Friday, March 09, 2012

E.U. countries have always been exporting weapons to dictatorships and authoritarian regimes, and, no, there is no end in sight

When the Arab Spring swept across much of North Africa and the Middle East last year, it exposed European policies toward the region
writes Judy Dempsey, speaking a bout those same pace-loving Europeans who — yes — were opposed to Bush's war and were giving lessons in talks and negotiations to those warmongering Yanks along with lectures in not supporting dictators like Saddam Hussein, autocrats who were invariably "created" by Uncle Sam in the first place.

Many E.U. countries had been exporting weapons to dictatorships and authoritarian regimes, often with scant regard to whether the arms were used for quashing dissent and propping up the status quo.

Shamed by their support for these regimes, the Arab Spring has given Europe a chance to start fresh — not only with that region but also with how it does business with dictatorships in Central Asia.

But two new reports, one by the European Union and the other by Sipri, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, show that European companies and governments are seeking markets for their weapons outside Europe more eagerly than ever.

Not all these markets are in stable, conflict-free, democratic countries. This raises the question of how Europe can square its commitment to defending human rights with selling weapons to such countries.

The answer is, Europe can't square doing so. Or haven't you understood yet that it's all talk and self-serving auto-congratulation?

“European governments have sold weapons to bad guys for a long time,” Bates Gill, director of Sipri, said in an interview. “There are plenty of examples for that in spite of the high-sounding principled language about monitoring arms sales.”

… probably the most interesting implication of the report is that Europe’s arms trade to many countries is at odds with the Union’s commitment to human rights. Member states continue to sell large quantities of weapons to dictatorships and authoritarian regimes, according to new statistics published by the Union.