Thursday, April 26, 2018

Weapons Diplomacy in the 21st Century

The use of the international arms trade as a form of diplomacy is not a new concept.  The concept of utilizing arms to shore up alliances as well as undermine foes is a controversial one.   In the United States, both the practice and the controversy go back decades and can be traced back to the start of the Cold War.

          The arms race of the Cold War didn't just take place in the nuclear silos of the USSR and the U.S.  As the U.S. looked outward to its allies, the arms race took on a conventional flavor in countries like Taiwan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.  In fact, many historians point to Truman's 1947 speech before a joint session of Congress as the defining moment in U.S. foreign policy that codified American military aid to countries, "who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” 

Although the Cold War has ended, the competition between the U.S. and its former foe (now Russia) is just starting to heat up again.  The Russians continue to funnel advanced weaponry to Iran and Syria such as the S-300 surface-to-air missile system.

Not to be out done, the U.S. answered back by approving delivery of high-tech weapon systems to its Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  In addition, the U.S. signaled to its Arab allies that it would not interfere with arms supplies making its way to rebel hands in Syria to fight back against the Shia dominated Assad government.

Although not on the same grand scale as the previous arms race between the two nations, the new conventional arms race will be just as interesting.  The re-emergence of weapons diplomacy is yet another area for the two former foes to duke it out in an effort to undermine the foreign policies and allies of the other.


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The Defense Bird said...

Indian is also having it's Hypersonic program, the Mrgavyadha ICBM. The manufacturer (HTNP Industries) claims that its speed can exceed Mach 46.