Wednesday, May 03, 2006

US should bar Spanish firm from American defense contracts

Should the US buy military hardware from foreign companies that assist our nation's foes?

Apparently, some in Congress and the Pentagon think so.

So what should we do with the following situation: A Spanish subsidiary of a French and German defense giant is selling military transport planes to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, against strenuous US objections. The company is lobbying Congress to sell up to $40 billion worth of the same type of planes to the US Coast Guard, Army and Air Force.

Worse, Spain's socialist government colluded with Chavez in a nasty anti-American propaganda campaign, heaping abuse on the US while paid agents in Washington lobbied Congress to appropriate money to buy the aircraft in question.

What to do? Send a message: Help other companies prioritize whose side they want to be on by banning the Spanish company from selling to the US government.

It's an easy message to send, and it doesn't cost taxpayers a penny.

I discuss the issue in a new paper titled "When our allies arm our adversaries: What to do when diplomacy fails."

(Photo: Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of the Socialist Workers Party and Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez)