US Arms Sales Skyrocket

Some fear sparking 'arms race'

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 14, 2008 8:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – Seeking to arm allies and contain countries like Iran and North Korea, the Bush Administration has significantly stepped up international weapons sales, the New York Times reports. The Defense Department will sell or transfer $32 billion in arms this year, particularly in the Middle East, compared to $12 billion two years ago. Some lawmakers fear the sales could threaten stability instead of bolstering it.

"This could turn into a spiraling arms race," said the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Others fear that American weapons could eventually end up in enemy hands. The US has long been the top arms supplier in the world—but the list of nations that rely on America as the main source of key weapons systems has greatly expanded recently.

US Navy divers board a Black Hawk helicopter, one of the array of aircraft, missiles and other armaments being sold abroad by the US.
US Navy divers board a Black Hawk helicopter, one of the array of aircraft, missiles and other armaments being sold abroad by the US.   (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
People check the cockpit of a life-size model of US planemaker Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II 5th generation fighter plane during the Farnborough aerospace show in Englandearlier this year.
People check the cockpit of a life-size model of US planemaker Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II 5th generation fighter plane during the Farnborough aerospace show in Englandearlier this year.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Some nations are switching from Russian-built fighter jets to the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon used by the US military.
Some nations are switching from Russian-built fighter jets to the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon used by the US military.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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