Selling Weapons to the Bad Guys:  How Money Drives Policy

By Shlomo Maital



  Perhaps you have wondered why Russia supports the brutal murderous Bashar Assad, Syrian President?  Or why America treats the tyrannical King of Saudi Arabia with more than kid gloves?  Or why America looks the other way when Gulf States repress demonstrations for democracy? 

   Cherchez la femme, the French say.  But foreign policy experts say, cherchez l’argent…look for the money.

   A new report by the impartial Congressional Research Service (a part of the Library of Congress) reveals the following:  Global arms sales in 2011 reached a record high, $85.3 b., driven by major arms sales to Gulf countries worried about Iran.  And America sold fully 80 per cent of world arms, or $66.3 b., the highest annual arms sales ever.  But to whom? 

   A package of $33.4 b. to Saudi Arabia, including dozens of Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, 84 advanced F-15 fighters, upgrades for 70 existing F-15 fighters, and ammunition, missiles and logistics.

   A THAAD Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile shield to the United Arab Emirates for $3.49 b, as well as 16 Chinook helicopters for $939 m. 

    Tiny Oman bought F-16 fighters for $1.4 b.

    Taiwan bought $2 b. worth of Patriot anti-missile missiles.

    India bought $4.1 b. worth of C-17 transport planes.

Who was the world’s second biggest arms exporter?  Russia, a very very distant second, at $4.8 b, or less than 7 per cent of America’s arms sales.

 Ever since Shaw’s play Arms and the Man, about the folly of war and the hypocrisy of how we treat war,  people have complained about how nations and businesses have grown wealthy from war and weapons.  I recommend that Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s leader, buy stock in America’s defense companies (Lockheed, Boeing, etc.).  The more he threatens the world, the better is their business, the higher their profits.  You can’t lose.