A cardinal rule of statecraft is that "a nation has no permanent allies, only common interests." It's not exactly the European Union's anthem about how "all men will become brothers," but it's probably smarter realpolitik.
As far as globalist weapons contractors are concerned, maybe we need a similar saying that they're allies to no one nation, only interested in common warcraft. When looking at the recent behavior of Airbus, which we've criticized before for its Russian dealings, it's hard to come to any other conclusion.
Headquartered in France and Netherlands, Airbus is a defense company with operations throughout the world. Their economic demands (i.e., greed) consistently prove to be at odds with the countries they're "serving."
In December, French prosecutors forced Airbus to pay more than $16 million to settle a case involving illegal sales of commercial aircraft, helicopters and satellites to Libya and Kazakhstan. France is not currently at war with either of those countries, but if it was they'd probably prefer they not be armed ahead of time.
Nice as it is to see Airbus held accountable for illegal arm sales, this isn't the first time Airbus has been caught and agreed to pay a big fine. A recently as 2020, Airbus was punished by multiple governments, including France, the U.K., and the United States. In that case, Airbus agreed to pay fines totaling $3.9 billion.
This agreement was reached after federal prosecutors in the U.S. alleged that Airbus had been running a long corruption campaign across the world for years, using bribes and falsely reporting information to gain valuable licenses to export U.S. military technology, according to an ABC News report in November.
The U.S. Justice Department added that this "multi-year and massive scheme to corruptly enhance its business interests" included bribes to China, according to former Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski. Additionally, Airbus falsely reported information about its conduct to the U.S. government for more than five years in order to gain valuable licenses to export advanced U.S. military technology.
That seems to move from just corruption to outright treason. If NATO wouldn't like to fight Libya and Kazakhstan with French technology, we certainly don't want to fight China with American tech.
Now, having been caught repeatedly, Airbus claims that it is taking (deep breath) "significant steps since 2016 to reform itself by implementing a benchmark compliance system underpinned by an unwavering commitment to integrity and continuous improvement."
But that rings hollow from a company that seems to factor multi-million-dollar settlements for corruption as part of the cost of doing business — just two years after agreeing to pay a multi-billion-dollar settlement for the same thing. And if Airbus has been on the long road to reform since 2016, why has it been fined twice since then?
Perhaps they'll just keep kicking the can of repentance down the road for as long as long as they can sustain doing so.
Even Airbus investors, the people putting money into the company, don't seem to trust it. "Airbus SE is facing a 300 million euro ($340 million) lawsuit from a group of investors over allegations it failed to properly disclose a sprawling corruption scandal and subsequent settlement," as Bloomberg reported last year.
When a company is being sued by the people who effectively own it, maybe we shouldn't trust them with attack helicopters.
Private-sector contractors are an integral part of a nation's defense. Without the German mercenaries working for General Washington many years ago, America might not have ever become America.
But if a nation has no permanent allies, only common interests, it definitely shouldn't ally itself with companies that support our enemies.
That kind of conflict of interest is not in our best interest, nor is it common sense.
Jared Whitley is a longtime politico who has worked in the U.S. Congress, White House and defense industry. He is an award-winning writer, having won best blogger in the state from the Utah Society of Professional Journalists (2018) and best columnist from Best of the West (2016). He earned his MBA from Hult International Business School in Dubai. Read Jared Whitley's reports — More Here.
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