Friday, April 27, 2018

Cutting Through the Red Tape

Last week, President Trump announced his intentions to change the current, highly bureaucratic, and slow process involved with weapons sales. As the US pushes for even greater arms sales abroad, this brings up a number of questions that the current administration would answer ideally, before the implementation of this new policy. What this will mean for the relationships between the US and various foreign countries? Certainly this will boost revenue for the defense industry but will it actually make the US safer or does it simply increase the possibility that these weapons and technologies will end up in the wrong hands? What is the possibility that these countries will use the weapons acquired against the US in possible future conflicts? Also, is making it easier on the defense industry and foreign countries more important than than maintaining a competitive edge on US technological advances? It is difficult to argue that the current policies are not outdated but there is a concern that in the process to modernize this process, the administration could also increase the risks to US security.
It is also important however, to note the significant economic benefits that could stem from making arms sales to foreign countries more accessible, especially as India looks for a stable partner in arms trade. Since 2008, US weapons sales have increased from around $1 billion to over $15 billion dollars and figures like that cannot be ignored, not only for the consequences that they have on the US economy, but also for emerging cooperation between the US and India. This is an important consideration as the US moves towards a new policy on arms trade in order to maintain a competitive edge over China and Russia. However, lifting restrictions en masse and doing it without a comprehensive strategy and analysis of the possible consequences is not the way to do that.

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