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Arms Sales Topic Bibliography, Evidence Files, Lectures

Arms Sales Topic Bibliography, Evidence Files, Lectures

Full argument list and resources, including case/DA/CP specific bibliographies

Daily Update . Taiwan Daily Update .


Topic Paper

Topic paper by Dustin Rimmey 

Yes, Trump can override Congress and Sell Arms to Saudi Arabia (2019).  This is an excellent explanation of the arms sales process.

Backround — History

Dwight Eisenhower’s Military Industrial Complex Speech (1961)

Corporate Power and Profiteering (2015)

Background (articles) — Process and Topicality

Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial sales. This article explains what both of these are.

Foreign Military Sales v. Direct Commercial Sales. This brief article explains what each of these are and the difference between the two.

Direct Commercial Sales. This link has a simple statement that explains what direct commercial sales are.

Foreign Military Sales v. Direct Commercial Sales. This is a highly useful chart that compares how they are different at each part of the arms sales process.

Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales (2017). This chapter explains the difference between FMS and DCS in detail.

The foreign military sales process (2017). This chapter addresses the entire FMS process starting with the preliminary stages when the customer begins to define requirements and ending with a discussion of FMS program/case closure. It is very important to realize that FMS could very well be just one activity, event, operation or investment inside of a Line of Activity (LOA), within a Line of Effort (LOE), with 5-1 Foreign Military Sales Process other lines of activity, trying to accomplish end states (goals and objectives) in U.S. (e.g., DoS and DoD) and partner nation plans for U.S. and international partners’ national security.

There isn’t a lot of useful evidence in this, but it does describe the process of foreign military sales in detail.

Foreign Military Sales (2016) This General Accounting Office report is about how to improve pricing and acquisition in the foreign military sales process. It’s not especially useful, but it provides additional explanation of the foreign military sales process.

U.S. Arms Sales and Human Rights: Legislative Basis and Frequently Asked Questions. (2019) . U.S. law establishes the conditions under which the U.S. government and U.S. commercial entities may sell defense articles to foreign countries. This In Focus provides an overview of the main laws and policies that may limit such sales on the basis of human rights concerns.

Arms Sales: The Congressional Review Process (2019). This report reviews the process and procedures that currently apply to congressional consideration of foreign arms sales proposed by the President. This includes consideration of proposals to sell major defense equipment, defense articles and services, or the retransfer to thirdparty states of such military items. Under Section 36(b) of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), Congress must be formally notified 30 calendar days before the Administration can take the final steps to conclude a government-to-government foreign military sale of major defense equipment valued at $14 million or more, defense articles or services valued at $50 million or more, or design and construction services valued at $200 million or more. In the case of such sales to NATO member states, NATO, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, or New Zealand, Congress must be formally notified 15 calendar days before the Administration can proceed with the sale. However, the prior notice threshold values are higher for sales to NATO members, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, or New Zealand. Commercially licensed arms sales also must be formally notified to Congress 30 calendar days before the export license is issued if they involve the sale of major defense equipment valued at $14 million or more, or defense articles or services valued at $50 million or more (Section 36(c) AECA). In the case of such sales to NATO member states, NATO, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, or New Zealand, Congress must be formally notified 15 calendar days before the Administration is authorized to proceed with a given sale. As with government-to-government sales, the prior notice threshold values are higher for sales to NATO members, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, or New Zealand. Furthermore, commercially licensed arms sales cases involving defense articles that are firearmscontrolled under category I of the United States Munitions List and valued at $1 million or more must also be formally notified to Congress for review 30 days prior to the license for export being approved. In the case of proposed licenses for such sales to NATO members, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, or New Zealand, 15 days prior notification is required. In general, the executive branch, after complying with the terms of applicable U.S. law, principally contained in the AECA, is free to proceed with an arms sales proposal unless Congress passes legislation prohibiting or modifying the proposed sale. Under current law Congress faces two fundamental obstacles to block or modify a presidential sale of military equipment: it must pass legislation expressing its will on the sale, and it must be capable of overriding a presumptive presidential veto of such legislation. Congress, however, is free to pass legislation to block or modify an arms sale at any time up to the point of delivery of the items involved. This report will be updated, if notable changes in these review procedures or applicable law occur.

