Sunday, September 6, 2009

War means big business -- U.S. tops list of weapons exporters

Just when it seemed Washington was ready to resume its expected role of helping to bring sanity to world affairs comes word of a congressional study finding the United States was involved in more than two-thirds of worldwide arms sales last year. The study, released Friday by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, found U.S. arms sales increased 50 percent in 2008 to $37.8 billion despite the worldwide recession, according to the New York Times. The report shows the United States is by far the world's largest arms trader, with Italy a distant second at $3.7 billion and Russia third at $3.5 billion. The report said U.S. arms sales increased nearly 50 percent from 2007. The increase was attributed by the report "not only to major new orders from clients in the Near East and in Asia, but also to the continuation of significant equipment and support services contracts with a broad-based number of U.S. clients globally. The study, “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations," was written by Richard F. Grimmett, a specialist in international security at the CRS, a division of the Library of Congress. Top buyers of U.S. arms and equipment in the developing world were United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, the report said, while main buyers of Russian armaments were China, India and Venezuela. Arms sales to major oil exporting countries helps keep the trillions of dollars they earn in circulation and keeps the world economy in some sort of balance, but is an enormous temptation to become aggressive and start wars.

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