So among the issues on the plate during Bush's European tour is the fact that the EU wants to lift a 15-year embargo on the sale of weapons and military systems to China
Bush said lifting the embargo, imposed after the bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy activists, "would change the balance of relations between China and Taiwan and that's of concern." But French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the ban should go. "It will happen," Schroeder said.
Just to clarify...the Europeans want to start selling lots of weapons to the Chinese, a repressive Communist regime who quelled a democratic uprising in a ruthless and bloody manner, and we think it's a bad idea.
There was a story about this on NPR this morning, and they were talking to a British correspondent. The conversation went pretty close to this:
NPR: So is American against lifting the embargo of the sale of weapons to China?
British reporter: Well, as President Bush stated yesterday, the sale of weapons to China might shift the balance of power in the region, and the US is concerned that it might end up having to fight against China, armed with those systems, if China invades Taiwan.
NPR: And what about the European perspective? Why do they want to lift the embargo? Is it just about making money?
British reporter: Certainly business is a large concern, but geopolitically, Europe simply doesn't have the interests in the region that the US does.
In other words, they want to make billions selling fighter jets and radar systems to China, and don't give a shit about the political systems in the region (i.e., promoting democracy and discouraging autocracy).
But how has China been doing in those past 15 years?
From Human Rights Watch:
June 4, 2004, marked the fifteenth anniversary of the massacre in Beijing, when China’s leaders ordered the military to fire on civilians who were trying to prevent troops from entering the city and reaching protesters in Tiananmen Square. Fifteen years later, the government still forbids any public commemoration of the event. Police harass and detain those dedicated to securing rehabilitation of victims, payment of compensation, or reconsideration of the official verdict.
During the sensitive 2004 anniversary period, officials again held well-known activists, including Ding Zilin, leader of the Tiananmen Mothers advocacy group, under house arrest. State Security officers subjected Dr. Jiang Yanyong to six weeks of intense thought reform. The seventy-two-year-old military doctor had gained international renown for exposing the official cover-up of the SARS epidemic in Beijing. He also had attended to victims the night of June 4, 1989, and, in February 2004, suggested in a private letter to the government that it should “settle the mistakes it committed” in 1989. Dr. Jiang was released on July 19, 2004, but remained under house arrest at this writing.
And lest you balk in a reactionary way to any position that Bush takes, take note that HRW also opposes lifting the embargo:
The European Union is weighing whether to rescind an arms embargo imposed after the 1989 Beijing massacre. Human Rights Watch opposes lifting the embargo until China addresses issues of accountability, reparations for victims, and trials for those responsible.
I suppose if China did attack Taiwan and the US came to its defense, NATO wouldn't help? Wouldn't the Europeans be fighting against their own weapons systems? Besides being morally obtuse, lifting the embargo also just seems monumentally stupid from a strategic standpoint. But I guess it'll help bring in cash for all those wonderful European social programs, right?
And we're supposed to look at the EU as having more enlightened foreign policy that the US? They're supposed to be some sort of moral authority?
Give me a fuggin break.