SIPRI Report: International Arms Industry – Business As Usual
Voice of Russia
February 28, 2012
Arms industry – business as usual
Of the SIPRI top 100 arms-producing companies, 73 are based in the United States and Western Europe which account for more than 90 percent of total global military expenditures…
The SIPRI report plays down the problem of upgrading so-called conventional arms which some experts contend can be on a par with nuclear weapons in terms of destructive capacity.
No economic crises, defaults and budget deficits are able to dampen the arms industry which continues to gather strength. Another illustration of this is a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) earlier this year.
The report highlights global military expenditure data for 2010. Of the SIPRI top 100 arms-producing companies, 73 are based in the United States and Western Europe which account for more than 90 percent of total global military expenditures that stood at 411 billion dollars in 2010, a 10-billion-dollar increase as compared to 2009. SIPRI experts attribute this moderate growth to the signing of long-term contracts which contributed significantly to the stabilization of the world arms market.
The Arab Spring left the Western arms traders sitting on the horns of a dilemma which was all about the possible arming of the new regimes – something that is still seen as a risky business. NATO’s and Germany’s arms deals with Saudi Arabia are also in danger given that Riyadh is little by little becoming a gendarme of the Arab world, something that can be proved by Riyadh’s recent participation in the suppression of a rebellion in Bahrain. When supplying arms to Arab countries, the West typically cites the necessity of supporting democracy or restoring the balance of power in the region in the face of the potential Iranian nuclear threat.
The SIPRI report plays down the problem of upgrading so-called conventional arms which some experts contend can be on a par with nuclear weapons in terms of destructive capacity. Retired Major General Pavel Zolotarev, deputy head of the Institute for US and Canadian Studies in Moscow, says, in contrast, that drawing parallels between conventional and nuclear arms is irrelevant. It is common knowledge that the use of nuclear weapons is fraught with the mass loss of human life and protracted radioactive contamination of area which is not the case with conventional arms, Zolotarev recalls.
“At the same time,” he says, “there already are some types of high-precision conventional arms which are capable of destroying targets that could only be eliminated with the help of nuclear weapons in previous years.
Some experts justify the arms race by arguing that military technologies allegedly contribute to developing science and creating more jobs – claims that certainly hold no water.