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Arms sales: How the US is not winning friends

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laststeamtrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 11:27 AM
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Arms sales: How the US is not winning friends
Arms sales: How the US is not winning friends
By Zia Mian

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.

It is easy to put this in perspective: $10 billon a year is the estimated cost of meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal for water and sanitation, which would reduce by half the proportion of people in the world without proper access to drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. Today, about 1.1 billion people do not have access to a minimal amount of clean water and about 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation.

The scale of recent US arms sales should not be news. The US sold over $61 billion worth of weapons to Third World countries from 1999-2006, making it by far the leading international supplier. Russia, the second largest arms dealer, managed to sell less than half as much.

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http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IJ12Df01.html
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 11:38 AM
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1. Well, China's busy not making friends as well. As are the Russkies.
Our stuff is better, which is why we do such a brisk business. If they could deliver better bang for the buck, or the rouble, or the yuan, they'd be in the catbird seat.
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