ANALYSIS: Selling death and destruction

Arms sales: How the U.S. is not winning friends

The United States sells death and destruction as a fundamental instrument of its foreign policy. It sees arms sales as a way of making and keeping strategic friends and tying countries more directly to US military planning and operations.

At its simplest, as Lt Gen Jeffrey B Kohler, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told the New York Times in 2006, the United States likes arms deals because “it gives us access and influence and builds friendships”. South Asia has been an important arena for this effort, and it teaches some lessons the United States should not ignore.

A recent Congressional Research Service report on international arms sales records that last year the United States delivered nearly $8 billion worth of weapons to Third World countries. This was about 40% of all such arms transfers. The US also signed agreements to sell over $10 billion worth of weapons, one-third of all arms deals with Third World countries. [complete article]

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