Politics & Weapon Sales: Nothing is Contemptuous

M16 Rifles (Source: Google Images)
"In Politics nothing is contemptible" - Benjamin Disraeli

Governments produce weaponry to prepare their stock in case of having to defend their homeland from a threat. In times of peace (or relative peace), and due to continued production, they decide they might as well trade their assets (in excess) and thus help financing the state's expenditures. When it suits state-nations to be transparent they will use the legal weapons market. But when they need to support allies or undermine opponents with plausible deniability, they will use either the illicit market or the black market.
Let's take a quick look at the behaviour of four weapon traders: Russia, China, Germany and the US.

The Soviet Union policy for Africa damaged the countries it touched (it distributed weapons throughout the continent in order to sweep its natural resources); and now the Russian Federation, fearing to be marginalised in Africa, is eyeing the continent again with the intent of running "guns and resources to and from Africa. Such Russian efforts serve to destabilize pro-Western states there, make money, gain influence and access to resources, and so on." (Steven Blank, Jamestown)
In summa: Russia wants to repeat history.

China, one of the least transparent countries when it comes to weapons sales (since it refuses to report such transactions to the UN), has a policy of selling cheap assault weapons and ammunition to Africa in exchange for natural resources. These arms usually fall in the hands of "militia groups, rebel armies or repressive regimes that fuel wars and human rights abuses" (Erin Conway-Smith, Global Post). We presently know that China controls 25% of the African weapons market, but their lack of transparency doesn't allow us to have a precise amount of dollars in mind.

Germany, a country that (according to Spiegel Online) used to be careful to whom it sold weapons, now is more than willing to sell them to whomever can afford them, even if it means "doing business with questionable regimes" yielding Chancellor Merkel's government billions of euros. However, Germany is kind enough to inform the Germans, and the world, that its foreign policy remains committed to democracy and human rights - what a relief. But even if it weren't committed to those values, Germany would find itself justified because the weapons industry produces at least 80,000 jobs.

The US is reportedly about to complete a $2.7Bn weapons deal with Iraq (a country far from being stable, at the moment), however the Pentagon says that the such a deal is politically justified: cut the Iranian supply of arms to Syria via the Iraqi air space. America also made a $10Bn arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ensure that its allies remain calm vis-à-vis its future policies concerning Iran.
This is what I call mixing business (foreign policy) with pleasure (making money).

The Angolan government is one of the many questionable administrations that purchase weapons from the above countries. Angola has convinced the West that it can contribute to "the international fight against terrorists, drug traffickers and organized crime," since it has "one of Africa’s largest and most experienced militaries." (World Policy Institute, 2005 Report) - Angola even participated in an international peacekeeping mission in Guinea Bissau (reports say its military mission helped keeping a relative stability in the country), until last year. This year, though, some accuse Angola of providing "military equipment" to those who attempted a Coup d'État in Guinea Bissau earlier this year, in April.
Guinea Bissau is a problem (even Senator McCain, in his visit to Mali, in April, discussed the issue - which we suspect prompted the arrest of Rear Admiral José Americo Bubo Na Tchuto and subsequent transfer to the US) and perhaps selling weapons to countries like Angola helps solving certain kinds of problems?

Politics is about many things but it is mainly about making hard choices; and when it comes to sales or transfer of arms to certain nations those choices become even harder. Question: is it really worth it?

Comments

  1. You left out France, Brazil, Israel, Czech Republic and the UK. They also sell weapons to questionable regimes. I don't know about Israel, but the others even sell weapons to nonstate actors.

    But I think I see where you are coming from with this article and yes, some are more clear about their intentions than some others. But most are ambiguous.
    Germany is a concern though; at least to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jack :D!

      I did indeed...

      Why is Germany a concern to you?

      Jack, thank you ever so much for your fabulous input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  2. There are extremely valid political reasons behind the sales or transfer of arms. I know this may offend certain activists however this is one of the ways how our governments have secured our peace and freedom.
    Building the security capacity of African nations for example, increases their responsibility in dealing with security matters that eventually may bite us in the ass. Of course, I exclude China and Russia from this argument because they often play a double game; they will transfer arms to whoever pays more or to whoever provides the resources they need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous :D!

      Agreed.

      I absolutely loved this comment: thank you ever so much for it, man :D. Am I wrong or is this your first time among us?

      Cheers

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Hey Anonymous :D!

      Thank you so much for your input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  4. The only recession proof employer and you ask if it is really worth it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      Despite all the political (and other) consequences on the ground...right? :)

      I have to ask such questions because not everybody agrees with me; so I want to know what people think ;). Besides, your question was spot on!

      Rummy, thank you ever so much for your great input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  5. I suppose that the hardest choice for many politicians is to choose to do something that is right for the simple reason that it is right, or to choose not to do something that is wrong, for the reason that it is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Looney :D!

      Absolutely; you know it.

      Looney, thank you ever so much for your great input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  6. Basically, to keep people working during the EU crisis countries like Germany, the UK, France etc resorted to the military industry to keep their accounts afloat. Not bad at all!
    Politicians have a lot on their plate that's for sure and making choices such as these are hard and I don't want to be in their shoes, ever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ana :D!

      Yes, indeed they did.
      It is hard and not many people appreciate that fact.

      Ana, thank you ever so much for your input, girl :D.

      Cheers

      Delete

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