Vladimir Lenin supposedly said that communists would win their war against capitalists because the capitalists would sell the communists the rope used to hang the capitalists. If the West ever ends up at war with China, European aerospace giant Airbus will have sold those communists the weapons they will deploy against us.
Let’s step back and note that nobody wants a war with China. But it is important to be prepared for war because being prepared makes it less likely one will break out.
In this case, if the United States is armed with the latest weapons and the Chinese don’t have the newest technology, the threat of war is less likely. The United States isn’t going to attack China, no matter how much of a military advantage we enjoy. However, if the Chinese achieve parity, or think they can, they might be tempted to attack Taiwan and trigger a wider war. So, ensuring the Chinese remain forever behind the military curve is crucial.
NATO agrees that China is a threat. It points out “systemic challenges” that the People’s Republic of China poses and notes that China’s “coercive policies” are a threat to Western “interests, security and values.”
One European military giant, Airbus, is selling technology to the Chinese that might make the world less stable and safe. Other companies are doing the same, yet the Airbus case study shows that a U.S. relationship between corporations doing business with the United States and China, many times, has unresolvable conflicts of interest.
The news organization Politico detailed a recent report from the consulting firm Horizon Advisory that finds: “Airbus has advanced technology-sharing and manufacturing agreements with entities linked to China’s state-run military apparatus.” Horizon Advisory adds: “Airbus-China engagement entails significant ties to China’s military and military-civil fusion apparatus, including in the form of supply dependencies, technology sharing, and research and development cooperation.”
Airbus is also making mega deals in China for non-military aircraft. “Four Chinese airlines have placed a mega-order for 292 single-aisle A320 family aircraft from Airbus,” Euronews reported this month. That deal is worth $37 billion. This matters because Chinese domestic manufacturers cannot produce quality aircraft of their own. “China has yet to certify the C919 jet from its national aircraft manufacturer Comac,” Euronews explained.
Of course, the Chinese are famous for reverse engineering Western technology. Ask any company that opened a high-tech manufacturing facility in China in recent decades, only to eventually lose its intellectual property to the communist government there. Millions of American jobs are gone because China has stolen so much IP. China will attempt to do the same thing with Airbus technology. Its communist government may end up redeploying Airbus domestic airliner technology for military uses.
It is clear that Airbus is focused on making as much money as it can, as quickly as it can. However, the company is obliged to the Western world to keep its high-technology products out of Chinese hands. Airbus owes its continued existence to massive subsidies from European democracies. Politico explains how Europe’s “Repayable Launch Investment” program works: “Under this scheme, the governments of Germany, France and Spain have granted Airbus loans for developing new aircraft models that the manufacturer only repays if the model becomes a commercial success.”
RLI is in clear violation of World Trade Organization rules (not that China plays by those rules either) and resulted in massive penalties against Europe and Airbus. However, set that aside and look at the bigger picture: through Airbus, European governments are subsidizing technology that the Chinese will steal and may use against the United States for military purposes.
Airbus also wants to do business in the United States. It frequently bids for defense contracts, and it sometimes wins them. American warriors should not depend on technology also available to the Chinese because our military needs to maintain a clear advantage if we want to reduce the threat of war.
American policymakers should deny the company any future U.S. military contracts, at least until Airbus shows it is on our side.