zero, an advanced design at the beginning of the war. But with communication with the West cut off because of the war, no innovation occurred and they were still using Zeroes at the end of the war, which were obsolete by then. This while the West was making successive generations of planes every year, culminating with jets.

    ” This while the West was making successive generations of planes every year, culminating with jets.”
    After the Germans

    Read More
  12. @Realist
    " This while the West was making successive generations of planes every year, culminating with jets."
    After the Germans

    Germany is in “the West”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Realist
    "Germany is in “the West""

    Yes, but you are talking about 70 years ago. China has changed.... a lot.
  13. @Hippopotamusdrome
    Her innovative carrier-killer missiles threaten our control of the sea lines and her J-20 stealth fighter has broken our previous monopoly of that crucial military technology.

    Not so much "innovative" as low quality copies of western designs. A byproduct of free trade and offshoring. Those factories making cheap electronic goods with sweatshop labor can be retooled to military purposes.

    Her innovative carrier-killer missiles threaten our control of the sea lines and her J-20 stealth fighter has broken our previous monopoly of that crucial military technology.

    Not so much “innovative” as low quality copies of western designs. A byproduct of free trade and offshoring. Those factories making cheap electronic goods with sweatshop labor can be retooled to military purposes.

    On reading your comment, I dug up an old e-mail from 2010 by an aerospace engineer discussing the J-20. Most of it still has to be remain out of general circulation I suppose, but I thought this (non-classified) part of it was interesting:

    “Hi Redacted,

    I thought you might be interested in reading this report about the new Chinese stealth aircraft. I wonder how they managed to smuggle the pictures out of China? I was interested to see that it looks a lot like the Lockheed F22 Raptor, especially the forward fuselage. It does look more ungainly though. There are blisters under the wings to accommodate the flaperon actuators, but the advanced technology in the West enables the actuators on the F22 to be made sufficiently compact to fit inside the wing section without growing blisters on them. The J-20 also has canards, the small wings forward of the main wings. These are always an indication of insufficient control from the standard control surfaces, necessitating the additional surfaces to compensate.
    …Russian assistance in terms of software support for calculating the RCS of various designs. The overall performance of J-20 is superior to that of Russian T-50 (maneuverability & supercruise) but still inferior to that of American F-22 (electronics & supercruise)….”

    Read More
  14. @Hippopotamusdrome
    Germany is in "the West".

    “Germany is in “the West””

    Yes, but you are talking about 70 years ago. China has changed…. a lot.

    Read More
  15. Regarding the “spooky” murder in Loudoun County, VA… It’s not so spooky: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-state-of-nova/post/woman-describes-aftermath-of-loudoun-attack/2011/08/24/gIQAetrfbJ_blog.html

    Just a random crime of opportunity. It happens to former spooks too sometimes.

    Maybe the folks who posit that people of a certain demographic segment are greater threats to our security than the Red Chinese are have a point. (Lansdowne is affluent, and is mostly white and Asian, but nearby Sterling and Herndon are heavily Hispanic.)

    Read More
  16. @Mark Eugenikos
    @ Bill P

    The “old maps” explanation for the strike came off as pure BS to me when they trotted it out on TV.
     
    Of course it's BS; Chinese embassy in Belgrade was built on an empty lot, where no building had stood before. That whole section of the city was swampland until it was developed after WWII, so no building is older than late 1940s. All it takes to confirm this is to look at two Belgrade city maps: one before the Chinese embassy was built, and one after. They sell city maps at every newspaper kiosk there.
    Had the USAF been using old maps for targeting, they would have been bombing an empty field according to those supposedly old maps.

    Yes, it comes off more as a particularly nasty insult than anything else. It’s as though they didn’t even try to come up with a plausible lie so as to rub it in.

    Maybe it’s just my perspective from being in Beijing right before the attack and watching CCTV and CNN side by side in amazement (the propaganda was exactly opposite on each side, and unlike most Americans I could understand the Chinese), but I had the impression that the US targeted the journalists as a strike on hostile media. I don’t know anything about the Chinese spooks in the embassy, but I know for sure that the reporters were waging an all-out anti-American propaganda campaign.

    I was just a kid at the time – all of 24 years old – so I probably didn’t have the most sophisticated take on things. But it wouldn’t surprise me if that was at least part of the motivation.

