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March 1st, 2013 11:44 am
Obama Administration Jeopardizes U.S. Interests with Brazilian Defense Contract
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Americans might expect the U.S. government to demonstrate greater concern about who supplies resources and equipment to our men and women in uniform.  This week, however, the Obama Administration announced its decision to award a much-disputed, high-stakes Air Force light air support (LAS) contract to a Brazilian company over one based in Kansas.

The LAS contract could be worth over $950 million, so we’re irrationally sending nearly a billion American taxpayer dollars to Brazil despite the weak state of our manufacturing sector and economy more broadly.  But this is about more than the initial 20 aircraft, or the money associated with building them.  Americans should also be troubled that Embraer receives tremendous subsidies from the Brazilian government, which has been very vocal in its opposition to the War on Terror and American interests while siding with Iran and Venezuela time and again.  As one of the few nations that continues to work with the Iranian regime, Brazil and Embraer have already supplied aircraft similar to their LAS offering to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Perhaps even more alarming, a provision woven into Embraer’s bylaws would enable the Brazilian government to halt the manufacturing or maintenance of the warplane at any given time, with no threat of repercussions from the U.S.  This could mean anything from withholding parts to complete cessation of production.  For a country so outspoken in its opposition to America’s global foreign policy objectives and our stance against governments that commit such grotesque crimes against their own citizens as well as other nations, how can we trust that they won’t disrupt the delivery of these aircraft in pursuit of their own political motives?

The Obama Administration’s decision to outsource the production of American military equipment to Brazil is not only illogical, it creates an unconscionable threat to our national security.  Embraer and Brazil have publically stated that their immense focus on this contract is motivated by their desire to secure a U.S. Air Force endorsement of their product, which in turn allows them to more effectively market it to other nations.  If history tells us anything, Embraer and the Brazilian government that controls it will have no qualms about selling our enemies the same aircraft they will be providing to our Air Force.

It is morally and economically untenable that United States government would prefer a Brazilian supplier that is publicly opposed to the very cause for which we need the equipment.  Awarding this contract to a historically unfriendly foreign sovereign suggests that the Obama Administration is not only careless in its foreign policy judgment, it’s reckless in the equipment it selects to carry out the mission.

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