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The EU's foolish idea of selling arms to China

Reginald Dale, editor of the policy quarterly European Affairs, and a media fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University has a curious piece in today’s IHT.

In it he criticises the EU for considering reopening arms trade with China. He warns that if the EU takes such a course, it could lead to a serious rift with the US.

He concludes:

But the Atlantic alliance will once again be severely strained if an out-of-its-depth Europe kowtows to China’s demands to win favor in Beijing. Legislation is already making its way through the U.S. Congress restricting transfers of U.S. military technology to European countries selling arms to China and banning Pentagon purchases from European companies that do so.

It would help prevent Beijing from splitting the two sides of the Atlantic – and gaining a major victory for its shabby human rights policies – if EU leaders started practicing what they have so often preached over the past year. They should refrain from dangerous unilateral initiatives and conduct serious consultations on a joint strategic approach to China with the United States.

Trading arms with China serves what purpose exactly? Closer ties are good how? Maybe if China became a reasonable, representative society that respected human rights then such deals could be justified.

Europe and indeed France are deluding themselves, Dale mentions :

But the broader and equally controversial background to the Franco-German initiative is the EU’s drive to forge a strategic relationship with China, independently from Europe’s links to the United States…

This effort, several years in the making, has been warmly, if conditionally, welcomed in Beijing. It reflects the desires of both France and China to create a multipolar world, in which the United States would be no more than one of several global power centers.

And multipolarity sounds distinctly like Europe in 1914.

US, EU reach final accord in satellites row

The United States and the European Union have reached a final accord on resolving a transatlantic row over rival satellite positioning systems and will seal the deal at the US-EU summit this week in Ireland, officials from both sides said Monday.

At one point, Washington suggested that the Galileo was an unnecessary rival to GPS that merely duplicated the US system.

Despite the US reservations, Europe forged ahead with the project and Galileo is set to be operational by 2008 with 30 satellites encircling the globe in medium orbit.

Late last year, the Europeans agreed to modify the modulation of Galileo signals intended for government use so they would not disrupt encrypted GPS signals to be used by the US military and NATO.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two sides agreed on key points including:

– a common signal structure for so-called “open” services, and a suitable signal structure for the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS).

– a process allowing improvements, either jointly or individually, of the baseline signal structures in order to further improve performances.

– confirmation of inter-operable time and standards to facilitate the joint use of GPS and Galileo.

Ugly Americans: Europe cannot blame it all on Bush

Pierre Lellouche with yet another analysis of transatlantic relations, he notes:

I can remember U.S. presidents who were derided for being ignorant (Reagan), incompetent (Carter), or bumbling (Ford). But never have I such a rejection, bordering on hatred, as I see today for Bush.

He dislikes the anti-Bush line, but would like to see something more constructive:

Anti-Americanism and European weakness are the two sides of a coin. It is time both sides try to find the path towards constructive dialogue, without which neither will be able to face up to the dangerous world of the 21st century.

US and France: We still need each other: Felix G. Rohatyn

Felix G. Rohatyn, United States ambassador to France from 1997 to 2001, has another piece in the IHT on transatlantic relations. Another appropriate piece to be reading on a day like today…

I have seen France at its most tragic in 1940, and I have seen it at its best in later years. Although there will still be differences about Iraq and other issues, I know that France and America need each other strategically, economically, culturally.

And beyond that, there is the history buried in the cemetery of Omaha Beach. We need a relationship built on mutual respect as well as mutual interest. Perhaps it will be rekindled on Omaha Beach.

D-Day and anti-Americanism: It's hard to love a savior

Josef Joffe, editor of Die Zeit, has written a piece in today’s IHT. He decries the levels of anti-americanism prevalent in Europe today, while hoping for an improvement in transatlantic relations. I agree with his criticisms of anti-americanism:

Perusing the European media from Madrid to Munich in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal, one might think America is Darth Vader and Adolf Hitler rolled into one. On the 60th anniversary of D-Day, Europe is awash in a tsunami of anti-Americanism that is light-years removed from a rationally argued critique of U.S. behavior in Iraq.

Why are the second and third post-D-Day generations so obsessed with America that they will stop at nothing to discredit and dehumanize the country?

He rightly nails some hypocritical views Europeans have of America:

And then there is Temptress America, a culture that radiates outward and pulls inward. Europe eats, listens, dances and dresses American, and if the lure of low culture weren’t enough, there is the glamour of U.S. universities that makes the worst anti-American diatribe usually end with: “Can you help get my daughter into Harvard?”

Will this, too, have passed by the time we mark D-Day 2014? It might, but only on two conditions. Europe will have to shed the arrogance of weakness, and the United States the arrogance of power. Watch George W. Bush on D-Day ’04 for signs of a kinder and gentler America. The United States is still the greatest power in history, but it has learned the hard way in Falluja and Abu Ghraib that even giants can’t go it alone.

Indeed it can’t, but can it go the right way?

EU expansion a yawn in U.S: Roger Cohen

One of the most interesting pieces I’ve read on the subject this year – the apparent lack of interest in the US at the EU’s impending expansion.

It is a significant development in global affairs – the EU will be a bloc with a population of almost half a billion people, bordering countries such as Ukraine, Belarus and more importantly Russia, for the first time.

It is curious that Americans can’t understand why we have not let in Turkey yet – it is something of an inevitable fact that someday soon Turkey will have to join, as far as I can see any form of European growth could not be sustained without the workers needed from such a populous country as Turkey.

Here’s the full text:
Continue reading “EU expansion a yawn in U.S: Roger Cohen”

Europe and the US are now adrift: Martin Jacques

Martin Jacques with an interesting take on the trans-atlantic relationship. Best question:

For over three centuries the world was hugely Euro-centric. The cold war may have granted a 50-year extension on its lease, but 9/11 finally marked closure. How does a relatively small continent, which has played such a humungous global role for so long, adapt to tumultuous and troubling changes that require it to assume a very different place in the world? That is now the European story, and will be for a long time to come.
Continue reading “Europe and the US are now adrift: Martin Jacques”


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