arms trade

arms trade

There are two major channels through which arms manufacturers sell weaponry to foreign countries.
  • Government-to-government agreements are negotiated by the governments of the selling and the purchasing country.
  • Direct commercial sales are agreements negotiated between the manufacturing company and the purchasing country or group. Usually these sales are subject to regulatory approval by the country of origin.

Throughout the 20th century, major political powers including the United States, Europe, Russia and China have provided military aid to developing countries as an instrument of foreign policy. During the cold war the superpowers flooded the middle east, africa and latin america with arms. Initially supplied to fight proxy wars between superpowers, the weapons found their way in to many other unrelated conflcits including the drug trade, resource wars and ethnic conflict. Their widespread availability of arms in many countries fosters cultures of violence, blurring the margins between war, banditry and crime.

Many countries have encouraged the development of their domestic arms industry well beyond the needs of their own armed forces and seek export markets.

In 2000, the legal trade in small arms was estimated to be worth at least US$ 4-6 billion. Illegal trade is even more difficult to determine and has been estimated at up to US $10 billion.

The arms trade is a major cause of human rights abuses. Some governments spend more on military expenditure than on social development, communications infrastructure and health combined.

Quote: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

-- Former U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a speech on April 16, 1953

smuggling, military industrial complex, arms industry, violence
off-shore banking, global war on terrorism, foreign aid,military aid global war on drugs, land mines


[+] end military aid to developing countries.

[+] create a global arms buy back program.

[+] shut down off-shore banking to inhibit smuggling.

[+] The US should enforce existing laws

sources and resources

Unicef - Taking aim at small arms.

Arms Trade Globalissues.org