Background — US Sales to Specific Countries

Major arms sales: US Department of State (2019). There really isn’t evidence in here, but this shows all of the pending, recent, and proposed sales. This list could be helpful in constructing a “substantially” reduce

US arms sales: These countries buy the most (2019). This article has slides that show the top 20 countries the US sells weapons to and also makes the claim that:  The United States supplies arms to at least 98 nations, and it is the largest supplier to 20 of the 40 largest arms importers in the world. These arms include ammunition such as missiles, various aircraft, submarines, surface ships, anti-submarine weaponry, tanks, armored vehicles, as well as electronics such as radar, sonar, and guiding systems.

Trends in Major Arms sales sales in 2017 (2018).  This research paper was to compare arms sales under Trump and Obama, but its greatest use for debaters is the break-down in sales to specific countries and regions.

Major findings of the report include:
  • U.S. arms sales offers totaled $78.8 billion in 2018, a $3.4 billion drop from the figure reached during President Trump’s first year in office.
  • The number and value of licenses granted to manufacture U.S. weapons and weapons components overseas increased by over 50% from 2017 to 2018, accounting for 25% of all U.S. arms offers in 2018.  In all, the U.S. made 40 manufacturing license deals in 2018, worth a total of $19.8 billion.
  • President Trump continued to exaggerate the number of jobs generated by U.S. arms sales, both to Saudi Arabia and globally. By the most generous estimate, total U.S. arms sales-related jobs equal two-tenths of one per cent of the U.S. labor force.
  • Firearms offers increased by more than 14% in 2018, to $759 million from $662 million in 2017. The biggest recipient by far was Saudi Arabia, with over $579 million in deals that included machine guns, semi-automatic sniper rifles, and grenade launchers. Another questionable offer was a $22 million deal for handguns to the Philippines.
  • The top five recipients of U.S. arms offers in 2018 were Italy ($11.4 billion), the United Kingdom ($7.3 billion), Japan ($7.2 billion) Belgium ($6.6 billion), and Saudi Arabia ($4.5 billion).
  • A handful of companies were the primary beneficiaries of U.S. arms offers in 2018. The top five arms exporters, based on deals of $500 million or more, were Lockheed Martin, which was involved in deals worth $25 billion; Boeing, $7.1 billion in deals; Raytheon, $5.5 billion in deals; Northrop Grumman, had one deal worth $2.5 billion; and BAE systems, which had a $1.3 billion deal.

Background — Trump 

Arms sales up, but Trump wants more (2018). “The United States signed off on arms exports worth $192.3 billion over the past year, a full 13 percent increase from the previous year — even as the Trump administration keeps pushing hard to sell more weapons, more quickly, to more allies overseas.  The massive increase was announced by the State Department on Thursday afternoon as a way to promote the release of more detail about its Conventional Arms Transfer policy, which has loosened restrictions on selling everything from guns to drones, while pushing US diplomats and officials to make selling more arms a larger part of their mission.”  This article breaks the total sales down by FMS and DCS. It also claims that sales are important to strengthen our allies vis-a-visa Russia and China and to support our defense industry.

Essential imperatives for US arms transfer policy (2018). This article discusses the Trump administration’s new arms export policy, which is the first update to US arms sales policy since 2014. It emphasizes buying American products.

National Security Presidential Memorandum Regarding U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policy (2018). This article outlines the general goals of arms transfers. This probably isn’t useful for good evidence, but if you want a quick list of the many goals of arms sales, this is a good start. It is also what the Trump administration supports, which is the first update to US arms sales policy since 2004.

Trump’s New Arms Sales Policy: What You should Know (2018). This article explains that Trump’s new arms sales policy is focused on increasing US jobs, using all levels of government to promote arms sales, increasing sales of drones, and increasing sales to promote counterterrorism cooperation.

How Trump plans to arm the world with US weapons (2018). This article describes Trump’s new Conventional Arms Transfer Policy (CAT) and its role in promoting arms sales.

