|Quoting Joni (Reply 43):
WRT the launch-aid loans, they're standard practice and in-line with the 1992 bilateral agreement, and repayable unlike Boeing's and Mitsubishi's multibillion cash gifts. Enough said.
I think you should probably specify which "cash gifts" these are, and why these "gifts" as they pertain to Boeing weren't also given, in effect, to Airbus.
Let's keep in mind the following: If Europe had funded its own defense inclusive of the extent that the United States funded it, European governments would have had fewer resources with which to fund its internal infrastructure and to provide any capital whatsoever for "prestige projects" such as Airbus. Britain, for example, did not have to expend money to conduct research and development into its nuclear deterrent (although France did). Germany was protected by U.S. nuclear forces even though Germany was officially a nonnuclear state (and remains so).
All Western European countries benefited from the "nuclear umbrella" that the United States deployed over NATO Europe and other parts of the Western World. All Western European countries benefited from the existence of American bases that helped deter conventional attack by the Soviet Union. These were all forms of aid for which the United States has never requested any kind of redress -- unlike specific loans for which European governments were specifically held liable. Is this aid quantifiable? I think that given some reasonable assumptions, it could be, and even if counting nuclear development alone, such valuation could range up to trillions of U.S. dollars distributed over the provision of defensive measures from the year 1945, peaking shortly before the close of the Cold War, to the the present.
Further, it may be seen, then, the development of military technologies for these purposes could have had a side benefit for U.S. industry, in that it helped American companies in one way or another. However, this kind of assistance -- even if, hypothetically, it had been exploited only by American companies and not European, which I think is questionable -- would not have been possible had Europe not required American protection in the first place. So, counting military research and development as a form of aid for American companies, in this sense, is double-dipping: Europe has benefited from American protection, and now some in Europe seem to want to turn around and use the side benefits accrued by American companies in the provision of Western European defense against the United States. Even assuming, hypothetically, that both the United States and Western Europe benefited equally from the protection provided by the United States during the Cold War that gave rise to military research and development, it is questionable whether the United States can be held to be at fault for merely being in possession of knowledge that facilitated this defense, when Europe neither offered nor was capable of contributing to that knowledge at the time.
As a consequence of the above, and in summary, I think that European critics of Boeing on the subsidy issue would have to prove, among other things, not just, (1) that Boeing could have benefited from government research and development, but, (2) that Boeing in fact benefited unfairly from this knowledge and, in addition, the information that was given to Boeing represented knowledge, (3) was not equally available to any other company, (4) would have otherwise been made available by European governments had the United States not been obligated under NATO to provide for Western Europe's defense, (5) could have been provided by European governments at the times relevant to the issues at hand, and logically, (6) the United States' possession of this knowledge itself amounted to an unfair trade advantage. I do not believe that all of this can be proved, and therefore I do not believe that, as relevant to the above factors, the subsidy case against Boeing is, in any way, a strong one. In fact, I tend to believe the opposite.
Of course, there might be other factors as well that I have not considered here that might convince me otherwise.
[Edited 2006-06-19 09:41:21]
What's fair is fair.