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Monday, August 30, 2004

Making the world safe for militarism

How does the world's only superpower pay for the weapons of the future, and guarantee the need for them at the same time? By selling the weapons of the present to brutal and corrupt regimes around the planet, of course. From the NY Times:
The United States and Russia continued to dominate the global arms market last year, especially when measured in weapons deals to developing nations, although the total value of arms sales worldwide tumbled for the third consecutive year, according to a new Congressional study.

The United States maintained its lead in worldwide weapons sales in 2003, signing deals worth more than $14.5 billion, or 56.7 percent of all arms agreements, up from $13.6 billion in 2002, the study showed.

Russia ranked second, signing agreements worth $4.3 billion, or 16.8 percent of all global arms sales deals in 2003. That figure was down from nearly $6 billion in 2002.
If you still believed that the NY Times does honest, unbiased reporting, you might expect that the headline would focus attention on US domination of the world's arms market at the same time that it has by far the largest (and most aggressive) military in the world. But of course the Times does nothing of the sort. The headline lumps the US's 56.7% with Russia's 16.8% (less than 1/3 as much): U.S. and Russia Still Dominate Arms Market, but World Total Falls. And the body of the article focuses on North Korea's miniscule contribution to the world arms bazaar. In the arms business, North Korea is a mom-and-pop country store, while the US is Wal-Mart.