Why the US Sells Weapons to 103 Countries

Why the US Sells Weapons to 103 Countries

Intro (00:00:00)

  • The US sells weapons to 103 countries.
  • The arms trade is a complex issue with a long history.
  • The US government approves weapons sales after ensuring they will not alter the balance of power in the region.
  • To promote peace and security.
  • Strategic reasons: stability, allies' defense.
  • US foreign policy: ability to go anywhere, fight any battle, beat any adversary.
  • Countries build up weapons to deter attacks.
  • Balance of power calculations: enough weapons to deter enemies, not too much to provoke escalation.
  • US arms sales are justified as not altering the regional balance of power.
  • The US has a massive global presence in arms sales.
  • Arms sales are a form of US influence on other countries' actions.

Search Party to the rescue (00:04:29)

  • The US sells weapons to over 100 countries to secure loyalty, stability, and alliances, as well as to outsource its role as the world policeman.
  • In exchange for weapons, the US gains various benefits, including friendship, alliances, help against enemies, and access to vital resources.
  • The US sells weapons to its allies in Europe to strengthen their defenses and to countries like Ukraine to counter its enemies.
  • In the Middle East, the US sells weapons to countries like Israel to counter its enemy Iran.
  • The US also sells weapons to countries that control vital resources, such as oil in the case of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
  • American weapons come with expectations that recipient countries will help the US project influence and power globally.

Does the arms trade work? (00:10:53)

  • The US sells weapons to 103 countries as a means of gaining influence and stability, but this approach has limitations.
  • Despite receiving US weapons, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel have not changed their behavior, and the US has limited leverage over them due to strategic considerations.
  • US-supplied weapons have been used in human rights abuses, such as Saudi Arabia's actions in Yemen and the Philippines' War on Drugs.
  • Weapons sold to allies can be transferred to proxies, leading to conflicts where US-made weapons are used on both sides, as seen in Turkey and Afghanistan.

The profit motive (00:16:44)

  • The US arms trade with over 103 countries is driven by economic interests, political leverage, and the influence of private corporations on lawmakers.
  • The arms industry creates jobs, generates substantial profits, and perpetuates the production of weapons for both national security and financial gain.
  • The unchecked growth of the arms industry in the early 1900s contributed to devastating conflicts, leading to efforts to regulate and criticize the industry.
  • Despite these efforts, conflicts of interest and financial incentives continue to hinder the ability to scrutinize and criticize the arms trade, perpetuating its negative consequences.
  • The video, created with the contributions of Search Party, a new journalistic brand, provides a historical perspective on the reasons why the United States sells weapons to 103 countries.

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