Why the Arms Trade Treaty Matters – and Why It Matters That the US Is Walking Away (2019). This article argues that Trump has reduced multilateralism in many ways and that the Arms Transfer Treaty (ATT) does not reduce sales.

US arms transfer policy: Shaping the way ahead (2018). [In] April of this past year the president issued a national security policy memorandum announcing a revised conventional arms transfer – or, as we like to call it affectionately, a CAT – policy. The CAT Policy provides a framework under which the U.S. government and all of its agencies will review and evaluate proposed arms transfers. The new policy reflects the priorities of the president’s National Security Strategy, which are, namely, to preserve peace through strength by reforming regulations to facilitate the exports of U.S. military equipment; to strengthen partners and allies; to facilitate U.S. economic security and innovation – we’ll talk a little bit more about that; and to uphold respect for human rights and U.S. nonproliferation objectives. In short, the new CAT Policy was designed to expand opportunities for American industry, create American jobs, and maintain U.S. national security, ensuring that we continue to review each arms transfer thoroughly in order to ensure that it is in the national interest of the United States.

The release of the new policy was only the first step in a series of what we believe will be very practical results-focused initiatives to transform the way that the U.S. government works to support and grow our defense industrial base. Through that memorandum, the president also directed the secretary of state, in coordination with the secretaries of defense, commerce, and energy, to submit an implementation plan within 60 days. So, during the 60 days following the release of the policy, my colleagues from across the executive branch and I met with stakeholders from industry, from civil society, as well as congressional staffers to collect all of their input and hopefully closely align our implementation plan with real-world challenges. In fact, as part of this engagement, in April I met with a group of scholars from the NGO and think-tank community right here at CSIS to discuss the new CAT Policy. We’re very grateful for everybody who contributed feedback to that very important process.

The article also discusses the value of commercial sales and the prospects of other countries switching suppliers if they cannot gain access to US weapons.

Arms trade is increasing under Trump (2019). The global arms trade is experiencing its greatest boom since the Cold War, fueled by horrific wars in the Middle East and revitalized power rivalries among China, Russia and the United States. In their most recent report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute revealed a 44 percent increase in arms sales from 2002 to 2017. The United States is the world’s biggest arms exporter by far, holding 34 percent of total market share — a 58 percent lead on Russia, its closest competitor. From 2017 to 2018, U.S. arms sales to foreign governments increased 33 percent, in part due to the Trump administration’s diminished legal restraints on supplying foreign militias.

Your Taxes at Work: Some Foreign Assembly Required (2018). Trump’s new policy encourages a “whole of government” approach to pitching arms sales abroad. The change will effectively turn civil servants who had been third-party brokers between foreign governments and American defense contractors into de facto salespeople. Officials talking up American defense products isn’t new, but giving them the directive to increase “economic security” gives profit a greater emphasis — with the commander-in-chief and his 2017 sales pitches to the Saudis, for example, offering model behavior in this regard.

US Arms Policy and sales (2019). This article explains how US arms sales are increasing globally.

Trump makes over $80 billion in arms sales in first year (2018). This article provides more details on the growing number of arms sales under Trump.

Trump call on DOD, Diplomats to be better arms sales promoters (2018). This article is a short description of Trump administration efforts to use US State Department staff to promote arms sales.

Donald Trump and the art of the Arms Deal (2018). If Trump’s vision of an all-arms-sales-all-the-time foreign policy is realized, he may scale the weapons-dealing heights reached by the Obama administration. As Washington’s arms-dealer-in-chief, he might indeed succeed in selling American weaponry as if there were no tomorrow. Given the known human costs of unbridled arms trafficking, however, such a presidency would also ensure that whatever tomorrow finally arrived would prove far worse than today, unless of course you happen to be a major U.S. arms maker.

