Front page headline, New York Times, Sunday September 14, 2008: "With Push from White House, U.S. Arms Sales Rise Sharply." The U.S. A. has, for a long time, been the world leader in selling and supplying weapons of destruction for the masses (WDMs). The Times article explains that so far this year, U.S. sales and transfers of instruments of war (probably spun by the neocons as "instruments of peace") is at just above $32 billion, compared to $12 billion in all of 2005.
The pie chart below, from the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, tells the tale:
The U.S. is - by far - the largest arms dealer in the world, and has been for a long time. Of course, these sales and transfers, mostly to the Middle East, but also to Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe and Canada, are - of course - "...about building a more secure world."
The Bush years have shown several consistent themes to the rest of the world. One of them, the Mysterious "Bush Doctrine" that possibly-presumptive V.P. Palin wasn't aware of, has shown the world that the U.S. can and will pre-emptively use our military might against anyone we even suspect might threaten our security. We can get away with this because our military might is basically unchallenged in the world - in terms of the number and caliber of our weapons.
The McPaign-Palin junta embodies this militant style of government - we'll challenge anyone who even thinks about challenging us or our allies, like Russia vs. Georgia or Iran vs. Israel. And our foreign policy will be to shoot first and ask questions later, as exemplified in Iraq.
In 2006 the U.S. sold $16.9 billion ($16,900,000,000) worth of weapons. I don't know if all of this is made in the U.S.A., where it represents American jobs, but think about how we could transform this large sector of the economy into something more productive and sustainable for ourselves and the rest of the world. What if U.S. foreign policy focused on waging peace with words and deeds, backed by a strong but sub-dominant military, instead of waging war with weapons and threats?
I'm not comfortable knowing that my country is the largest weapon dealer in the world. I see this as a losing game, one that ignores the realities of the planet and the people on it. What do you think?