Put sanctions on the merchants of death

Put sanctions on the merchants of death

By Jan Oberg

March 11, 2019

SIPRI latest analysis of the global arms trade is just out. When one reads the summary, one may ask: If not now, when is the time to criminalize the international arms trade?

Weapons imported into warzones have – without exception – four major effects:

a) those who buy or receive the weapons get emboldened to continue war rather than seek a negotiated solution;

b) the wars last longer than they otherwise would had there been a moratorium by all external factors on these sales to conflicting paeties;

c) human suffering and social costs increase because of a) and b);

d) the arms trade economy and world is an integral part of global law-violating behaviour, mafiosi, terrorism, dirty money, corruption, death, drugs, trafficking – you name it. A murky community, indeed.

In addition, arms trade is the most immoral of all: private and government dealers sell arms mainly to earn money. You may understand why a freedom fighter or a group of people whose rights have long been violated seek weapons.

But all arms trade makes the dealer a merchant of death. The global arms trade has caused the death of millions of fellow human beings around the globe and continue to do so every single day.

Arms trade is a cancer and SIPRI doesn’t do peace

Arms trade is a cancer on the global society and it’s growing rapidly, according to SIPRI, Stockholm’s International Peace Research Institute – which by the way for decades now hasn’t worked with or for peace but formally calls itself “the independent resource on global security”.

It’s also not independent since it receives funds from governments, even arm trading governments, Sweden ranking high on arms exports per capita. Its homepage is surprisingly vague about its funding and provides no documentation for the word “independent.” I’ve modestly suggested this institute changes its name to SIMSI here.

That said, SIPRI is good a “bean counting” and what this report tells you is mind-boggling – the size, the trends and the main culprits – which of course, here too, is the NATO world.

The institute starts its summary:

“The five largest exporters in 2014–18 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China. Together, they accounted for 75 per cent of the total volume of arms exports in 2014–18. The flow of arms increased to the Middle East between 2009–13 and 2014–18, while there was a decrease in flows to all other regions.”

So, 75% plus the UK’s arms trade and minus Germany’s is what the five permanent members of the UN Security Council stand for! That is, the largest criminals when it comes to warfare.

What would be more just and timely than world economic sanctions against these five until they take serious steps to reduce this disgusting trade?

These 5 major arms sellers do much more harm to the world than does any and all the countries that the US has imposed sanctions on – say Iran or China.

No, it isn’t realistic, of course. And that is why wars continue – paid predominantly by the world’s taxpayers – and why we are drifting toward unparalleled catastrophe.

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