Background —  General/Theoretical

What’s the point of arms transfer controls? (2007). This essay examines the contemporary architecture of conventional arms transfer restrictions and concludes that it is deficient. In part this is simply due to the absence of political will to effectively implement existing arms transfer restraint. However, it is also the case that the globalization of the defense industry, the growing employment of dual-use technology and the pervasiveness and flexibility of illicit networks are, in combination, substantially eroding the utility of existing restrictions on arms circulation. It is argued, therefore, that such trends require a shift from a predominantly supplier-oriented model of restriction to a system of regulatory diffusion that matches the reality of arms diffusion in the international system. Such a system encompasses a variety of initiatives but particularly includes a greater emphasis on recipient initiatives, an enhanced role for civil society and the incorporation of an outputs/impacts model of arms regulation.

Arming the Embargoed: A supply-Side understanding of Arms Embargo Violations. (2010). Nearly every international arms embargo has been systemically violated by arms exporting states. Although much work has been done exploring why states transfer arms, little has been done to answer the question of why states choose to violate arms embargoes. Earlier studies have found that states transfer arms to one another for a variety of economic and strategic reasons. This study constructs a time series cross-section data set to test whether the same interests that drive dyadic arms transfers also influence the likelihood and size of arms embargo violations. Using a two-stage model of dyadic arms transfers, this study finds that measures for arms import dependence and alliance portfolio similarity best predict the likelihood and size of arms embargo violations. These results provide evidence that state decisions to violate embargoes are driven by political interests more than economic interests.

Under the Influence of Arms (2017). How are arms export choices made within a state? In this dissertation I use a foreign policy analysis framework to examine this question. I focus on examining each of the three primary levels of analysis in international relations as it relates to the main question. I begin with a typical international relations level and examine the characteristics of the two states that dominate the world arms trade: The United States and Russia. I then examine the full network of relations among all states in the international system that are involved in the sale or purchase of arms. To do this I use an Exponential Random Graph Model (ERGM) to examine these relations, which I derived from data on arms sales from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). I examine the arms sales in each decade from 1950 through 2010. In order to answer the question of how arms decisions are made within the state, I focus my inquiry on the United States and Russia. It is these states that have the practical capability to use arms transfers as a foreign policy tool. I examine the foreign policy making mechanisms in each of these states to determine how arms transfers can be used as a foreign policy tool. I examine and the bureaucratic institutions within each state and come up with a state ordering preference for how arms decisions are evaluated in each state. Finally, I use case studies to examine arms relations between the both the U.S. and Russia and three other states in each case. The other states were selected based on the pattern of sales between the two countries. I examine these sales to determine the impact of bureaucratic maneuvering and interest politics on the decision-making process within Russia and the United States.

Background — US Market Dominance

US Increases dominance, arms flows (2019).The volume of international transfers of major arms in 2014–18 was 7.8 per cent higher than in 2009–13 and 23 per cent higher than in 2004–2008, according to new data on arms transfers published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The five largest exporters in 2014–18 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China. Together, they accounted for 75 per cent of the total volume of arms exports in 2014–18. The flow of arms increased to the Middle East between 2009–13 and 2014–18, while there was a decrease in flows to all other regions.

Global merchants of death: US arms sales increase by 29%. (2019). We assess, based on our specific methodology, that the United States counted in the past five years for about 36 percent of all arms exports in the world. And it has a significant lead over the next largest arms exporter in the world, which is Russia, which account for roughly 21 percent. So that’s already a big gap. And if you go to the next largest, which is France, we talk about a percentage of about 6-7 percent of the world’s share. So the U.S. really has the lead, and has advanced its lead.

Importantly I also want to mention that it’s not just the percentage of total exports, but also the fact that the United States is exporting major arms to almost 100 countries in those past five years and for other exporting states this is much less. Really important for the United States has been exports to the Middle East, in particular to Saudi Arabia. They make up almost a third of the total exports by the United States in those past five years, the exports to Saudi Arabia.

Background — The Global market

Five charts that reveal the state of the global arms market (2019). This is a series of charts that shows the overall global arms market. Highlights include

*US dominates the market
*Arms purchases and exports increasing
*Middle East and Asia imports increasing.

Lords of War: Visualizing the Global Arms Trade Network (2019). There are two great images in here that show major weapons importers and exporters around the world.

