No Place for Protectionism

Lockheed Martin head Robert Stevens told a European audience last week that companies on either side of the Atlantic cannot hide behind protectionist measures if they expect to remain viable on the global market. “Protectionism is not now, and has never been, a substitute for competitive strength,” he said June 3 in a speech before the 2008 Security and Defence Agenda Conference on the future of NATO in Brussels. Stevens cited several positive transatlantic trends, including a greater focus in Europe on open markets as well as the increasing number of transatlantic defense programs. “The decision by the USAF to purchase Airbus tankers reinforces the openness of US markets and is the most recent example of the growing willingness of the United States to look to global sources of supply for vital equipment,” he said. But some trends remain disconcerting, most notably the continued gap in US and European defense outlays, which threatens to create an “unbridgeable” capability gap if it continues, he said.