Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Protectionism--oh noes

The bandits have been saying for neigh unto 40 years that the God of Free Trade claimed it was evil to "protect" your industrial base.  You could sell off your industrial legacy, close it down, ship it overseas because GOFT deemed it virtuous.  By these rules, only backward hicks thought that if you didn't defend your industrial base, there wasn't a whole lot to defend any more.

Except for one thing--weapons makers have somehow gotten a (partial--see destruction wrought by Neutron Jack Welch at GE) free pass from the theologies of the marketeers.  The argument is simple--a nation cannot risk losing its weapon's suppliers in times of hostilities.

So we see round xx of the Producer-Producer fight (scroll down below the illustrations) that is Boeing-Airbus (EADS).  As a long-time watcher of these events, I was frankly shocked that it was even possible for Airbus to win a contract for something as critical for long-range imperialism as an in-air refueling system.

Well, it turns out it was impossible.  The view from Berlin is quite instructive.  After giving us the boilerplate "outrage" on behalf of the GOFT, it turns out that there is considerable understanding in the German press about what went down.
The World from Berlin
'Europeans Shouldn't Be Pointing Their Fingers at Washington'
EADS and its American partner Northrop Grumman have abandoned their joint bid for a $35 billion contract to build tanker jets for the US military, citing unfair competition as their reason for withdrawing. German commentators on Wednesday sense more than a whiff of hypocrisy from European governments.
Politicians in Berlin and elsewhere in Europe are accusing Washington of protectionism over the collapse of a deal for the construction of 179 refueling tanker planes that pitted European aerospace giant EADS and its Airbus subsidiary against Boeing. Berlin is claiming the bidding process conducted by the US Department of Defense was so custom-tailored to Boeing that EADS' American partner company, Northrop Grumman, had virtually no chance of scoring the lucrative $35 billion contract. more

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