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The Dutch - merchants of death

At least that is what a Dutch lobbying group seems to think of its compatriots, and has calculated that the Netherlands is the world's fifth largest arms exporter.

That struck me as highly unlikely, and the top five is patently absurd: "the Netherlands comes in fifth, just behind the United States, Russia, Germany and France, on this year's list of the largest weapons exporters". What, no UK? Even though our exports last year have been calculated at US$10 bn, compared to the rather feeble €1.03 bn our Dutch friends managed last year.

Lest anyone was head scratching trying to come up with the names of noted Dutch tanks, fifth generation fighter planes, mighty shipyards and the like, those sensible Dutch folk have been selling used equipment - F16s to Chile, corvettes to Indonesia and electronic to Venezuela. I would think that there could be the scope for an almighty face off between peaceniks and green types, as surely recycling is a good thing? Perhaps they could engage in the rather feeble 'sophistry' of leather jacket sporting vegetarians who claim that it is OK to buy second hand dead animals as no original market has been created....

I read somewhere that at one point the Dutch navy was captured by the Prussian cavalry - well, it was iced in - but cannot track down the reference.

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