Spreading weapons in the name of world peace 


Hey, Bucko — stop whining about this sour economy, and start thinking about the plight of others.

For example: arms dealers.

You've probably paid no attention to the hard fact that the global recession caused worldwide arms sales to plummet by 8.5 percent last year, pinching the profits of U.S. weapons pushers.

The only saving grace in this downbeat news is that America's glorious arms industry did retain its position as the No. 1 supplier of weapons to the world. We still control nearly 40 percent of the global market, with Russia a distant second. But before you set off a mess of fireworks in celebration, note that U.S. sales in 2009 were down by more than $15 billion from the previous year.

On the up side, the developing world is still in a buying mood! Last year, such emerging nations as Brazil, Venezuela, Iraq, India and Vietnam poured billions into purchases of military playthings that go "Boom!" Again, United States dealers were the big winners, controlling a third of the arms trade in this robust market.

The greatest news for American purveyors of killing machines, however, is Iran.

This rising Mideast power has spooked the U.S. and Israel, so, in the vague hope of countering Iran's growing punch, the White House and Congress are about to OK a blockbuster sale to the monarchial rulers of Saudi Arabia.

Some $90 billion worth of top-line fighter jets, helicopters, naval armaments and other sophisticated war machinery would go to the Saudis — the largest single sale of U.S. arms ever. The theory is that (somehow or other, maybe, possibly, sometime in the future) this escalation of military testosterone in the explosive Mideast might produce harmony.

Good luck with that. But, hey, if it jacks up profits for our arms dealers, what's not to like about it?

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