The last thing the United States needs is for Woke Big Tech companies or foreign based companies to undermine an America First foreign policy. When you look at the history of companies meddling in foreign policy, they usually get it wrong and hurt our national security. We are seeing an example of that today with a France based European aerospace company undermining American foreign policy towards Russia.
There is a quote that is often written incorrectly, but is important, nevertheless. When he was nominated to serve as Defense Secretary after World War II, GM chief Charles Wilson told senators that “for years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.”
What he meant was that when the country does well, a big company can prosper. If the country is struggling, it will be difficult for a company to prosper. Amazon actually did great during the 2020 pandemic serving as the exception that proves the rule. Most companies do well when a country does well.
So, Wilson did not mean that by helping GM do well, the government would be helping the country. He meant that GM succeeded because the country was thriving.
Another example of a company getting too involved in foreign policy was when Google dropped the military’s artificial intelligence contract because employees objected to the ‘business of war,’ as reported by the Washington Post back in June of 2018. That was an example of a company trying to influence policy by refusing to work with the government. When Woke employees get too involved in trying to save the world, they usually do more harm than good.
This is important to note, since the concept seems to be getting lost in modern economics. With the mixing of companies and governments, the line between them is blurry. Consider Europe, and the aerospace giant Airbus. “The Company operates through three segments: Airbus, Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Defence and Space. The Airbus segment focuses on the development, manufacturing, marketing and sale of commercial jet aircraft and aircraft components, as well as on aircraft conversion and related services.”
The company literally exists because European governments put it together.
“In 1970, a group of European governments established a subsidized competitor to the U.S. industry called Airbus with the goal of claiming a sizable share of global sales,” the Lexington Institute wrote in a white paper. “Without government launch aid, none of the planes Airbus offers in the market today would ever have been built.” It is the textbook definition of socialism.
Now, Airbus wants to shape the policy of the governments that created and nurtured it. After Russia invaded Ukraine this year, the company’s CEO spoke out against economic sanctions. “We don’t think sanctions on imports will be appropriate,” Guillaume Faury told stockholders. “This will be a small impact on Russia, and would have large consequences on the rest of the countries and the industry.”
Faury and Airbus want to continue importing titanium, a rare metal that is used in making planes. Titanium is common in Russia, which provides about half the titanium Airbus needs. But European governments are, rightly, imposing sanctions on products and commodities from Russia.
For example, the EU is maintaining a prohibition on exports to Russia of dual-use goods and technology items that could contribute to Russia’s defense, a prohibition on trade in arms, and a prohibition on trade in ammunition, military vehicles and paramilitary equipment. Yet they have exempted the metal titanium from other metals that have been the subject of sanctions including aluminum.
Other plane makers have found ways to do without Russian titanium. Some even started shifting their supply chains as long ago as 2014, when Russia took over Crimea. The EU has been maintaining some sanctions (although not against titanium) ever since. Airbus is doing this all while trying to muscle in on Pentagon military contracts to produce the next generation of air refueling tanker for the Air Force.
Woke employees, woke corporations and foreign based companies with no loyalty to the American citizenry should not dictate foreign policy. When they try, there should be consequences.