    Some of my friends were USMC embassy guards in Beijing, and when I saw the footage of the Chinese attacking the embassy I was really, viscerally upset. I was furious with both the Clinton administration and the Chinese government for ruining things for our little community over there, which was pretty much the only connection to home I had for a couple years.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kiza
    Bill, mate, you are off your rocker and a complete joke: you were furious about the Chinese Government propaganda against the US???? This is whilst the US was bombing a country which has done nothing to the US, just to steal a vital piece of its territory (Kosovo), killing thousands of civilians, by bombing daily its hospitals and trains, completely blasted a TV studio and 12 people in it, cluster-bombed a food market in the middle of the day, double-tapped a key bridge with hundreds of civilians crossing, dropped hundreds of tons of "depleted" Uranium shells. Then blasted the Chinese embassy because it was collecting data on US/NATO war tactics (the real reason the particular embassy wing was destroyed). The Chinese did not have to use anti-US propaganda when the US was doing so much crime daily. What is your definition of propaganda???? Please check the meaning of the word in a dictionary before commenting: "the reporters were waging an all-out anti-American propaganda campaign". The truth is not in the middle, it is not "both sides are lying", the truth is that the US regime is a gang of worst criminals, has always been and will always be. It is not Bush, it is not Obama, it is not even the Clintons, it is the whole rotten lot of inhuman devilish beasts called the US leadership: Philippines, Panama, Nicaragua, Chile, Vietnam ...., just the list of the locations is too long to be written. Tens of millions of people blasted to pieces just so that you can maintain your standard of living.

    But, honestly, there is no country in this World with more stupid people than the US. This is why their government is so criminal - because its citizens are so dumb. And you are not much smarter at 40 than you were at 24.

  17. @Bill P
    Yes, it comes off more as a particularly nasty insult than anything else. It's as though they didn't even try to come up with a plausible lie so as to rub it in.

    Maybe it's just my perspective from being in Beijing right before the attack and watching CCTV and CNN side by side in amazement (the propaganda was exactly opposite on each side, and unlike most Americans I could understand the Chinese), but I had the impression that the US targeted the journalists as a strike on hostile media. I don't know anything about the Chinese spooks in the embassy, but I know for sure that the reporters were waging an all-out anti-American propaganda campaign.

    I was just a kid at the time - all of 24 years old - so I probably didn't have the most sophisticated take on things. But it wouldn't surprise me if that was at least part of the motivation.

    Some of my friends were USMC embassy guards in Beijing, and when I saw the footage of the Chinese attacking the embassy I was really, viscerally upset. I was furious with both the Clinton administration and the Chinese government for ruining things for our little community over there, which was pretty much the only connection to home I had for a couple years.

    Bill, mate, you are off your rocker and a complete joke: you were furious about the Chinese Government propaganda against the US???? This is whilst the US was bombing a country which has done nothing to the US, just to steal a vital piece of its territory (Kosovo), killing thousands of civilians, by bombing daily its hospitals and trains, completely blasted a TV studio and 12 people in it, cluster-bombed a food market in the middle of the day, double-tapped a key bridge with hundreds of civilians crossing, dropped hundreds of tons of “depleted” Uranium shells. Then blasted the Chinese embassy because it was collecting data on US/NATO war tactics (the real reason the particular embassy wing was destroyed). The Chinese did not have to use anti-US propaganda when the US was doing so much crime daily. What is your definition of propaganda???? Please check the meaning of the word in a dictionary before commenting: “the reporters were waging an all-out anti-American propaganda campaign”. The truth is not in the middle, it is not “both sides are lying”, the truth is that the US regime is a gang of worst criminals, has always been and will always be. It is not Bush, it is not Obama, it is not even the Clintons, it is the whole rotten lot of inhuman devilish beasts called the US leadership: Philippines, Panama, Nicaragua, Chile, Vietnam …., just the list of the locations is too long to be written. Tens of millions of people blasted to pieces just so that you can maintain your standard of living.

    But, honestly, there is no country in this World with more stupid people than the US. This is why their government is so criminal – because its citizens are so dumb. And you are not much smarter at 40 than you were at 24.

