A Surge in U.S. Weapons Sales to the World
By Nick Schwellenbach
Pentagon-brokered sales of U.S. weapons have more than doubled in the last three years, according to Defense Department data. Experts at a recent event sponsored by the New America Foundation think tank expressed concern that these weapons could, in the long run, prove detrimental to U.S. interests.
Many of the top recipients of U.S. foreign military sales are nations that are undemocratic or have poor human rights records, according to a New American Foundation report.
“Arming repressive regimes is more likely to promote instability than it is to foster stability,” the report’s authors William Hartung and Frida Berrigan wrote.
A Pentagon official at the event argued that Sept. 11 changed the U.S.’s perspective and made clear the need to develop stronger relations with countries, partly through military sales.
The official, Charles Kosak of the Pentagon’s Office of Strategic Partnerships, said that the human rights records of countries should be a factor taken into account and that State Department and Congress oversee these sales.
Some of the panelists believed U.S. defense contractors may attempt to keep vulnerable production lines that are targets of domestic spending cuts open through foreign sales.