World Military Spending Grows to $1.8 trillion in 2018. (2019).

Arms sales are on the rise: Here are the top 10 exporting countries (2018). This is a quick list of the top 10 arms importers and exporters.

Which countries dominate the global arms trade (2018). This is another review of the major suppliers, with a focus on China and the US

Trends in International Arms Transfer 2017 (2018). Publish in 2018, this reviews global arms transfers in 2017.


Security Assistance Weekly Monitor.  At the beginning of each week, Security Assistance Monitor sends out a newsletter highlighting the top U.S. security assistance news and reports of the week, recent government statements, legislation, and reports, and key analysis from our website. We also highlight new or interesting U.S. security assistance data trends from our databases or other sources.

Arms Sales @ The Guardian

Arms Sales @ The Independent 

Arms Sales @ Foreign Affairs

Think Tanks

Arms Control Association 

Campaign Against Arms Trade

Managing the arms trade @ Stimson Center   The Conventional Defense program engages governments, the private sector, and civil society to promote effective policies that mitigate the consequences of illegal or irresponsible arms transfers while ensuring that legitimate trade is not impeded. The Conventional Defense program is part of the Managing Across Boundaries initiative.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public. Based in Stockholm, SIPRI is regularly ranked among the most respected think tanks worldwide.

Center for International Policy Arms & Security Project. The Arms and Security Project engages in media outreach and public education aimed at promoting reforms in U.S. policies on nuclear weapons, military spending and the arms trade. It seeks to advance the notion that diplomacy and international cooperation are the most effective tools for protecting the United States


Arms sales treaties and violations  (2018)

Dangerous Trade: Arms Exports, Human Rights, International Reputation (2015)

Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade (2013)

Indefensible; Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade (2017). The global arms trade is experiencing its greatest boom since the Cold War, fueled by horrific wars in the Middle East and revitalized power rivalries among China, Russia and the United States. In their most recent report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute revealed a 44 percent increase in arms sales from 2002 to 2017. The United States is the world’s biggest arms exporter by far, holding 34 percent of total market share — a 58 percent lead on Russia, its closest competitor. From 2017 to 2018, U.S. arms sales to foreign governments increased 33 percent, in part due to the Trump administration’s diminished legal restraints on supplying foreign militias. Some arms deals are undertaken in the name of generating economic benefits. Some deals are pure corruption—that is, the kickbacks and access to public funds are the rationale for the deal, and the weaponry is a ruse. We examine Saudi Arabia’s history of arms purchases in depth in this regard. Ukraine provides a different model, where the country’s military assets were sold en masse by corrupt military leaders for private gain in the 1990s, crippling its capacity. And in the fractured independent South Sudan, an arms-purchasing spree following independence was justified in relation to its predatory neighbor, Sudan, but the weapons were turned against the South Sudanese people themselves. A brutal civil war was the result, a far cry from increasing security for the population.

It is also a myth, as Chapter Three demonstrates, that we can control where weapons go after they are purchased, and how they are used. Once a weapon is sold the seller has little control over how it is used. Friends become enemies—the US’ relationship with Afghanistan’s Mujahedin is the most obvious example, but the list also includes Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, not to mention factions in Yemen and Libya. The cycle continues: ISIS was able to arm itself by seizing enormous troves of weaponry the US had recently given to the unstable new Iraqi state it tried to build following the 2003 invasion. Dispersion—weapons seized and taken by new actors—is not unique to ISIS. Somalia and Libya provide further examples. Diversion is yet another way around control systems: arms officially intended for one state can be sold to another (or a non-state actor). Our examples of diversion include pathways through Switzerland, UAE, Jordan, Syria, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Ukraine. And even if the weapons end up in the right place, they can be used for unforeseen purposes—the 1994 Rwandan genocide provides a stark example. Legitimate purchases of guns in the US, too, can cross borders into Mexico, where they empower violent drug traffickers. Those defending the trade may point to the passing of the Arms Trade Treaty by the UN in 2013, and its ratification by nearly the entire globe thereafter, as an example of how these sorts of lessons have been learnt. Unfortunately, the Arms Trade Treaty is full of holes, and is unlikely to have any major impact on the trade at all. Even when security isn’t the main issue, we are often told that national arms industries are technologically innovative job creators.

