Friday, February 04, 2005

Europe and China, They Deserve Each Other

If I were a prime minister in Europe, I would be pushing to sell to China for a couple of reasons. The first reason is the prosaic one, Europe makes a product that China has the hard currency to buy. For the governments in Europe, this is a great deal. Virtually all the other countries in the market for arms demand discounts for impoverishment. Or, they truly are impoverished, which obliges the EU or individual European countries to make the delta between what the market can bear and what the producers need to be paid. When you find a country that can pay, you can only put them off for so long. Bonus points if that country is a LOOOOOONG way away from Europe, and unlikely to kill or break anything that any European holds dear.

The other benefit is that strengthening China allows Europe to play Balance of Power politics on the cheap. Arming China forces America to spend money and energy to counter China. In classic BOP politics, the diplomacy is zero sum. One country or bloc is up, another is down. When a country is down, those on the other side can exert their will in the world. With America distracted, Europe has more of a free hand to what it wants in opposition to America. The big difference these days from the heyday of BOP is that Europe really does not have anything that they want to accomplish, other than thwarting America. So, Europe moves to sell arms to China, essentially to infuriate America.

The Europeans are in the midst of reverse colonization. Islamists are taking over their inner cities, and threatening to move into the suburbs. Unemployment is stuck at around 10% and productivity it 80% or so of America, and dropping. Europe really is just exhausted, and good for little more than standing against anything that America is or does.

Europe sells arms to China because they can and it is something the US is against. It really is as simple as that.