Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

The EU, US and China 2

My fellow Guardian Political Weblog Awards nominee, the bastion of the “pro-war left” that is Harry’s Place, has a post up on the decision to delay lifting the embardo on arms exports to China, following a piece by Timothy Garton-Ash – the pundit of choice for pretty much everyone who wants a quick Euro hit, by the looks of the blogosphere. Can’t say I rate him overly highly myself (always seems a tad overly simplistic), but I suppose I should be nice as we went to the same school and all…

Anyway, that’s beside the point. Harry (for it is he) argues that

“There hasn’t been much noise about the scandalous position taken by the EU on this issue. It would surely have been different if it were the other way round and the EU had a tough line of not arming a dictatorship which has long been making war-mongering grumbles against a small neighbouring state and it was the US who unilaterally announced it was going to break the agreement and start selling weapons to the free-market Stalinists?”

It may be worth pointing out once again that, despite US protestations about EU plans, 6.7 percent of Chinese defense imports come from the United States and only 2.7 percent from Europe.

This is not, of course, to defend the EU’s plans to bunk arms to China on any moral level (as morality isn’t really a factor and it does, after all, make perfect economic sense) – and I am certainly uncomfortable with the idea that we might be aiding any future attack on Taiwan.

But come on, people – what’s with all these weak comparisons between the US and EU? They are not, as much as many from both the Eurosceptic and Europhile camps may like us to believe, actually sensibly comparable. There are vague, broad similarities, certainly – but there are far, far more differences in their structures and ways of working than anything else. If you start making silly comparisons in particular areas you can make a convincing-sounding argument about pretty much anything.

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