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Our friends the French

Paul Staines points out a splendid example of the French state doing its bit to support the world’s largest tyranny

As Taiwan’s democrats get bullets before ballots, France demonstrates its exceptionalism once again.  This week the French navy began joint exercises with the Chinese navy. No, really.

Not content with just lobbying other EU countries to lift the arms embargo on China imposed in the wake of the Tiannamen Square massacre in 1989 (who says the French are always against free trade?), they are training with the Chinese navy. The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, said they would be China’s biggest ever joint military exercises with a foreign power.   (Note to Beijing,  it took Churchill a single day to sink almost the entire French navy, but maybe you have not got many seafaring friends to learn from.)

Taiwan obviously is anxious about the situation – which they describe as a threatening show of force. The French not content with cruising the seas with Taiwan’s mortal enemy recently condemned President Chen Shui-bian’s plan to hold a referendum on missile defense as part of this coming Saturday’s election, prompting Taipei to suspend top-level ties with Paris.

I suppose with reduced opportunities for arms sales to Iraq the prospect of equipping the Chinese military appeals.

Paul Staines

17 comments to Our friends the French

  • David

    I remember reading a story, which I can’t find, that several French companies have contracts with China to supply military equipment which only go into effect once the embargo is lifted. If true it would mirror the contracts French oil companies had with Saddam which would only go into effect once sanctions were lifted. I see the same sort of deal at play here which would explain France’s involvement in naval exercises. With the loss of income from Iraq, France has got to find others and pronto.

    Here’s another twist – Haiti is one of the few countries which recognizes Taiwan. I’ve read some speculation that China might try to block UN peacekeeping operations in Haiti unless Haiti agrees to end its recognition of Taiwan. Given the large presence of French troops in Haiti, I wonder if they will attempt to influence the new Haitian government on behalf of the Chinese.

  • David

    On the other hand UN Security Council Resolution 1529 authorizing the current multi-national force in Haiti passed unanimously, so maybe I’m just a wild eyed conspiracy theorist.

  • And of course, this has nothing to do with the spanking France received for trying to bribe her way (as usual) in selling her warships to Taiwan

    But then, France is such a whore for each and every Communist dictatorship that this can’t be a surprise anyway.

  • This thing with France is no shock or surprise. UK and US are just as guilty for helping to sustain that totalitarian regime in China. US has suplied intelligence to China for years along it’s Russian border, it even has a listening station along Mongolia. Both US and UK have high level military ties with the so called People’s Republic, and it’s avid cunsumers who are always on the hunt for low prices, are the catalysts that sustain various prison labor camps and slave wages. So one must be cautious in blaming France, one should be aware of the entire Western hypocrasy dealing with China.

  • Brock

    Revolutionary –

    Those were different times. The US could not defeat a united China and USSR. We played one off the other. It wasn’t noble, but we did it to survive the 20th century.

    We don’t need to so that any more. The USSR has given up and disappeared. France has no excuse. They’re just a whore for influence.

  • Brock-

    I certainly agree that those were different times, but it still does not justify the current “friendship” between the UK/US and China. It is not a hidden secret that the US/UK military and high tech industries have been selling technology and so forth to that totalitarian regime well into the present, some sources have said that it would have taken China another 5-10 years to send a man into space had it no been due to the kindness of Motorola and others in sharing technology with them.

    To blame France alone for being cozy with China, is like blaming France alone for the selling out of Czechosolovakia to Hitler. The blame has to be shared among all that participated.

    –Carpe Diem

  • Tony

    Not going to try and sell them the ‘Charles de Gaulle’ aircraft carrier then?

    Nah, who needs a 40,000 tonne paperweight?


  • The Wobbly Guy

    China will get what’s coming to it, sooner or later, if it doesn’t wise up any time soon.

    Of course, the Taiwan issue has always been a rather sore spot amongst chinese all over the world, even if they might not be of Taiwanese or China nationality.

  • M. Simon

    Reader Quote of the Week: 2004-03-19
    Joe Katzman

    While Parisian resident Gabriel Gonzalez’ comment was made into a Guest Blog (“From Madrid to Paris”), the prize this week goes to M. Simon. Responding to Trent Telenko’s article “The French War for Oil”, he fondly recalls World War 2 and notes:

    “As I recall in that war we got to bomb France and be their ally. Does it get any better than that?”

  • ed

    Perhaps Revolutionary Blogger is right- but I doubt that the US is really doing a lot to assist China to rival it in military power. If they are then maybe that has to do with dealing with NK. What’s really interesting is the brazeness of the French dalliance with China. You’d almost think they were trying to send out a message to the rest of the world, the US in particular.

  • I’m all for trading with China, Cuba and North Korea. Keeping them isolated doesn’t do any good. If the trade is two way it brings the benefits of capitalism and advertises those benefits to consumers in captive countries.

    I would personally not knowingly buy slave-labour products. But I’m not sure that its the business of the state to tell me who I can and can not buy from.
    I don’t think the “trade sustains tyranny” argument holds water. Not trading sustains poverty, it means that the tyrannical regimes will just tighten the belts of already suffering citizens and blame the embargo a la Castro.

    Trade brings benefits, fax machines allowed Soviet bloc dissidents to communicate with the West, illegal satellite dishes let Arab citizens see the outside world, Coca Cola is the good taste of capitalism and Hollywood’s DVDs glamourise capitalism. A McDonald’s in Havana won’t sustain the regime, but it will teach consumers a lot about capitalism.

  • Bill

    From the CNN Piece.

    China held its first ever joint naval exercises last year with separate drills with Pakistan and India off Shanghai.

    Now that leaves me more gobsmacked than the French involvement (face it the French now mark their score by being arses, rather than swatting them)… China, India and Packistan have a long history of mutual border nastiness. I understand it is one of the reasons that India and Pakistan not only have nukes to counter each other, but to also counter their neighbor to the north.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Pakistan has long been China’s pawn as a counterweight and strategic threat to India. There’s not much animosity there between the two(PRC, Pakistan) actually.

    As an interesting aside, there are hints that the PRC actually has an alliance of sorts with Israel. Almost certainly, they share a lot of technology.

    A friend once told me that the next great faultline of the world runs in a straight line through the Asian landmass from Cairo to Pyongyang. I think he’s absolutely correct.

    The Wobbly Guy

  • M. Simon

    Interestingly enough America (with a mighty assist from the Brits) through alliances and troops on the ground is in the center of the fault line.

    Accident? No. We read Mahan and Mackinder.

    In fact if you look at American global interests you will see an envelopment strategy at work. WE start with the remains of the British Empire and build on it.

    Churchill’s dream of the anglosphere is comming to pass.

  • M. Simon

    The strategy is simple.

    First you control the sea lanes. Then the coastal areas.

    Then the “heartland” Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan.

    Obviously we are at the point of a huge shift in alliances. The Wars of the 20th Century may be over.

    My guess is that where we once backed China against Russia we will now back Russia against China while trying to roll back unfavorable Chinese alliances.

    Pakistan and India evidently have decided it is in their mutual interests to play both sides against the middle. (similar to India’s cold war strategy).

    It is my estimation that the French as usual have got their tit caught in a wringer.

  • M. Simon

    What is happening is the final break down of nationalism and the dominance of ideology.

    Which means in a way that there are a number of wars going on at once. From tribal, to national, to ideological.

    At this point even socialism is in retreat. But not yet defeated.

  • Ironchef

    Should one expect anything else from the French Navy? The same navy that scuttled itself in Toulon (1942) when Vichy France was about to be occupied. (They could have easily moved across the Med to just-liberated Oran, Algiers, or Casablanca)