    Read More
  18. @Ron

    I read from Peter Lee. He appears a politically unbiased analyst with very good mastering of Mandarin language and Chinese Internet media. I support your point that he is a great addition to the Review. However, he is also very long-winded, he throws too much information at his readers and he does not deliver his conclusions strongly. As an old analyst, I believe in cutting down clutter and noise and delivering conclusions and then supporting them with facts. For example, his analysis of the Chinese Embassy bombing is a marathon piece which contains virtually all elements I have ever seen in the public domain. Because the same topic has been my pet project for 16 years, I can benchmark Peter on it. I do not want to write a long essay on his long essay, but I would like to give you two examples of the clutter. The part of the embassy bombing story dealing with China housing the Yugoslav radio network center is total rubbish. This was a blatant Western propaganda invention to domestically justify the embassy bombing. This radio story came from the British, not from the US. It is so simple that it would not deserve more than one sentences: if the Chinese Embassy really hosted a military radio – then it would have become a legitimate military target. One would conclude that this would defeat any other purposes that the Chinese embassy might have had during the war, which Peter discusses later. The F117 was shot down using the cheap Czech passive radar Tamara, not using any Chinese help at all. Until this, the passive radars were not in high esteem (considered obsolete technology), the obsession was with the high-tech computerized phased-array radars. What also helped was that Yugoslavia was geographically a very small country and US/NATO planes did not have many possible routes. Yes, a barrage of SAMs was fired at F117, but not even close to 30 (Lockheed was very, very unhappy and it had to invent this). I have heard of 7 and Yugoslavia had about 300 high-altitude SAMs altogether. This shoot-down had a dual effect of retiring the old stealth and promoting passive radar detection. Also, “stealth” is pretty much another sexy propaganda blow-up of the military-industrial, because the correct term is low-observability.

    Another Peter’s long discussion was about the parts of F117, which the Chinese did collect and did probably keep in the embassy. The Chinese were paying between US$10 for a single screw and $2000 for a piece of electronics to the local peasants, so every piece of this plane was collected. Also, several unexploded guided missiles (but not Tomahawks) were delivered to the Chinese in exchange for post-war reconstruction of civilian buildings (Milosevic’s government repaired every civilian building destroyed by US/NATO bombing using this Chinese money). But it is crazy to assume that their parts were housed in crates which the small Chinese men could carry down during embassy fire. Also, if the US did not bomb these parts in the field, why would it bomb them in a diplomatic facility? The most likely truth is that these crates contained recordings of the NATO bombing runs, or even some unrelated material.

    Finally, Russia was under the US puppet Yeltsin at the time and the Russians offered no assistance to Yugoslavia and no important US parts ended up in Russia to my knowledge. Even before the US/NATO attack, Milosevic turned to the newly rising power China because Russia would not help and Russia of the time was mostly working against Yugoslavia (Chernomyrdin et al). The Chinese Embassy bombing delivered an absolutely profound shock to the Chinese establishment and the people, that most Americans cannot appreciate, partly because the US propaganda focused on “Chinese propaganda” and partly because US do not care to understand China. After it, the Chinese strongly sped up their military investment/development, including ASAT, and they pulled back from Europe (they ventured too early, too far when they were yet too weak, not very Sun Tzu smart). The ultimate effect: thanks to this embassy bombing, Europe remained a solely US dominion to this day. Peter identifies this correctly.

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    • Replies: @Peter Lee
    Thanks your comment and I acknowledge & apologize for my long-windedness. In my defense, I feel it's important for my posts to be as inclusive as possible when I'm trying to document a counter-narrative. Articles go behind paywalls or vanish; the google algorithm skews away from archival material etc. So I doubt I would be able to reconstruct this post today. Thanks for your insights on SAMs & Russia vis a vis US/Yugoslavia. My unprofessional understanding is that an INU would be small enough to a) fit in a box and b) get hauled out of the burning embassy by two undersized Chinese heroes. But bottom line for me is, stealth technology aside, bombing was a transformative experience for Chinese elites.
  19. @Kiza
    @Ron

