Chinese forces took one of our sea-sampling drones in the South China Sea, but rather rapidly announced they would return the Navy device. I said this was perhaps a shot across our bow (over Trump's Taiwan statements?). What if there is another explanation?
China took our Navy drone in the South China Sea. China quickly announced they would return the drone and did so on Tuesday, and I also heard on TV news recently that the Chinese government originally denied taking the drone. And apparently the drone remained on the ship that seized it.
What if the seizure was on the orders of someone in the Chinese navy, perhaps way down the chain of command, acting without instructions from the government in an act of insubordination?
What if the government (well, communist party) was blindsided by this insubordination and quickly ordered the drone returned to America, perhaps with a little pucker factor breaking out in Peking over the action of their ship captain (and whoever above him in the chain of command initiated it)?
I've long wondered just who can order the People's Liberation Army into action. Is this incident an example?
The insubordination explanation would also invalidate the alternative explanation that the seizure was based on President Obama's weakness. Honestly, the speed that the Chinese offered to return the rather mundane drone argues against this exploitation of weakness explanation.
Of course, one still needs to know why there could have been an act of insubordination. Perhaps the order within the military had its origin in a desire by the military to fire a shot across the bow of a future Trump administration or the conviction that the current administration is weak, neither of which motivation was shared by the more cautious Chinese government.
I don't like living in interesting times.