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Loyalty under strain

Posted by Richard Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Europhile Guardian must be having real problems with its faith as it reports today on EU plans to lift its arms embargo on China. Torn between its concern for "human rights" and its love for the "project", it loyalties are now under serious strain – poor dears.

The proximate cause of its distress is a disclosure by "senior sources" in the Luxembourg government – which, as we all know is now leading the EU for the next six months – have indicated that the arms embargo could be lifted by the summer. A "senior Luxembourg ministerial source", cited by the Guardian, says: "We have a mandate to resolve this problem. "We have an obligation to find a solution by the end of the presidency."

This, says the Guardian, means that "European leaders" are heading for a confrontation with human rights groups. Amnesty International has warned that "meaningless" conditions will be imposed on Beijing because of Europe's determination to tap into China's booming economy.

This is almost certainly the case as the EU will issue a revised "code of conduct" on arms sales, a voluntary code which will be nothing more than a fig leaf.

As always, the agenda is being pushed by France, with the support of Germany, both of which are eyeing the lucrative arms trading opportunities in China. Beijing. The Guardian's Luxembourg source indicates that France and Germany, are winning the argument within the EU.

We are also told that Britain is said to have accepted the change – so much for NuLab's ethical foreign policy. But such is the air of unreality shrouding this whole business that "Luxembourg" is claiming to be "confident" that Washington will be won round by "tough restrictions" which will be imposed on the export of arms in place of the ban.

What is really going to be interesting though, is how the Guardian is going to square its love for the "project" with this squalid example of EU realpolitik.