    I read from Peter Lee. He appears a politically unbiased analyst with very good mastering of Mandarin language and Chinese Internet media. I support your point that he is a great addition to the Review. However, he is also very long-winded, he throws too much information at his readers and he does not deliver his conclusions strongly. As an old analyst, I believe in cutting down clutter and noise and delivering conclusions and then supporting them with facts. For example, his analysis of the Chinese Embassy bombing is a marathon piece which contains virtually all elements I have ever seen in the public domain. Because the same topic has been my pet project for 16 years, I can benchmark Peter on it. I do not want to write a long essay on his long essay, but I would like to give you two examples of the clutter. The part of the embassy bombing story dealing with China housing the Yugoslav radio network center is total rubbish. This was a blatant Western propaganda invention to domestically justify the embassy bombing. This radio story came from the British, not from the US. It is so simple that it would not deserve more than one sentences: if the Chinese Embassy really hosted a military radio - then it would have become a legitimate military target. One would conclude that this would defeat any other purposes that the Chinese embassy might have had during the war, which Peter discusses later. The F117 was shot down using the cheap Czech passive radar Tamara, not using any Chinese help at all. Until this, the passive radars were not in high esteem (considered obsolete technology), the obsession was with the high-tech computerized phased-array radars. What also helped was that Yugoslavia was geographically a very small country and US/NATO planes did not have many possible routes. Yes, a barrage of SAMs was fired at F117, but not even close to 30 (Lockheed was very, very unhappy and it had to invent this). I have heard of 7 and Yugoslavia had about 300 high-altitude SAMs altogether. This shoot-down had a dual effect of retiring the old stealth and promoting passive radar detection. Also, "stealth" is pretty much another sexy propaganda blow-up of the military-industrial, because the correct term is low-observability.

    Another Peter's long discussion was about the parts of F117, which the Chinese did collect and did probably keep in the embassy. The Chinese were paying between US$10 for a single screw and $2000 for a piece of electronics to the local peasants, so every piece of this plane was collected. Also, several unexploded guided missiles (but not Tomahawks) were delivered to the Chinese in exchange for post-war reconstruction of civilian buildings (Milosevic's government repaired every civilian building destroyed by US/NATO bombing using this Chinese money). But it is crazy to assume that their parts were housed in crates which the small Chinese men could carry down during embassy fire. Also, if the US did not bomb these parts in the field, why would it bomb them in a diplomatic facility? The most likely truth is that these crates contained recordings of the NATO bombing runs, or even some unrelated material.

    Finally, Russia was under the US puppet Yeltsin at the time and the Russians offered no assistance to Yugoslavia and no important US parts ended up in Russia to my knowledge. Even before the US/NATO attack, Milosevic turned to the newly rising power China because Russia would not help and Russia of the time was mostly working against Yugoslavia (Chernomyrdin et al). The Chinese Embassy bombing delivered an absolutely profound shock to the Chinese establishment and the people, that most Americans cannot appreciate, partly because the US propaganda focused on "Chinese propaganda" and partly because US do not care to understand China. After it, the Chinese strongly sped up their military investment/development, including ASAT, and they pulled back from Europe (they ventured too early, too far when they were yet too weak, not very Sun Tzu smart). The ultimate effect: thanks to this embassy bombing, Europe remained a solely US dominion to this day. Peter identifies this correctly.

    Thanks your comment and I acknowledge & apologize for my long-windedness. In my defense, I feel it’s important for my posts to be as inclusive as possible when I’m trying to document a counter-narrative. Articles go behind paywalls or vanish; the google algorithm skews away from archival material etc. So I doubt I would be able to reconstruct this post today. Thanks for your insights on SAMs & Russia vis a vis US/Yugoslavia. My unprofessional understanding is that an INU would be small enough to a) fit in a box and b) get hauled out of the burning embassy by two undersized Chinese heroes. But bottom line for me is, stealth technology aside, bombing was a transformative experience for Chinese elites.

    Read More
  20. @Bill P

    During President Bill Clinton’s military campaign against the Serbian government, one of the most dramatic events was the American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, resulting in the death and injury of numerous Chinese diplomatic personnel and sparking a major international incident. Although our government immediately claimed that the attack was an entirely accidental byproduct of the “fog of war” and the American public quickly forgot the matter, Chinese public opinion was outraged, resulting in the lasting growth of major anti-American sentiment. Some have even characterized the attack as China’s own 9/11 for its long term consequences.
     
    I'll never forget that. I was in China right before it happened, and could palpably feel that something was coming. I left the country right before the strike as hostile propaganda was mounting on both sides.

    I remain convinced that the attack on the Chinese embassy was deliberate. What was it, three different bombs from three angles dropped from B2 bombers and guided by GPS right into the embassy? The "old maps" explanation for the strike came off as pure BS to me when they trotted it out on TV. It wouldn't surprise me if the wing hosting journalists was specifically targeted.

    It was a nasty crime, and I don't blame the Chinese for being furious about it. But what else could one expect from the Clinton administration? The Chinese funded their '96 campaign, after all. You get what you pay for.

