The authors emphasize potential contradictions between security policy and international arms sales, noting that “U.S. arms export policy was established to protect national security, but has become increasingly focused on commercial interests” such that “proposed export reforms will lead to further loss of control over conventional arms proliferation.” An outcome of international sales is that militaries can find themselves up against an enemy armed with weapons provided by their own governments if political and military alliances shift. This happened to Britain in the Falklands/Malvinas war and to the United States in the Persian Gulf War. In an attempt to reduce arms sales, US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney proposed a Code of Conduct that would restrict the sale of arms to countries that are “nondemocratic, aggressors, human rights abusers, or not open about their military spending.” This is a step in the right direction, but as Gabelnick and Rich suggest, it will need to be applied consistently to have much impact. The problem is that the definitions are open to interpretation.
war and peace, military and defense issues, United States — commerce — arms trade; globalization — economic aspects; North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 27, No. 4 (2000): 37-44