I am cheap. Very cheap. That means that I’m a bargain hunter. I like used books and cheap clothes. I prefer to buy American but, if my pocketbook tells me that America isn’t a good deal, I’ll usually follow my pocketbook. Usually, but not always. If buying something from another country would put me in danger, I don’t do it. That’s why I don’t buy canned goods or, indeed, anything that goes in my mouth, from China. The t-shirts may be shoddy, fading and ripping quickly, but they won’t poison me. The food just might. (I’d like to avoid Chinese honey, too, which is chock full of antibiotics, fungicides, and industrial pollutants, but the fact is that most of the major manufacturers that use honey as an ingredient buy cheap Chinese honey.)
Not only will I avoid products that will harm me, I’m also unlikely to pay someone for service if I know that the person’s agenda is hostile to mine. You don’t have the local thief install your burglar alarm. I don’t even need active hostility to back off. I also won’t buy service from someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in doing a good job for me.
None of the above is rocket science. It’s good old-fashioned common sense — which, of course, is the one thing government lacks. This current administration, especially, seems to go out of its way to abandon common sense.
I mention all this now because of a news story that the MSM is ignoring, but that should matter to everyone concerned both with American national security and with the American economy. Here’s the deal:
There may be additional heartening employment news in the same sector [Boeing got an air tanker deal], following a request by the U.S. Air Force to identify suppliers for a new kind of airplane that can perform the light attack and armed reconnaissance (LAAR) missions that are being requested by our military leaders.
The new aircraft’s purpose is to allow our U.S. pilots to more effectively execute the tactics, maneuvers and procedures that are needed for the type of counter insurgency warfare that we are currently seeing in Afghanistan and other conflict zones around the globe. In turn, these American pilots will train their partners and developing nation counterparts to fly these same planes and defend themselves, with a goal of reducing the need for U.S. military presence in the region.
Two companies are vying for the Air Force contract — Hawker Beechcraft, a Kansas-based company, and Embraer, a Brazilian owned and operated company.
The Red State article to which I linked explains that Hawker Beechcraft has a good history and a good product. I’m sure that’s true. I’ll even stipulate that Embraer also has a good history and a good product. My question, though, is why in the world our government, which has never before been constrained by bargain shopping and common sense, is willingly giving another country the blueprints for and access to one of our military products?
Here’s a perfect anecdote to illustrate my concerns: Think back to 1976 and the Entebbe rescue mission. The Israeli military’s raid on Entebbe to rescue hostages is one of the great stories of derring-do, intelligent planning, heroism, and creative thinking. But it was also made possible by one significant fact: More than a decade before the hostage-taking, an Israeli company had built the airport. This meant that Israel had the plans. As it happened, back in 1976, the fact that a non-Ugandan company had this type of information was the best thing that could have happened, helping the good guys win, and soundly defeating and humiliating the bad guys.
In this case, though, we’re the good guys. I’d classify the Brazilians as the neutral guys for now, although their decision to follow in our footsteps and elect an anti-capitalist president is worrying. While I believe and hope that Americans can and will shake off the Obama’s pernicious socialism, it’s not so clear that Brazil will. If Venezuela is any guide, once socialism is firmly ensconced in a Latin American government, that government is no friend of ours. Even without that specific scenario, though, the fact is taht one never knows what will happen in another country. Right now, we’re witnessing events in the Middle East that caught the West entirely flatfooted. Today’s friend is tomorrow’s enemy.
The whole friend/enemy thing is tolerable if you’re talking about buying t-shirts and canned foods or tables and cars from your frenemy, but it comes much more fraught when you’re talking about national security. The optimal situation is one in which no country, Brazil included, knows too much about a “new kind of airplane that can perform the light attack and armed reconnaissance missions that” are part of modern American military tactics. Ten years from now, when the world has shifted, we may find ourselves bitterly regretting placing that information in another’s hands.
In addition to the security angle, there’ s also a matter of steering tax dollars, especially during a big recession. It’s one thing for the marketplace to make decisions about where the money flows. If I want to send my money to China, well, that’s my choice. If enough people do that, than China gets rich or American companies figure out how to compete. The government, though, is not the marketplace. We’re not talking millions of customers making market-responsive decisions. Instead, we’re talking about a huge, unwieldy, unresponsive bureaucracy taking millions and millions of dollars that taxpayers are forced to hand over to the government, and then sending it far, far away from the taxpayers. This makes sense if the American market cannot supply the product — but we know that, in this case, the American market, made up of American taxpayers, is perfectly capable of providing the product. There is therefore, no economic reason to ship our security over seas.
My congress people are Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Lynn Woolsey. In other words, contacting them is about as useful as using tweezers to move mountains. If you’re in a district that boasts slightly responsive congress people, though, let them know your concerns about this deal. Sending military airplane manufacturing out of the country is bad for national security and bad for the economy.