    I'll just say I'm sure glad I flew out of Beijing a few days before the strike. It was a pretty lousy time to be an American there after that, but the state department obviously had other, more important concerns than the well-being of Americans in China.

    In 1999, US was still in what I might characterize as the “Tiananmen” afterglow. The 1989 demonstrators were unambiguously pro-democracy and pro-US, and the not unreasonable assumption was that genuine PRC public opinion would side with the good-guy US and not the bad-guy CCP apparatus. President Clinton delivered an apology which, in the US at least, was regarded as an honest statement of regret that the real PRC public, the enthusiastic fans of things US, would readily accept. When reactions to the Belgrade bombing indicated otherwise, the feeling in US was one of scandalized disbelief.

    In the July 2001 China Journal, Peter Hays Gries of Ohio State University analyzed letters and submissions to China’s Guangming Daily and characterized the protests as “genuine and understandable” and largely unrelated to unawareness of the presidential apology.

    Post Iraq-war, it is difficult to remember the years when the United States effortlessly claimed the moral high ground. But in 1999, I remember that I also discounted Chinese whinging about the Belgrade embassy accident.

    Writing in 2001, Gries provides a reminder:

    The demonstrations shocked the US media, which quickly pointed blame at the Chinese government for inflaming the protests. A brief review of major US newspaper editorials of 11 May reveals a consensus view: the Chinese people were not genuinely angry with (innocent) America; they were, rather, manipulated by Communist propaganda that the bombing was intentional…The Washington Post declared: “The Big Lie is alive and well in Beijing”…Such “state-supervised anger”, the Boston Globe declared, was neither genuine nor popular. The “brutes in Beijing” were responsible for the Chinese people’s mistaken belief that the bombing was intentional.

    A contentious interview conducted by Jim Lehrer with the Chinese ambassador to the US, Li Zhaoxing, immediately subsequent to the attack, is enlightening for the cognitive dissonance provoked by Li’s refusal to endorse the presumption of US transparency and probity. Looking back at the interview through the perspective provided by the shameless mendacity of the Bush administration over the Iraq War, it is Lehrer and not Li who looks delusional and out of touch.

    LI ZHAOXING: I’m saying that the Chinese people and the Chinese government are requesting a thorough investigation of the NATO missile attack on our embassy in Yugoslavia.
    JIM LEHRER: Yes, sir. But my question is: why would you think that it would not be an accident or a mistake? In other words, why would you think– to repeat my question, why would you think that the United States would intentionally kill Chinese citizens in downtown Belgrade?
    LI ZHAOXING: Ask your own people. Ask your own officials. Ask your own experts. If they ask themselves, seriously, honestly, do they really believe that this is simply a kind of mistake?

    JIM LEHRER: Are you suggesting that that is not the intention of the United States, to do exactly what you– in other words, to conduct a full investigation and hold the people responsible for this?
    LI ZHAOXING: We attach more to facts, rather than words. No matter how eloquent one could be.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/europe/jan-june99/li_5-10.html

    Gries passes on a report in the Washington Post in which Tom DeLay, the thuggish Republican whip, revealed to Li his own formula for managing US-PRC relations, one that did not depend on apologies:

    I was on Meet the Press…right after the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Kosovo [he meant Belgrade], and the [Chinese] ambassador was on before me. And if you remember, he’s kind of an obnoxious fellow and he’s screaming and yelling about how bad the Americans were, and I had had it up to about here. So he’s coming off the stage and I’m going onto the stage and I intentionally walked up to him and blocked his way…I grabbed [his] hand and squeezed it as hard as I could and pulled him a kind of little jerk like this and I said: “Don’t take the weakness of this president as the weakness of the American people”. And he looked at me kind of funny, so I pulled him real close, nose to nose, and I repeated it very slowly, and said, “Do-not-take-the-weakness-of this president as the weakness of the American people”.

    http://www.ou.edu/uschina/gries/articles/texts/TearsofRage.pdf

    I expect Li Zhaoxing recalled Mr. DeLay’s solicitude as well as Jim Lehrer’s amazed disbelief when he returned to Beijing to become China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    On the ten-year anniversary of the bombing, China Digital Times linked to an interview with a student who identified the bombing as the trigger for a sea-change in the worldview of at least some Chinese:

    What do you believe has changed now in the attitude of young Chinese (like those who protested 10 years ago against the USA) towards America?

