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If Europe is to have a foreign policy, it should begin with a refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the death penalty, and should institute as a matter of policy that the EU will not tolerate the execution of any of its citizens by any state without consequences.

I have hard time imagining what kind of consequences the eternally interdependent EU might actually be able to conjure in such circumstances.  But even more significant is the fact that European imperial dominance of Asia in the colonial era was largely built upon British drug running from the opium fields of South Asia into China, where the drug trade had been legally suppressed for centuries until the East India Trade Company broke the back of the Chinese empire with military force to protect and expand its profitable opium trade.  Although Europeans might have long since forgotten this history, such humiliation remains a vivid part of Chinese education.  There was no way that a Briton would not be executed for this in an internationally resurgent China, given the chance to do so.

by santiago on Tue Dec 29th, 2009 at 01:14:13 PM EST

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