A report has just emerged, announcing with a sort of drab and bitter capitalistic glee that America is once again the number one weapons dealer in the world. The United States signed weapons agreements valued at $37.8 billion in 2008, or 68.4 percent of all business in the global arms bazaar, up significantly from American sales of $25.4 billion the year before.
Italy was a distant second, with $3.7 billion in worldwide weapons sales in 2008, while Russia was third with $3.5 billion in arms sales last year ~ down considerably from the $10.8 billion in weapons deals signed by Moscow in 2007.
The growth in weapons sales by the United States last year was particularly noticeable against worldwide trends. The value of global arms sales in 2008 was $55.2 billion, a drop of 7.6 percent from 2007 and the lowest total for international weapons agreements since 2005.
It's true: the United States sells more guns, more major weaponry, tanks and rocket launchers, fighters and Gatling guns and all sorts of brutal devices specifically designed to destroy human life, induce fear and dread and all manner of sadistic horror, than any other developed nation on the planet. By a long shot.
But that's not all. Despite the bleak economy, despite what you might expect to be a major downturn in such transactions, sales of American-made guns and weapons of mass annihilation worldwide are actually way up.
So, despite a recession that knocked down global arms sales last year, the United States expanded its role as the world’s leading weapons supplier, increasing its share to more than two-thirds of all foreign armaments deals, according to a new Congressional study.
So far ahead in weapons sales to the world is the US, it's not even a contest! It owns the game. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, while overall weapons sales were indeed down due to global economic blight, sales of U.S. weaponry rose more than 50 percent in a single year, totaling about $37 billion, up from $25 billion the year before.
The United States signed weapons agreements valued at $37.8 billion in 2008, or 68.4 percent of all business in the global arms bazaar, up significantly from American sales of $25.4 billion the year before.
As far as weapons are concerned it seems to be a boom time for war, death and conflict. Isn't that fun to swallow with your hopes and dreams for a peaceful and calmly evolving future?
The country is so far ahead in weapons sales to the world, it's not even a contest. The US owns the game. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, while overall weapons sales were indeed down due to global economic blight, sales of U.S. weaponry rose more than 50 percent in a single year, totaling about $37 billion, up from $25 billion the year before.
The overall decline in weapons sales worldwide in 2008 can be explained by the reluctance of many nations to place new arms orders “in the face of the severe international recession,” wrote Richard F. Grimmett, a specialist in international security at the Congressional Research Service and author of the study.
Mr. Grimmett’s report stated that the growth of weapons sales by the United States was “extraordinary” in a time of global recession and resulted from new arms deals as well as the sustained cost of maintenance, upgrades, ammunition and spare parts to nations that bought American weapons in the past.
In the highly competitive global arms market, nations vie for both profit and political influence through weapons sales, in particular to developing nations, which remain “the primary focus of foreign arms sales activity by weapons suppliers,” according to the study.
Weapons sales to developing nations reached $42.2 billion in 2008, only a nominal increase from the $41.1 billion in 2007.
The United States was the leader not only in arms sales worldwide, but also in sales to nations in the developing world, signing $29.6 billion in weapons agreements with these nations, or 70.1 percent of all such deals.
The study found that the larger arms deals concluded by the United States with developing nations last year included a $6.5 billion air defense system for the United Arab Emirates, a $2.1 billion jet fighter deal with Morocco and a $2 billion attack helicopter agreement with Taiwan. Other large weapons agreements were reached between the United States and India, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Korea and Brazil.
Russia was far behind in 2008 with $3.3 billion in weapons sales to the developing world, about 7.8 percent of all such agreements. The report says that while Russia continues to have China and India as its main weapons clients, Russia’s new focus is on arms sales to Latin American nations, in particular to Venezuela.
France was third with $2.5 billion in arms sales to developing nations, or about 5.9 percent of weapons deals with these countries.
Translation: the U.S. now owns a whopping 68 percent of the arms games worldwide. We're just like Wal-Mart, if Wal-Mart sold Browning M2s and Stingers and flame throwers. Isn't that reassuring?
Sure, you can water it down a bit, maybe propose to your exhausted soul that we only sell said weapons to our friendly, peace-seeking allies so they may protect themselves from various evildoers and swarthy terrorists whom we also detest and wish death and hate upon, or you could tell yourself that most of said weaponry is really for defense and for shielding babies and puppies and virgins from the darker nature of man.
You can even go so far as to suggest that our arms deals are not promoting war, per se, but actually promoting peace, in that inverse, bad-is-good, multiple-wrongs-make-a-right sort of way. It's the classic, ridiculous NRA argument: if everyone owns a few thousand warheads, no one will shoot anyone simply because they don't want to get shot themselves.
It's pathetic nonsense, but hey, whatever gets you through, right?
Sad fact is, capitalism trumps all rational arguments, all notions that we are out only to promote good in the world, and we will sell weapons to just about anyone anywhere short of Al Qaeda itself.
EXCUSE ME BUT AMERICA CREATED AND ARMED
AL QAEDA TO FIGHT THE RUSSIANS!
AND LEST WE FORGET,
THE TALIBAN WAS ALSO ARMED BY AMERICA
WHEN IT WAS CONVENIENT!
Guerrillas? Dictators? Drug lords? If they somehow serve our global agenda, hell yes. We sell billions in arms to our pals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, for example, regimes second only in oppression and totalitarianism to the Taliban.
We buy their oil, we turn around and sell them fighter jets and grenades and sniper rifles. It's a win-win, where everybody loses. Of course, it's all nothing new. America has always been the world's foremost arms dealer.
speaks eloquently of the pain felt by the
2 million+ child soldiers in Africa robbed of childhood.
Who can forget one of the classic hypocrisies of all time, Bush's pathetic wail that we must stop the development of weapons of mass destruction in countries we do not like, when of course the United States owns more WMD than any developed nation on the planet?
We argue it's all about intent, all about protecting our vital interests. Which may be partly true. The other truth is, it's also all about profit, ethics and morals be damned.
We love to rub infantile ideological balm all over ourselves and think that's really what America is all about, that selling death to oppressive regimes is merely a necessary evil and, gosh golly, if we could, we'd put a stop to all such sales tomorrow in favor of ensuring a peaceful and Utopian future? Sure we do. In many ways, such a mass delusion is the only way we can really get out of bed in the morning
Phnom Penh, Cambodia ~ April 1987.
During the 1975-8 the Khmer Rouge shot
between one to two million of their own people.
Zionist Henry Kissinger planned this particular massacre.
I'm not exactly certain how you counterbalance such bleak data. I'm not sure where to look for an equally powerful story to battle the dour fact that we are, at heart, a rather ruthless capitalist military juggernaut that will gladly sell a sharpening stone to an axe murderer if it serves our purposes and make Lockheed Martin a tidy profit.
Where do you look for proof that $37 billion in weapons sales does not, in fact, exert a simply massive downward thrust on the desire to imagine humanity is moving in an ultimately positive, hopeful, nonviolent direction?
The green movement? Solar power? Hybrid cars? As if. Oh, and of course I left our dear friend, the peace loving, sweetheart of the Middle East, Israel out of this equation. But that is because we just GIVE that nation more than she needs because her goals of world peace equal our own.
God dammit, there seems to be no way to offset the fact that war and violence are a major engine of capitalism, until humanity goes through a major shift in consciousness (not too likely) or has that third world war we all so eagerly anticipate, and then we can go back to marketing sticks and rocks again. And people wonder why so many of us are pacifists!