March 6, 2005

Pacifists Selling Arms

What's more distasteful than being lectured by Europeans about our use of military force while they hide behind a pose of pacifism, secure in 50 years of American protection? Watching them champing at the bit to sell arms to China while investing minimally in their own militaries, that's what. It's bad enough that Taiwan could never count on France or Germany to help out democratic Taiwan when or if China decided it was "re-unification" time. But these "pacifists" can't wait to sell weapons systems to China that would make our potential job of defending Taiwan that much more difficult and dangerous. In other words, pacifism and principle go out the window when there's a buck to be made selling weapons of war.

Thomas Friedman has an idea for a compromise:

Mr. Bush should simply say to France, Germany and their E.U. partners that America has absolutely no objection to Europeans' selling arms to China - on one condition: that they sell arms to themselves first. That's right, the U.S. should support the export to China of any defense system that the Europeans buy for their own armies first. Buy one, sell one...

...Weapons systems are the loss leader that the E.U. is dangling in front of the Chinese to persuade them to buy more of Europe's civilian airplanes. Indeed, what is really sad about the European arms sale proposal to China is that the E.U. doesn't seem to be demanding any political price, even the slightest change in behavior, from Beijing in return, except some vague "code of conduct." Sure. Ask the software industry about Chinese promises not to pirate technology.

In his piece on Eurobabble, Victor Davis Hanson suggests viewing the still immature E.U. as we would an impudent teenager:

...if Europe sounds conflicted, that's because it is. One symptom of such a troubled patient is its blustering rhetoric — as if words can mask reality, as if idealistic vocabulary and shots at America can substitute for faith in Western values, sacrifice, and risk-taking. One reason that Europe understands so well the braggadocio and sense of inferiority of the impotent Muslim world is that it suffers precisely from some of these same maladies in its own problematic relationship with the United States. A Muslim in Europe who puts a picture of bin Laden on his wall is the equivalent of a European chanting that Bush is Hitler: The Arab does not really wish to destroy the opulent European network that he counts on, nor does the European in jeans with a cell phone truly wish the U.S. would stop protecting his lifestyle. Yet each feels terrible about his own hypocrisy and accompanying appetites for what he professedly hates, and so looks to express angst on the cheap...

...What should the U.S. do about these aggravating moments, these 40-something nesters who like staying in the house but not maintaining or repairing it? Like all parents, ignore the childish slander and wish our Europeans well on their belatedly new lives. So close the door firmly with a warm hug, and remind them that they are still part of the family after all — always welcome for visits, but of course never quite encouraged to move back in.

Posted by dan at March 6, 2005 9:29 PM