    Over the past decade, I think the young Chinese have gradually dropped their illusion of the U.S. and begun to view it more objectively.

    After reform and opening-up, to be more specific in the 1980s and 1990s, the Chinese people began to know more about the outside world. The prosperity of the west attracted the young people so much that all of a sudden everybody wanted to go abroad. At that time, we had a popular saying, “Moon of the west is even more beautiful than that of China.” Experiencing the sharp contrast between China and the west, many Chinese people became critical of China, perhaps in a cynical way.

    However, when the Chinese embassy was bombed, many people began to think: is this the kind of democracy and human rights that we want to pursue?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bill P

    In 1999, US was still in what I might characterize as the “Tiananmen” afterglow. The 1989 demonstrators were unambiguously pro-democracy and pro-US, and the not unreasonable assumption was that genuine PRC public opinion would side with the good-guy US and not the bad-guy CCP apparatus. President Clinton delivered an apology which, in the US at least, was regarded as an honest statement of regret that the real PRC public, the enthusiastic fans of things US, would readily accept. When reactions to the Belgrade bombing indicated otherwise, the feeling in US was one of scandalized disbelief.
     
    Living in China at the time, I could have told them myself that the Chinese public woud never accept it. Could US officials really be so tone deaf as to not understand that Chinese had an enormous sense of wounded pride, ceaselessly nurtured by state propaganda, regarding Western aggression?

    If Americans really thought that Chinese would "get over" a strike on Chinese state property by stealth bombers they were badly mistaken. I remember that Chinese were so paranoid about air power that I never saw a plane over Beijing, and when I went to the old summer palace the displays and films demonstrated an obsession bordering on pathological regarding 19th century foreign aggression.

    My impression was that US officials were so arrogant that they didn't care. Madeleine Albright certainly seemed to confirm that. As an American in China, I felt caught in the middle, and very small.
  21. @Peter Lee
    In 1999, US was still in what I might characterize as the "Tiananmen" afterglow. The 1989 demonstrators were unambiguously pro-democracy and pro-US, and the not unreasonable assumption was that genuine PRC public opinion would side with the good-guy US and not the bad-guy CCP apparatus. President Clinton delivered an apology which, in the US at least, was regarded as an honest statement of regret that the real PRC public, the enthusiastic fans of things US, would readily accept. When reactions to the Belgrade bombing indicated otherwise, the feeling in US was one of scandalized disbelief.

    In the July 2001 China Journal, Peter Hays Gries of Ohio State University analyzed letters and submissions to China’s Guangming Daily and characterized the protests as “genuine and understandable” and largely unrelated to unawareness of the presidential apology.

    Post Iraq-war, it is difficult to remember the years when the United States effortlessly claimed the moral high ground. But in 1999, I remember that I also discounted Chinese whinging about the Belgrade embassy accident.

    Writing in 2001, Gries provides a reminder:

    The demonstrations shocked the US media, which quickly pointed blame at the Chinese government for inflaming the protests. A brief review of major US newspaper editorials of 11 May reveals a consensus view: the Chinese people were not genuinely angry with (innocent) America; they were, rather, manipulated by Communist propaganda that the bombing was intentional…The Washington Post declared: “The Big Lie is alive and well in Beijing”…Such “state-supervised anger”, the Boston Globe declared, was neither genuine nor popular. The “brutes in Beijing” were responsible for the Chinese people’s mistaken belief that the bombing was intentional.

    A contentious interview conducted by Jim Lehrer with the Chinese ambassador to the US, Li Zhaoxing, immediately subsequent to the attack, is enlightening for the cognitive dissonance provoked by Li’s refusal to endorse the presumption of US transparency and probity. Looking back at the interview through the perspective provided by the shameless mendacity of the Bush administration over the Iraq War, it is Lehrer and not Li who looks delusional and out of touch.

    LI ZHAOXING: I'm saying that the Chinese people and the Chinese government are requesting a thorough investigation of the NATO missile attack on our embassy in Yugoslavia.
    JIM LEHRER: Yes, sir. But my question is: why would you think that it would not be an accident or a mistake? In other words, why would you think-- to repeat my question, why would you think that the United States would intentionally kill Chinese citizens in downtown Belgrade?
    LI ZHAOXING: Ask your own people. Ask your own officials. Ask your own experts. If they ask themselves, seriously, honestly, do they really believe that this is simply a kind of mistake?

