France Boom Business

Cashing in on the arms trade

When French President Francois Mitterrand attended the biennial Paris Air Show in 1981, many of the bombs, cannons and rockets had to be hidden, and advanced Mirage 2000 jet fighters streaked overhead stripped of their air-to-air missiles. Things were different when Mitterrand visited the current air show and viewed the lethal products of France's armaments industry, from a variety of missiles to armed Mirages. The episode was evidence of how Mitterrand and his ruling Socialists have gone from criticizing France's arms trade as unprincipled to promoting a business that is sorely needed to boost exports. Declared Mitterrand last week: "I don't...

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