December 06, 2004

Loonies in Europe 

What's wrong with Azeglio Ciampi, Italy's President?
After talking a lot about peace, multilateralism, negotiations and the whole package, during his visit in China he said that the EU should abolish the embargo on arms sales to China. Say what? China, that country with a dismal human rights record (censure of weblogs, just for a mild example), whose government is fuelling aggressive nationalism among the population (and even ideas of a Chinese racial supremacy), whose government militarily threatens Taiwan every other day. And Europe should sell weapons to China - while they even have a big defense industry?

That's a rather foolish position, to say the least (of course, France wants to lift the ban as well). What most amazes me is the double standard: USA are to be shunned* while China is OK? On what alien world? This is bordering with hypocrisy.
The Foreign Affairs minister Fini, at least, speaks honestly of "strategic partnership and cooperation". Fini is the less tranzist of the bunch, and for me it's all right when countries forge bonds with strategic allies, and I like Chinese culture much more than Islamic culture - at least, the Chinese are not hell-bent on converting us. But still, I can't support this decision now, while China is still an authoritarian regime with real expansionist policies. Where are the standards of democracy and justice?
Truth to be told, there are some anarchists who condemn greedy self-interest from any party, but then they go overboard on the other side.

At least the Reformation Minister Calderoli seems to be a saner head in this regard, and he's against lifting the embargo - which has been approved by the European Parliament in 2003, by the way.
But then even Calderoli whines about the fact that an opening to the oriental market could put our industries in the face of Chinese competition. True that many Chinese workers are in near-slavery conditions and receive starvation wages for exhausting jobs, but closing the markets and posing duties on Chinese products is not the right answer. Diplomacy is all a matter of bargaining chips: ask for improvement in work conditions as a requirement for joining the market. In the medium/long run, the Chinese people will benefit more from capitalism and free market than heavy trade regulations.

In the meanwhile, ETA is on a bombing rampage in Spain: seven small bombs exploded in six Spanish cities today. By the way, this is quite a textbook example of terrorism without casualties: the objective of sowing fear and disrupting day-to-day life is accomplished, but no one was killed, and only a few people slightly injured. I really cannot figure out what these irreducible terrorists want: the Basques already got a large autonomy, and the majority of Basque population is satisfied with that and does not want any more violence.
I've heard that they want a Marxist Basque state; probably that's the issue.
Finally, can this surge of activity be a consequence of Spain's rapid capitulation in front of Islamic terrorism, after the Madrid atrocity? You see, when ETA saw a terrorist act being so successful, they may had got the idea that terrorism after all pays off...

* Actually, Ciampi never shunned the USA, but about Iraq he often said that the UN must have a bigger role, and peace must be pursued at any cost... more or less, the usual tranzist stuff. How does it square with selling arms to China, is hard to comprehend for me. (All updates on 9/12/04)


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