When China’s National People’s Congress convened in Beijing on Saturday, Premier Wen Jiabao highlighted his nation’s military modernization campaign and breathed threats against Taiwan. It would be hard to find a worse time for Europe to offer China military aid.
The U.S. and Europe have grown apart and the President’s recent visit to the continent won’t change that. Rather than dwell on past disagreements, Washington should concentrate on resolving a handful of current controversies.
It would be nice, for instance, if Europe offered to supplement the U.S. led garrison in Iraq. That’s not going to happen.
But Washington might be able to convince Europe not to raise its ban on arms sales to China. The U.S. “has very specific concerns about lifting the embargo,” observes Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
There’s much about European behavior that irritates Washington. However, the fact that the interests of sovereign nations, even ones so closely tied in the past, sometimes diverge shouldn’t surprise anyone on either side of the Atlantic. America’s liberation of Europe 60 years ago does not entitle Washington to Europe’s unthinking support today.
Nevertheless, the U.S. and Europe share a number of interests. Perhaps most fundamental is preserving their generally free and prosperous societies.
There may be disagreements about how to do achieve certain ends — prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, for instance. But no American or European wants to see the rise of a global hegemonic authoritarian power.
THERE’S MUCH GOOD that has happened to the People’s Republic of China over the last three decades. Virulent, murderous Maoism is gone. Beijing has moved dramatically towards free markets, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.
The political system remains sclerotic, but personal autonomy and religious liberty are expanding. Over the long term, it will be increasingly hard for the nominally Communist Party — more fascist in practice — to preserve its control.
However, further liberalization is by no means guaranteed. And even a more democratic PRC might be aggressively and dangerously nationalistic.
That wouldn’t be so important if the country was, say, Burma or Zimbabwe, two other states under an EU arms embargo. But Beijing, which is likely to eventually marry the world’s largest population with the largest economy, is a potential peer competitor to America.
Even that alone isn’t necessarily frightening. After all, there were sometimes significant tensions between a rising U.S. and declining Britain, but they ultimately forged one of the closest international relationships in existence.
With China, however, the differences are more significant — and could conceivably lead to war. That would be horrific, obviously, and should be avoided at almost all cost. But there are flashpoints, such as Taiwan, and if war would come, it would be in the interest of both the U.S. and Europe for America to prevail.
The European Union implemented an arms embargo after the Chinese regime’s slaughter of demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. But a number of European companies and governments see potential profits from servicing Beijing’s arms needs; PRC defense spending has been growing around ten or so percent annually and now stands at a respectable $150 billion a year.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online