U.S. arms export policy was established to protect national security, but has become increasingly focused on commercial interests.
Not since anticommunism was used to excuse the arming and training of repressive governments during the cold war has there been such a broad, fail-safe rationale to provide military aid and arms to disreputable foreign militaries.
Before the American public starts applauding the administration’s newfound commitment to international development, it should look closely at where the aid is going and for what purposes.
Just like during the cold war, the millions of dollars slated for our new allies in the war on terrorism have more to do with promoting American geostrategic interests than with protecting U.S. territory from external threats.
Small arms and light weapons, often ignored in traditional arms control agreements, contribute to the vast majority of death and destruction in conflicts worldwide.
Late last month, President Clinton announced the Defense Trade Security Initiative, the most significant loosening of arms-export controls since the end of the Cold War.