It is time for the U.S. government to embrace an America First foreign policy that rewards friends and punishes enemies. Right now, a European aerospace company doing business in Russia, ignoring the worldwide effort to cut off business ties to Russia, is seeking a contract with the Pentagon. The France based company is seeking U.S. taxpayer cash to fill a contract for Air Force refueling tankers. Why one U.S. taxpayer dollar would go to this foreign company is beyond me, yet the foreign company seem intent on both ignoring U.S. sanctions regimes while securing contracts with the U.S. military.
The company is Airbus and they need to either abandon sanctions or get sanctioned by the U.S. taxpayer with no more American cash. The company is working towards a contract with the Pentagon to replace an American company producing tankers. American cash fuels these investments in defense infrastructure – maybe it is time to say hell no to any company who is providing economic benefits to the Russians.
It is not too late. Microsoft recently suspended new sales in Russia. McDonald’s bailed out and the Russians have taken the former stores and rebranded them as Vkusno & Tochka. Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Heineken all joined McDonald’s in pulling out. Why not Airbus?
There still are a remarkably large number of U.S. companies still in Russia. The Yale School of Management pulled together a list of 247 companies doing business in Russia with no reduction in investment and engagement. The next tier of sanctions offenders are 161, including Airbus, who are holding off new investments and development while continuing substantive business. A large number of these companies are based in China, but there are also a large number of European companies that are ignoring sanctions.
Looks like they think they can get away with it and pay no price from the West. Even without the ignoring of sanctions, it makes sense when implementing the idea of America first to stop contracting with so many foreign companies for American defense needs. Insourcing so American jobs can be created when American taxpayer cash is used to produce American military equipment makes sense. It makes it even easier to sideling a European company when they tell the U.S. to go pound sand when we ask them to stop doing business in Russia.
As Russia presses its attacks on Ukraine, the U.S. and our allies are cracking down with strict sanctions on virtually every Russian export. Airbus proudly opposes sanctions, because it relies on Russian titanium to build planes. “We don’t think sanctions on import will be appropriate,” Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said recently. “This will be a small impact on Russia, and would have large consequences on the rest of the countries and the industry. So we think the no-sanction policy actually is the most meaningful one.” This quote is unbelievable and a way for the French based company to make the case that they don’t give a rip what the West is doing because they think they can get away with it.
An America First policy would ban Airbus from ever contracting with the federal government in the future because they think they are above sanctions. Even without them ignoring sanctions, the United States should be favoring American companies when there is a superior American alternative. The United States is perfectly capable of producing refueling tankers for the Air Force – we don’t need to rely on the French.
Sanctions for everyone else, apparently, but not for a major weapon supplier whose products may soon be pressed into service against the Russians.
That is the opposite of America First.
Edward Woodson is a lawyer and host of “The Edward Woodson Show,” which airs weekdays on WZAB Miami, streaming online at EdwardWoodson.com.