The United States has been the leading exporter of arms around the world for quite some time. Not only has Washington led the race, it has done so by a substantial margin-almost 31% of total sales are from the US, and the next closest seller, Russia, sits at 24%. The drop off after Russia is drastic, with Germany only taking 9%. The difference between Russia and the US seems close-only a 7% difference or so. However, when considering the size of their economies, GDP, and who they export those weapons to, it is evident how much more Russia is reliant on sales, and how important those sales are to Russia’s economy.
Selling weapons in mass quantities is nothing new, regardless of what administration it is viewed under. Before Trump, underneath the Obama Administration sales continued to grow, and the growth seems to be continuing underneath President Trump. As with past administrations, having foreign governments purchase arms from the US helps show a form of commitment between the two, but it has always been a balancing act between the U.S. defense industry and national security. One of the major issues and problems is having weapons and arms outlive the original government who bought them. The United States doesn’t want to be going up against its own weaponry, but this has happened-not only in terms of going against their arms, but also against an enemy that was either trained by the US or trained by a US ally that understands their skills and tactics.
Preventing the arms ending up in the wrong hands and being used to commit human right violations is always a difficult issue that requires forethought and planning, sometimes that it is impossible to be able to accurately predict. This will continue to be an ever pressing and increasingly difficult issue as the US continues to sell more arms to more people underneath the Trump administration. However, it is not only the U.S. that floods the thirsty market, and the problems that have faced administrations in the past will continue to grow in the immediate future.
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