Europe's arsenals for tyranny

Frank Gafney:


Unfortunately, the president's "fence-mending" efforts with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French, German and British counterparts seem likely to founder over these states increasingly becoming arsenals for tyranny.
Take Russia. Since the end of the Cold War, the old Soviet military-industrial complex has been kept a going concern largely by selling its products to Communist China and other regimes unfriendly to freedom.


Mr. Putin has been no more responsive to appeals to forgo sale of advanced surface-to-air missiles to the Syrian despot, Bashar Assad. Such weapons may well end up in the hands of the terrorist Hezbollah organization that enjoys safe haven and sponsorship from Syria and its patron, Iran. This would greatly escalate the risk of conflict between Israel and Syria and the possibility Russian-made weapons will be used in efforts to shoot down American pilots operating in and from Iraq.
In addition, the Kremlin has recently agreed to sell as many as 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles to one of this hemisphere's most worrisome, and ambitious, despots: Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Mr. Chavez will use these arms to equip his allies in fomenting anti-American revolutions throughout Latin America " including, notably, in Nicaragua, where the Sandinistas seem poised to retake power.
If Mr. Bush's Russian interlocutor is indifferent to appeals for greater restraint in such sales to freedom's enemies, so it appears are France's Jacques Chirac, Germany's Gerhard Schroeder and Britain's Tony Blair.
The Three EU Musketeers seem determined to end the arms embargo the European Union imposed on China after the Tiananmen Square massacre, thereby allowing Europe's military-industrial capacity also to be put in the service of China's evermore offensively oriented armed forces.
The sorts of technology transfers that could flow from the EU's arsenal to the Chinese are particularly troubling, insofar as they would complement nicely the formidable weapon systems already provided by Russia. As the American Enterprise Institute's Daniel Blumenthal and Thomas Donnelly pointed out Sunday in an Outlook article in The Washington Post: "The missing pieces of the People's Liberation Army puzzle are exactly the sorts of command and control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems that the Europeans are getting ready to sell."


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