As if further proof were required, the Finnish government’s decision on December 10 to acquire the F-35 signals that the stealthy fighter has become, in effect, the Free World’s fighter. At least 16 countries are destined to operate it, and they all share one thing in common: they are democracies. This cannot be said of last-generation fighters, and it points to the gradual convergence of U.S. values with U.S. arms sales in recent years. It seems that nowadays, you can’t buy America’s best weapons unless you are a democratic country that exhibits a proper respect for human dignity. Of course, none of this would be true if the F-35 weren’t a smashing success as a combat system. But the message from Washington seems to be, if you want the best America has to offer, then you need to show a proper respect for the values that underpin democracy. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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