    JIM LEHRER: Are you suggesting that that is not the intention of the United States, to do exactly what you-- in other words, to conduct a full investigation and hold the people responsible for this?
    LI ZHAOXING: We attach more to facts, rather than words. No matter how eloquent one could be.
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/europe/jan-june99/li_5-10.html

    Gries passes on a report in the Washington Post in which Tom DeLay, the thuggish Republican whip, revealed to Li his own formula for managing US-PRC relations, one that did not depend on apologies:

    I was on Meet the Press…right after the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Kosovo [he meant Belgrade], and the [Chinese] ambassador was on before me. And if you remember, he’s kind of an obnoxious fellow and he’s screaming and yelling about how bad the Americans were, and I had had it up to about here. So he’s coming off the stage and I’m going onto the stage and I intentionally walked up to him and blocked his way…I grabbed [his] hand and squeezed it as hard as I could and pulled him a kind of little jerk like this and I said: “Don’t take the weakness of this president as the weakness of the American people”. And he looked at me kind of funny, so I pulled him real close, nose to nose, and I repeated it very slowly, and said, “Do-not-take-the-weakness-of this president as the weakness of the American people”.
    http://www.ou.edu/uschina/gries/articles/texts/TearsofRage.pdf

    I expect Li Zhaoxing recalled Mr. DeLay’s solicitude as well as Jim Lehrer’s amazed disbelief when he returned to Beijing to become China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    On the ten-year anniversary of the bombing, China Digital Times linked to an interview with a student who identified the bombing as the trigger for a sea-change in the worldview of at least some Chinese:

    What do you believe has changed now in the attitude of young Chinese (like those who protested 10 years ago against the USA) towards America?

    Over the past decade, I think the young Chinese have gradually dropped their illusion of the U.S. and begun to view it more objectively.

    After reform and opening-up, to be more specific in the 1980s and 1990s, the Chinese people began to know more about the outside world. The prosperity of the west attracted the young people so much that all of a sudden everybody wanted to go abroad. At that time, we had a popular saying, “Moon of the west is even more beautiful than that of China.” Experiencing the sharp contrast between China and the west, many Chinese people became critical of China, perhaps in a cynical way.

    However, when the Chinese embassy was bombed, many people began to think: is this the kind of democracy and human rights that we want to pursue?

    In 1999, US was still in what I might characterize as the “Tiananmen” afterglow. The 1989 demonstrators were unambiguously pro-democracy and pro-US, and the not unreasonable assumption was that genuine PRC public opinion would side with the good-guy US and not the bad-guy CCP apparatus. President Clinton delivered an apology which, in the US at least, was regarded as an honest statement of regret that the real PRC public, the enthusiastic fans of things US, would readily accept. When reactions to the Belgrade bombing indicated otherwise, the feeling in US was one of scandalized disbelief.

    Living in China at the time, I could have told them myself that the Chinese public woud never accept it. Could US officials really be so tone deaf as to not understand that Chinese had an enormous sense of wounded pride, ceaselessly nurtured by state propaganda, regarding Western aggression?

    If Americans really thought that Chinese would “get over” a strike on Chinese state property by stealth bombers they were badly mistaken. I remember that Chinese were so paranoid about air power that I never saw a plane over Beijing, and when I went to the old summer palace the displays and films demonstrated an obsession bordering on pathological regarding 19th century foreign aggression.

    My impression was that US officials were so arrogant that they didn’t care. Madeleine Albright certainly seemed to confirm that. As an American in China, I felt caught in the middle, and very small.

    Read More
  22. Dear Peter, respect, it is sincerely great to read your writings and I will keep doing so. I know I may have been somewhat critical (did not expect you to read, lol), but we do have a different outlook to analysis: in my view, when we put out too much then we say too little. The role of an analyst is to filter out and the chose the most relevant and the most probable, not to offer all possibilities and all angles.

    By far the biggest and a truly unique insight you brought is what you just repeated to me: whilst the Chinese embassy bombing went down the US memory hole super quickly labeled “old maps”, for China this has been a major historical turn point, a “crime of the first degree” of a profound long-term effect. People who understand the Chinese cultural and psychological make up, could appreciate the “helplessness” that the Chinese felt on the receiving side. Some probable lessons:
    1) the US has the best weapons in the World and is prepared to use them for minimalist reasons,
    2) the ‘international order’ is ridden by one above all laws, who never does what he says, and
    3) the principal rule of the international order is: get powerful weapons and let them do the talking.

