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NPR Puff on Europe Selling Weapons to China
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Last month I pointed out European plans to end an embargo on selling weapons to China.

Since that news came out, China also passed a law authorizing force (or "non-peaceful means" as the law put it) against Taiwan if they formally secede.

Nice, huh?

This morning on NPR I hear a puff piece about the lifting of the embargo which featured comments from a number of European officials, but not a single American official. The gist of the piece was to say that American criticism of the deal was unwarranted, that the deal wouldn't have an impact because it was either ceremonial, or get this, because of a "code of conduct" that would guide the ethical choices in selling missiles and warplanes to a Communist regime.

Nevermind that countries like France and Germany have already skirted the embargo by selling supposedly duel use equipment:

In Germany, a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler AG says it is supplying diesel engines for Chinese submarines.


France, for instance, completed deliveries of helicopters, and radars and missiles for Chinese destroyers, that were ordered before the embargo, and took an order in 1992 for light helicopters that were delivered between 1995-2002, according to the arms transfer database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden.

If fact, if it weren't for France, China's military wouldn't have a helicopter force to speak of. And this is with the embargo in place. I'm sure those strong ethical guidelines are going to help the Europeans make wise choices in what and what not to sell to a country that brutally repressed an internal democratic movement and is preemptively declaring war on a territory that is actively seeking democracy and independence.

The NPR piece actually said something very close to:

But although Washington is concerned about the increase in high-tech, powerful weaponry being sold to China, Ingrid Something-or-Other at some European Institute says this shows just how out of touch the American government is with the realities of the situation.

She then went on to say that the Europeans weren't really in it for the money, and that their high-minded ethical guidelines would steer them in the right direction.

So even if they "just wanted to send China a message", there are about a million other markets you could open if you wanted to engage them in more active trade. Cars, computers, and cheese. When you lift the military embargo, the message you are sending them is obviously: "We are willing to support you militarily." And what the hell kind of message is that to send to the architects of the Tiananmen Massacre and people who have openly declared the intention of war against a fledgling democratic state?

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