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.
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.