Our readers have not, we imagine, forgotten what it is the strong and single European Voice is supposed to do. (No, not to promote dubious French politicians to leading positions in transnational organizations. Well, not all the time, anyway.)
Yes, that’s right, it is supposed to oppose the Americans and … all together now … promote European values of … um … democracy … no, that’s the American line … freedom …. no, that’s not it …. human rights …. that’s the one.
In the interests of promoting human rights and European values, there have been all those attempts (so far, fortunately, unsuccessful) to lift the arms embargo on China. Then there was the repeal of the diplomatic embargo on Cuba and the refusal to have anything to do with that country’s dissidents.
The campaign to be nice to Fidel, one of the last of the old-fashioned Communist tyrants, was led by Spain’s socialist Prime Minister, Zapatero, elected in a panic after the bombing of the Madrid underground just over a year and a month ago.
Zapatero, as we have reported, gone on to other glorious deeds, selling conventional arms to the man many people in North and South America call Fidelito, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, who is busy expropriating land, imprisoning and torturing opponents, banning free speech and (this is the crunch) probably supporting organizations like FARC in Colombia and other terrorist groupings in other neighbouring countries.
In fact, Chávez has boasted of being another Bolívar and exporting a revolution. Actually, his exports are much more likely to resemble the ultimately unsuccessful but murderous Cuban ones, so beloved by the left-wing media and politicos of the comfortable West.
Now, thanks to the admirable blog VCRISIS and an article in the American Spectator, we find out that Spain has also sold less conventional weaponry to the born again Guevarrista.
They both quote Spain’s Europa Press news agency to report that Venezuela bought “"biological and nerve agents" as well as dual-use materials from Spain sometime during the first half of 2004” from Spain.
The author of the article in the American Spectator wonders what the purpose of what amounts to not a great deal of WMD might be and comes to the conclusion that Chávez must want it in order to terrorize his neighbours.
The same article mentions two more aspects of the whole saga (leaving questions of what precisely are European values to the likes of this blog).
Spain and Venezuela have both ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, Article I of which states:
“Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never under any circumstances:Well, I guess Conventions can be read different ways, though this seems fairly unambiguous to me. No doubt clear and dangerous contradiction of this text is not nearly as heinous as the suggestion that Britain (or any other country) should somehow negotiate its way out of the Euromess. That brings about hisses and splutterings of horror.
(a) To develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone;
(b) To use chemical weapons;
(c) To engage in any military preparations to use chemical weapons;
(d) To assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.”
The American Spectator reminds its readers of another interesting historical point: the Monroe Doctrine. Briefly, it can be summarized by saying that the Old World messes around in the New World at its peril. In fact, Spain has found that out quite painfully in the past herself.
We, on this blog, would like to raise another question. What happened to the common foreign and defence policy, so highly lauded by, among others, Prime Minister Zapatero? What happened to the push for an integrated defence procurement programme? Why is Spain out on her own, selling guns, boats, planes, chemical weapons, what have you, to tyrannical politicians?
And, finally, as we have said before: if Spain wants to sell arms then what about selling them to Europeans, perhaps even Spaniards? Sell one, buy one, should be the motto as Europe builds its barmy army to rival the Americans. (You there at the back, stop giggling.)