French President Jacques Chirac is about to leave office, but not without an encore pot-stirrer in China. Yesterday in Beijing, his Defense Minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, said, "The EU arms embargo on China can no longer be justified and should be lifted." Translation from the French: It's time to start cashing in on weapons sales.
Ms. Alliot-Marie says Paris isn't interested in selling arms to Beijing and that EU and French regulations would in any case restrict sales. Lifting the embargo is a matter of "principle," she says. While on the subject of principle, she didn't mention the dissidents who are still in jail 18 years after Tiananmen Square or any of Beijing's other human-rights abuses. Nor did she note China's double-digit increases in military spending in recent years and the lack of transparency about how it is spending that money.
I couldn't put it better myself.