Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Europe and the Destabilisation of Asia

Although the EU has not explicitly abandoned its aim to lift the arms embargo on China (against which this blog has been campaigning), it does look increasingly likely, says today's Daily Telegraph, that the policy will be quietly dropped.

The growing threat of instability in the region is becoming impossible to overlook. North and South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan are all involved in an atmosphere of sabre-rattling, mutual suspicion and threats. The prime agitator behind all of it is China. Even the EU's leading advocates of lifting the ban, Chancellor Schröder of Germany and President Chirac of France, can no longer pretend that lifting the arms embargo is all a "symbolic" matter with no consequences.

And yet only last week, the French PM Raffarin, whilst closing the sale of 10 Airbuses to China, was still referring to the "anachronism" of the embargo, assuring the Chinese of France's determination to lift it and - most sickeningly of all - giving China France's blessing in the matter of bullying democratic Taiwan with its threats of invasion.

It is far too optimistic to say that the EU will back off from the plan. Admittedly, the more Atlanticist EU countries, such as Holland and Britain, have the strongest misgivings about it, but that doesn't mean they will prevail against France and Germany, who seem to have set their caps at making a big anti-American splash by lifting the arms ban.

The good news in this respect is that both France and Germany have other pressing matters to deal with right now. With the EU Constitution referendum in France and key regional elections in Germany, their governments' attention is fixed elsewhere.

But madcap EU schemes of this sort have a habit of resurfacing just when you thought they'd been comprehensively sunk. And the German government's current onslaught on the evils of capitalism makes one think it will stop at nothing to show its support for its Chinese comrades.

The link is to the Telegraph's article:Telegraph Opinion Europe is blind to Asian instability

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