4. United States: The World's Leading Merchant of
Sources: World Press Review, 200 Madison Avenue, Ste. 2104 New York,
NY 10016, Date: September 1992, Title: "The World's Top Arms Merchant,"
Author: Frederick Clairmonte; The Human Quest, 107423rd Avenue, N. St.
Petersburg, FL 33704, Date: July/August 1992, Title: "War 'Dividends,
Military Spending Out of Balance with Needy," Author: Tristram
SYNOPSIS: In the 1980s, global arms spending rocketed to nearly
$1 trillion annually -- or, about $2 million a minute. The two leading
arms merchants were the United States and the former Soviet Union. Now
the Soviet Union is gone, but its place has been taken by others; with
the U.S. being the grand trafficker leading the pack.
With the end of the Cold War, some Americans held out hope that U.S.
arms production and sales would be reduced and arms plants converted
to civilian factories. This has not happened; instead, the U.S. has
kept its arms factories humming with exports. The DefenseMonitor's headline
reads: "We Arm the World: U.S. Is Number One Weapons Dealer."
Some facts from the Center for Defense Information include the following:
o The U.S. is the world's top weapons supplier.
o The U.S. has provided over $128 billion in weaponry and military
assistance to more than 125 of the world's 169 countries in the last
o The U.S. continues to provide arms to a number of nations with
chronic records of human rights violations.
o In Latin America, El Salvador's bloody regime garners the largest
share of U.S. military sales.
Meanwhile, there are reports of increasingly hostile world opinion
against militarization, which the U.S. appears to be ignoring. Critics
say that the continued pathology of U.S. arms-spending, exacerbated
by the decline in U.S. prod-uctivity in the Seventies and Eighties,
can only further intensify the problems in America.
Former President Dwight Eisenhower tried to war America of the dangers
of this entrenched addiction and dependence on military production and
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket
fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who are cold and
are not fed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending
the wealth of its workers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of
As Frederick Clairmonte writes in the World Press Review:
"This was [Eisenhower's] warning against the menace of frantic
proliferation that he branded `the military-industrial complex,' a Frankenstein
monstrosity whose growth in the decades to come Eisenhower could only
dimly have conceived. In every year from 1951 to 1991, military outlays
exceeded the combined net profits of all U.S. corporations."
While the world can take comfort from the exit of the Soviet Union
from the first rank of death merchants, it is dismayed that the U.S.
military-industrial complex has rushed to fill the vacuum.
Tristram Coffin, editor of the Washington Spectator, urges instead
that "the U.S. should take the lead in organizing a cutback of
arms shipments to small nations .... The administration should prepare
to repair the long-neglected infra-structure bridges, roads, sewers,
water supply systems. This would offer jobs to arms plant workers dismissed
The American people should know that we alone are now the world's leading
merchant of death and that the price to both America and the rest of
the world is a costly one.
SSU Censored Researcher Amy Cohen
COMMENTS: Linda Rogers, editor of the World Press Review responded
to Project Censored on behalf of author Frederick Clairmonte, who resides
"There is never enough coverage of what the United States is doing
in this realm [international arms sales]. In 1992, when the Bush administration
should have been using its considerable influence to promote peace,
the U.S. was moving into position as the dominant arms merchant worldwide
-- as total world arms sales were declining.
"This development rated a few paragraphs in the major media, following
a report from the Congressional Research Service, and then pretty much
died as a story. But the foreign press was paying attention, so we put
it on our cover.
"The public would benefit from wider exposure of this subject
by being better informed about what the government, the military establishment
and arms manufacturers are up to -- and by translating the information
into, for example, voting patterns.
"The Bush administration's promotion of overseas arms sales benefited
by the limited media coverage. Bush was talking out of both sides of
his mouth by challenging the Mideast to freeze its arms trade and reduce
stockpiles (in the May 1991 "Middle East arms initiative")
while preparing a huge arms transaction with Saudi Arabia. Our sources
reported that more than $20 billion in U.S. weapons sales to the Mideast
were arranged after Iraq invaded Kuwait -- a large portion of it after
the May 1991 arms initiative. Obviously, arms manufacturers also benefitted
from the scant media coverage."