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« Congressional Ideology Ratings. | WILLisms.com | Lebanon: Strange, Wonderful Goings-On »

Euro-Bush Brings Up China, European Integration.

In a previous WILLisms.com post (here), we gave the President high marks on his Europe trip thus far, but an incomplete on the subject of China, as nothing public had been uttered about that emerging superpower.

Now, the silence on the issue has been broken.

First, a smidgeon of background info:

The European Union has apparently decided, unfortunately, to remove its embargo on arms sales to China. The embargo dates back to the aftermath of June 1989's Tiananmen Square Massacre.

tiananmensquare.gif

The President pressed the issue mostly in private, but responded candidly yesterday at NATO headquarters in Brussels. NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer expressed support for the "common values that bind us, in the past, in the present, and in the future."


Click on picture for full transcript.

Here is the entire exhange on China:

"Q Mr. President, European countries are talking about lifting their 15-year arms embargo on China. What would be the consequences of that? And could it be done in a way that would satisfy your concerns?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I talked about this issue with President Chirac last night, and Prime Minister Blair, and I intend to talk about it here in a couple of hours at the European Union meeting. We didn't discuss the issue at NATO, by the way. And here's what I explained. I said, there is deep concern in our country that a transfer of weapons would be a transfer of technology to China, which would change the balance of relations between China and Taiwan, and that's of concern. And they, to a person, said, well, they think they can develop a protocol that isn't -- that shouldn't concern the United States. And I said I'm looking forward to seeing it and that they need to make sure that if they do so, that they sell it to the United States Congress, but the Congress will be making the decisions as to whether or not -- as to how to react to what will be perceived by some, perhaps, as a technology transfer to China.

But it was an important dialogue. It was a very open dialogue. There's no -- it was very constructive. And so they will, as I understand it -- and I don't want to put words in people's mouth, but I am told that there is a -- that they've heard the concerns of the United States, they're listening to the concerns of the administration, as first articulated by Secretary of State Rice, and they know the Congress's concern. And so they will try to develop a plan that will ease concerns. Now, whether they can or not, we'll see.

Q So do you think it will fly?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Pardon me? I don't know. It's all speculation at this point. The purpose of this trip has been to articulate concerns that are being expressed throughout the government, both in the executive branch and legislative branch, about the decision -- or the potential decision. And I've been listening. And you might call this a listening tour, that people have got things on their mind and they want me to hear it, and part of what they've got on their mind is the dialogue that's taking place with China and the European Union."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, meanwhile, said, of lifting the ban:

"It will happen."

Unclassy.

What's next, a Chinapean Union?

chinapeanunion.gif

Lame.

National Review, meanwhile, gives the President low marks on the issue of European integration:

"The project of a federal EU has long been driven, at least in part, by a profound, and remarkably virulent anti-Americanism, with deep roots in Vichy-era disdain for the sinister 'Anglo-Saxons' and their supposedly greedy and degenerate culture. Throw in the poisonous legacy of soixante-huitard radicalism, then add Europe's traditional suspicion of the free market, and it's easy to see how relations between Brussels and Washington were always going to be troubled. What's more, the creation of a large and powerful fortress Europe offered its politicians something else, the chance to return to the fun and games of great power politics....

Any attempt by the Bush White House to derail the ratification process would backfire, but that does not mean that the administration should be actively signaling its support for this dreadful and damaging document. Secretary Rice argues that the integration represented by the passing of the constitution would be a 'good development.' The opposite is true. If the EU (which has a collective agenda primarily set by France and Germany) does increasingly speak with one voice, Washington is unlikely to enjoy what it hears."

UPDATE:

Blogger Chrenkoff notes, however, that inclusion of Eastern Europe into Europe may prevent some of the ill effects of a Franco-German dominated E.U. (he also notes in the same post that Russia has as many spies in the U.S.A. now than it did under the Soviet Union, so it's worth reading):

"Keeping the European Union in check: The Eurocrats must be starting to regret the admission of the new members to the EU. The uncouth newcomers are rather less well disposed towards statism and trendy leftyism than their Western betters and are already shaking the comfortable Brussels status quo. This from the Czechs:

'In their first foreign-policy victory since joining the EU, Czech officials in Brussels have blocked a proposed ban on inviting Cuban dissidents to receptions at European embassies in Havana.

'The ban would have suspended a 2003 resolution that called on EU countries to support anti-Castro dissidents by inviting them to parties celebrating national holidays.

'Spain proposed the ban as part of a package of measures -- including the resumption of EU missions to Cuba -- designed to ease tensions with Havana. It became a sticking point when the Czechs threatened to use their veto in the 25-member Council of Foreign Ministers, where unanimity is required on policy decisions.'

Another recent example comes from Poland, whose representatives were instrumental in alerting the public and then stopping the proposed EU directive on patents, which had it been passed would have devastated the development of open source and shareware software. In the best EU fashion, the directive was going to be pushed through the Agricultural and Fisheries Commission(!).

Why it matters: Because the Easterners are acting as a moderating, sensible influence on the rampant anti-American nouveau socialism of the EU elites. It is also a useful reminder for the EU critics in the US that Europe is not monolithic and not beyond salvaging."

One can only hope. It is also possible, however, that Eastern European nations may be swept away by "the mania," the anti-American mania that dominates much of France's political culture. As Europe integrates further, it is not out of the question that those nations formerly behind the Iron Curtain, nations currently filled with grateful Americaphiles, appreciative of the efforts and ideology of the United States during and after the Cold War, will move toward a feeling of rivalry (and even possibly antagonism) against the U.S.

Hopefully, Chrenkoff is correct, and the Eastern European nations, with their freer markets and more pro-American attitudes, will rub off on the rest of Europe. Unfortunately, the U.K. seems to be missing a prime opportunity to lead a sort of pro-U.S. alliance within the E.U., which could keep France and Germany in line.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 February 2005 06:32 AM

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WILLisms.com brought you extensive coverage of President Bush's trip to Europe ("A Preview" ; "Part Two" ; "Grading Thus Far" ; "Brings Up China, European Integration" ; "Well, It Was Real, It Was Fun, But Was It Real Fun?"), but... [Read More]

Tracked on February 28, 2005 11:43 AM

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