Final Word from Thursday, January 24, 2019

War has always been partly a commercial issue, but Donald Trump brought a transactional element to it that most previous world leaders in recent history had tried to de-emphasize. Andrej Babiš and Emmanuel Macron were among the first to react publicly to this and to balk at raising defense spending just so that Trump could sell their countries more weapons. The new Franco-German treaty signed this week seems to be in part a response to Trump's transactionalism in terms of Art. 4, which calls for increasing the competitiveness and consolidation of the European defense industry. Under the treaty, France and Germany are to develop a common approach to arms exports with regard to joint projects and to form a defense and security council for overseeing this. No one is sure what this means, but wouldn't it make sense for Babiš to postpone expensive defense acquisitions until it's clear whether this treaty can be used to help Czech taxpayers save some money? [ Czech Republic United States Nato ]

Glossary of difficult words

to pit someone against someone - to set someone in conflict or competition with someone else;

to balk - to hesitate or be unwilling to accept an idea or undertaking;


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