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.