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"Bad ideas flourish because they are in the interest of powerful groups" -- Paul Krugman

Arms Trade is one way to prevent basic rights    

The Arms Trade is a major cause of human rights abuses, with some governments spending more on the sale of arms than on social development, communications infrastructure and health combined. As this transcript shows, the American tax payer pays about $7 Billion per year to subsidise arms sales which the arms contractors maintain as essential to foster good relations and also create more jobs at home (yet when it comes to funding new weapons development, the rationale for this is because so many countries have sophisticated weapons! Also, when a sale is made there are often other economic incentives, such as moving the manufacture of these and other weapons abroad, therefore not really creating jobs in the US.).

On military in general, the USA spends more than the rest of the G7 countries combined -- approximately $270 Billion, annually. In 1997 alone, half of USA's aid was related to military aid/trade -- and most of that was to countries that are already wealthy, like Israel, whereas very poor countries like Sub-Saharan African nations received very little...

The arms trade is the largest business in the world at 800 Billion dollars, annually.

The West sells a lot of these arms to military dictatorships, to many human rights violators or corrupt governments, often secretly and with training. These sales and training provisions therefore become tools to control and prevent any form of democracy as Noam Chomsky points out.

Some of the worst countries that sell these arms are USA and Britain, which do the largest and second largest amount of arms trade in the world, respectively -- in the name of democracy, of course!

More Information

Check out the following for trade-related issues:

  • The Arms Trade Section from the GlobalIssues.org web site.
  • The Cut Conflict Campaign from Oxfam.
  • OneWorld's Guide to the Arms Trade.
  • Amnesty International's news briefs on the Repression Trade.
  • Centre for Defence Information, an independent military monitor based in Washington D.C. run by retired military generals, admirals, colonels etc who present a very open and objective critique of the military policies of USA and the world. They have a TV series called American Defence Monitor which presents information on the military's effect on the political system, the economy, the environment, and society as a whole. They also look into foreign policy, international affairs, armed intervention, and nuclear and conventional weapons. They have some extremely useful web material:
    • The transcript of Marketing Tomorrow's Weapons gives an excellent overview of the propaganda involved by the military to make Americans believe they need even more Security...
    • A list of transcripts on the Arms Trade is available from this link.
    • Many other transcripts on a variety of military issues is also viewable online.
    • They also maintain a weekly archive of their newsletters that are very informative.
  • Deterring Democracy. An excellent online book by Noam Chomsky.
  • The Peace Pledge Union is a great web site with hundreds of statistics on wars and conflicts as well as covering many issues related to wars and arms trade...
  • The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has a huge database of information.
  • MotherJones.com has a great section on US Arms Sales and even has a map of all the hot spots and conflict areas where the US have contributed and sold arms, even to both sides...

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