Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sell Those Guns

A graph detailing the largest arms dealers and buyers in the world; guess who's number one?

JUST five countries supplied 80% of global arms exports between 2003 and 2007, according to a recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think-tank. SIPRI counts the deliveries of large conventional weapons, each of which are assigned a value according to cost, strategic importance and other criteria. America supplied a third of global exports by this count, with South Korea and Israel the main buyers. China is Russia's best customer, taking 45% of its total exports. China is also the largest recipient of imports, accounting for 12% of the global total. Other big importers include India and the United Arab Emirates.
The US has been in the business of weapons manufacturing on a grand scale ever since we nationalized and converted our factories to do so during World War II; around the world, and especially in many of the most dangerous and impoverished nations of Africa, we're known as a nation chiefly for our culture of consumption and violence which we happily export for a sizeable profit. In fact, our treaties with Israel specifically state that they are required to spend a large portion of the money we give them in economic aid on weapons made by US firms. I honestly don't know if this will change at all under the next administration but I hope that it does.


Anonymous said...

What does the UAE need with all that? I was going to respond with some blowhardy statement about guns being what made our great country, blah blah blah... but the longer I read, and the more I thought about it, the more it kind of bothered me that this is such a big industry for us. Guns mean bad things, boys and girls.

Intrepid Californio said...

From what I understand, the same is true with the money that is given to Colombia. They buy arms from us from money that we give them under the pretenseful stipulations of "Plan Colombia" . That came to be under the Clinton administration, albeit a republican congress.

JBW said...

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that our foreign aid dollars are tied to manditory purchases of American-made weapons; it's a huge business and I'm sure they're paying a lot of lobbyists a lot of money to make sure it happens. The prominence of the UAE on that list surprised me too but they live in a dangerous part of the world and they have plenty of cash, so they probably just figured, "Why not?"