    In any possible future conflict between US on China, China will first knock out most of the US GPS satellite network, because this is a silent/hidden source of US global power and domination.

    One thing I keep wondering about to this day is – what did the CIA guys who planned this embassy bombing have in their minds? Or beyond, the CIA: do most US people really think that just because they can do something, they should do something. You have the high-precision weapons and you can drop a 2000 pound bomb into any person’s lap, but do you ever think of consequences? Perhaps, one of the defining characteristics of a US make up is to never put yourselves into the other persons’ shoes, or more often, the family/friends/compatriots of the guy you tortured, disappeared into the global chain of secret prisons or simply hellfired out of existence? What effect your actions will have beyond your immediate “win”. This is why the term blow-back was invented in the US: I do not think about the effects of my actions beforehand.

    Read More
  23. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Bombing the embassy was a great move, put the Chicoms on notice that we cannot be trifled with. Too bad Obama doesn’t have those instincts.

    China is mostly a paper tiger as its internal problems (tyranny, central planning, corruption, demographic) will continue to compromise its ability to project political and military power.

    Their military is crap, the hardware, the systems and the quality of its personnel. USSR redux. When they can write software and do systems integration (e.g. a working aircraft carrier) I’ll pay attention. This quantity does not have a quality of its own.

    And taking down GPS is not the crippling blow that Tom Clancy wannabes write about.

    The US needs to continue to maintain a military presence in the area to keep pressure on them and also to keep our allies from overtly developing nuclear weapons. We also need to ratchet up the pressure on the trade, cyber warfare and intellectual property fronts.

    Oh for a real president!

    Read More
    • Replies: @KA
    Has US ever fought against any powerful country despite the edge ? Has it won against any determined foe?
    If US were so sure of itself it would have treated Russia in Crimea the way it treated Iraq in Kuwait . Something must be holding it back. Sure US can vaporize Russia but the smoke would asphyxiate America while it is asleep without its knowledge .
  24. @anon
    Bombing the embassy was a great move, put the Chicoms on notice that we cannot be trifled with. Too bad Obama doesn't have those instincts.

    China is mostly a paper tiger as its internal problems (tyranny, central planning, corruption, demographic) will continue to compromise its ability to project political and military power.

    Their military is crap, the hardware, the systems and the quality of its personnel. USSR redux. When they can write software and do systems integration (e.g. a working aircraft carrier) I'll pay attention. This quantity does not have a quality of its own.

    And taking down GPS is not the crippling blow that Tom Clancy wannabes write about.

    The US needs to continue to maintain a military presence in the area to keep pressure on them and also to keep our allies from overtly developing nuclear weapons. We also need to ratchet up the pressure on the trade, cyber warfare and intellectual property fronts.

    Oh for a real president!

    Has US ever fought against any powerful country despite the edge ? Has it won against any determined foe?
    If US were so sure of itself it would have treated Russia in Crimea the way it treated Iraq in Kuwait . Something must be holding it back. Sure US can vaporize Russia but the smoke would asphyxiate America while it is asleep without its knowledge .

    Read More
  25. @Mark Eugenikos
    @ Bill P

    The “old maps” explanation for the strike came off as pure BS to me when they trotted it out on TV.
     
    Of course it's BS; Chinese embassy in Belgrade was built on an empty lot, where no building had stood before. That whole section of the city was swampland until it was developed after WWII, so no building is older than late 1940s. All it takes to confirm this is to look at two Belgrade city maps: one before the Chinese embassy was built, and one after. They sell city maps at every newspaper kiosk there.
    Had the USAF been using old maps for targeting, they would have been bombing an empty field according to those supposedly old maps.

    Mark Eugenikos, I took the liberty of reviewing your past comments out of curiosity, and I came across this one. That’s a pretty astute observation. I remember the incident and was troubled by our explanation at the time, but, to be honest, I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought after the Chinese failed to make a bigger fuss about it, even though I was strongly opposed to our involvement in the Balkans. In fact, all your comments indicate a poster of considerable intelligence and knowledge. Thought I would take the opportunity to toss out a compliment to offset my little gibe on Sailer’s “egoSteve” blog. There is no need to respond.

    Read More
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