China: December 17, 2004


France and Germany continue to pressure the European Union to drop its arms embargo (enacted in 1989 to protest violent government suppression of a democracy movement that year.) France, in particular, sold China many high teach weapons systems in the 1980s, and now wants to sell replacements, and new stuff. China may already be getting military technology from European firms, as China is accustomed to getting stuff any way it can. For example, this week the United States demanded that the Israeli Minister of Defense be fired because Israel upgraded electronic gear, containing American technology, that it had sold to China in the 1990s. The U.S. allowed Israel to repair the equipment, but later found out that it had been upgraded. The U.S. is mad at Israel for improving Chinas air defense and electronic warfare systems. It's not just that many of the Israeli systems contain American technology the Chinese will steal, but because China's threats against Taiwan may one day have American pilots and sailors getting killed because of those systems. China has long tried to steal whatever military technology it could. Many nations are still willing to deal with China, knowing that they are dealing with thieves. The sales arrangements simply take into account the possibility of technology theft, and force the Chinese to pay a premium for their potential larceny.  Russia, Israel, France, and even American firms, have done business this way. However, the Pentagon has no patience for this sort of thing, knowing that American troops will ultimately pay for these deals in blood.




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