Humble Pie

An excercise in creative diplomacy.

On March 31, 2001, a US Navy spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea, forcing the US aircraft to make an emergency landing on Chinese soil and resulting in the death of Chinese pilot, Wang Wei. While Chinese officials responded to the incident by calling for an apology, the newly-inaugurated president, George W. Bush, responded by demanding for the immediate return of the spy plane and its 24-person crew, stating, "The United States doesn't understand the reasons for an apology… the United States did nothing wrong."

Following in the great American tradition of resolving neighborly conflicts with baked goods, a homemade pie was personally delivered to the Chinese embassy in San Francisco on Day 10 of the standoff. Baked into the crust of a fresh apple pie are the Chinese characters representing the word "quianyi" meaning "apology" or "heartfelt regrets." As a result, a lengthy conversation with Vice Consul, Mr. Shuang Lang, ensued, in which many of the finer details of the impaired relations between the US and China were discussed, along with several possible strategies towards resolving the conflict. Among these strategies was a suggestion that the crew members should be safely returned home to their families, and the plane should be given back to Bush in tiny pieces.

Although the Center for Tactical Magic could never be certain of our influence in helping to resolve this dire international crisis, it should be noted that the aforementioned strategy was executed by the PRC only a few days later.