Atanu Dey On India's Development

The US Leads in Weapons Sale

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U.S. leads world in foreign weapons sales” reports Reuters. Sure that is as surprising as being told that Indian politicians are crooked. But the item helpfully reports figures.

The US accounted for 68.4% of global arms sales for 2008.

U.S. weapons sales jumped nearly 50 percent in 2008 despite the global economic recession to $37.8 billion from $25.4 billion the year before.

The jump defied worldwide trends as global arms sales fell 7.6 percent to $55.2 billion in 2008, the report said. Global weapons agreements were at their lowest level since 2005.

Italy, the second ranked country, amassed only $3.7 billion in arms sales, while Russia ranked third with sales falling to $3.5 billion in 2008, down from $10.8 billion in 2007.

I am surprised to learn that Italy sold more arms than Russia did in 2008. But I am not surprised that developing countries were major customers of the US for weapons.

The United States also led in arms sales to the developing world, signing 70.1 percent of these weapons agreements at a value of $29.6 billion in 2008, the report said.

Such deals with the developing world included a $6.5 billion air defense system for the United Arab Emirates, a $2.1 billion jet fighter for Morocco and a $2 billion attack helicopter for Taiwan.

India, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Korea and Brazil also reached weapons deals with the United States, the Times said.

The report revealed the United Arab Emirates was the top buyer of arms in the developing world with $9.7 billion in arms purchases in 2008.

Saudi Arabia ranked second with $8.7 billion in weapons agreements, and Morocco was third with $5.4 billion in deals.

The US giveth with one hand (paying for oil) and with the other hand it taketh away (by selling them arms.) What a sweet deal!

The US is the biggest dealer of true weapons of mass destruction. The world is capable of producing sufficient stuff for all it 6+ billion inhabitants but too much of the production is shifted to making weapons and depriving around 2+ billion of a decent human existence. Thousands of children around the world die every day from malnutrition.

The US has blood on its hand, for sure. But they are not the only ones. The leaders of the developing nations are no less guilty — they are complicit in making possible the terrible misery that afflicts humans.

Related posts:

The War and the Circus (April 2009)

In effect, to a large extent the poor of the desperately poor third-world countries fund each round of successive advanced weapons development. Of course, the poor of the DPTWC (shortened now since I have repeated “desperately poor third-world countries” enough times to get the idea across) often cheer when their leaders buy these weapons. Their jubilance at what grinds them into further poverty arises out of the same attitude that dragged them into poverty in the first place: an astounding stupidity that is matched only by the immorality of the venal bastards in power.

I should note here that the venal bastards in power are not men of any specific skin or eye color. The VBiP occur in all nations — whether in DPTWCs like India and Pakistan or in AICs like the US and Russia. All these VBiP have their incentives aligned and act accordingly. They are the politicians, the generals, captains of the military-industrial complex, and weapons dealers. They are found in Washington, DC, New Delhi, Moscow, Islamabad, Beijing, and other such fine places that the poor of the DPTWC do not inhabit. The names of the politicians are all over the newspapers and their faces on TVs and magazines: Bush, Clinton, Putin, Manmohan Singh, Sharif, Mugabe, . . . The generals, CEOs of the military-industrial complex, and weapons dealers are not usually household names but they are there from all parts of the world, rich or poor.

Iraq now, Iran next, Saudi Arabia later (Jun 2008)

I think that it makes immense sense for the US government to go around spreading weapons of mass destruction technology. Every country that has, or attempted to have, WMD ultimately has to thank the US for the capability. Why does the US do it? Because, first, the US makes money from selling the technology. The US is not the greatest arms exporter in the world for nothing. Selling weapons and weapons technology is its bread and butter. Second, it gives the US the opportunity to later go in and invade countries that it disagrees with under the pretext that WMD should be destroyed. Just one example out of many: the US gave WMD technology to Iraq and then invaded Iraq when it thought that the time was ripe. Another example (which Markey cites) is how the US transferred nuclear technology to Iran before the Shah was overthrown.

The Dollar Auction Continues (Dec 2006)

It should come as no surprise that the US is selling arms to Pakistan.

“2,769 Radio Frequency TOW 2A missiles, 415 RF bunker buster missiles, fly-to-buy missiles in both these categories, 121 TOW launchers for wire-guided and wireless missiles, E-2C HAWKEYE 2000 Airborne Early Warning Systems, simulators and support equipment. Their total worth could be up to $1.04 Billion.”

According Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, “The latest geo-strategic rationale for many US (arms) sales is the so-called war on terror…. US officials claim that the recent sale to Pakistan of F-16 jets with air-to-air missiles will help in the fight against Al Qaeda. In reality, they are for fighting India and they create a market for selling similar US fighters to India.”

True Weapons of Mass Destruction (Oct 2004)

Can you imagine how much human suffering can be avoided by merely spending a few billion dollars in say bringing pure drinking water, schools for all children, food for the malnourished kids, contraceptive services for women, and so on …?

These are the weapons of mass destruction — these weapons destroy whether they are actually used in conflict or not. Merely buying them condemns hundreds of millions to lives of such misery that one wonders whether it would not be better for the weapons to be used so as to put an end to the misery.

The Military-Industrial Complex (Oct 2004). The following is an excerpt from the “Military-Industrial Complex Speech,” by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961. It was his farewell speech.

Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology — global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle — with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

  • mayuresh

    Interesting to note that Taiwan and UAE are “developing” countries

  • http://lostparadise.co.in lostparadise

    But does a country like India has a choice left?
    While US is pampering Pakistan and bending before China what can India do?
    Also multi-billion dollar deals provide many incentives for our rulers.