Arming the world

Led by the French, the EU will probably soon drop the arms embargo it (and the U.S.) imposed on China in response to the Tiananmen massacre. This embargo is one of the few things anyone did to protest the brutality of the crackdown and it is the only concrete thing that anyone is still doing. Human rights in China have not improved much, so why the urgent need to drop the embargo? Money. The merchants of death around old Europe feel there is a lot of money to be made. They are right. But U.S. producers see this market too, so why the transatlantic divergence?

The U.S. is a world power. We have allies in Europe. We have allies in Asia and all over the world. Despite the rhetoric, the EU operates locally in the European region, which includes the close in Middle East and N. Africa. The EU is INVOLVED but not COMMITTED elsewhere.

What is the difference between being involved and committed? Think of your ham and eggs breakfast. The chicken is involved. The pig is committed (i.e. it's his ass).

This difference explains a lot. Let's take the China case. China has been engaging in an arms buildup that is making its neighbors (many U.S. friends) nervous. So far, they have been buying arms from the Russians or making their own. These can be deadly, but they are not integrated in that they lack the technologies of control and battlefield awareness that the U.S. had developed in cooperation with and/or shared with its NATO allies. This is the piece of the puzzle EU arms could provide.

Europeans, only involved in the world as they are, brush off U.S. concerns. The chance is slim that China will use these arms aggressively, they say, at least not soon. And they are right. But the committed U.S. has to worry about this small chance because if it ever comes to a confrontation in Asia the Germans and the French will be as useful as they were in the war that toppled Saddam Hussein.

We should be aware of how this game is played because it is very similar to the pre-war Iraq scenario. The chances are slim that it will result in conflict, but the consequences of such an outcome are very much worse for the U.S. and the world.

European leaders like to lecture us about the morality of our foreign policy. It is easy not to sin when you don't have the opportunity. Let's see how these guys respond when they have the choice between doing what is right and doing what is profitable.

Posted by Jack at February 28, 2005 12:46 PM