This the myth that we dispel in Chapter Four. In Europe, if one factors in the size of subsidies and welfare afforded the defense industry, their contributions pale to nothing: European defense companies are, in fact, dependent on public funds in order to maintain their profitability. They do create jobs, but nowhere near the number of jobs that could be created if such subsidies were invested in other industries. The economics of the industry works differently in the US, where the scale of government purchases creates a unique set of incentives; but even here, the number of good-quality jobs created by defense spending is less by order of magnitude than the jobs created through investment in other sectors such as energy and education. As this all hints, there is now considerable data showing that global defense spending has either an insignificant or negative impact on growth. What is more, increasingly civilian technologies lead new breakthroughs, with military applications focusing on integration and adaptation. Some defenders of the trade may point to the economic impact of ‘offsets’; we show that their estimated economic benefit is chimerical and illustrate it by reference to the over-inflated claims that accompanied a major South African arms deal in 1999. And, as a final kicker, there is now compelling data demonstrating that military spending is strongly correlated with poorer national economic growth: military spending can actually hurt the economy. The next myth fantasizes that corruption is only a problem in developing countries and marginal to the defense industry as a whole. As our examples demonstrate, corruption in arms deals is corruption between producing and purchasing countries; the willingness of each side makes it possible. The British company BAE Systems provides a study in how this works, but it is not alone. Indeed, the arms trade is hard-wired for corruption for a number of reasons: the linkage to national security; the highly technical and complex nature of the systems, which means that very few people are able to critically evaluate deals; and the close relationship between purchasing governments, the arms industry, middlemen and senior figures in the military and intelligence agencies. The ‘revolving door’ whereby the same individuals circulate between government and the private sector aligns the interests of these actors against those of the public. The trade is also truly global, composed of massive agglomeration of once disparate companies, with long lines of supply that are spread throughout the world, increasing the potential and scope for international corruption.

The corruption enabled by these conditions takes the form of funds paid through middlemen, but also of political contributions, dispersing jobs strategically into multiple jurisdictions, lax oversight and management of contracts, and the use of contractors as intelligence analysts to identify the very threats that fuel their companies’ profits. Real victims suffer this corruption: Gerdec demonstrated this, and we further illustrate the problem with a case study of South Africa. In Chapter Six we tackle the idea that national security requires blanket secrecy. Secrecy is so widespread that many countries fail to even report how much the military receives in funding. Even where budgets are disclosed, many countries allow for off- budget expenditures—for example Uganda and Nigeria. Secrecy allows for cover-ups and makes accountability impossible. For all these reasons, secrecy more often reduces security rather than enhancing it. Protecting whistleblowers and demanding accountability are not luxuries, they are necessities of functioning democracies. Together, these chapters explain how the defense industry makes us less safe, our governments and leaders more prone to corruption, and our economies dragged down by wasteful and sometimes useless spending that could far better be used to solve the world’s truly pressing problems. Holden, Paul. Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade (p. 6). Zed Books. Kindle Edition.

In Section 2, we tackle the two myths that keep us stuck. Chapter Seven looks at the idea that this is simply the wrong time to tackle the arms trade: the world, so the argument goes, is more dangerous than ever, and we don’t have the luxury of critically examining the defense sector when we are confronted with clear and present danger. This is wrong on both fronts. We show how the first decade of the 21st century was, contrary to popular belief, the most peaceful in recorded history. The second decade has proved appreciably more violent, though still far less deadly than previous historical eras. Today’s global security context, which has both reasons for hope and reasons for concern, is precisely the right time to open a debate on the role of the arms producers and traders in portraying—or misportraying—the rationales for how they conduct their business. Indeed, today is always the right time to challenge distortions that privilege the few and increase vulnerability for the many. In the final chapter, we challenge the myth that there is simply nothing that can be done. While we acknowledge that confronting the arms trade, with its massive political clout and economic influence, is a tough ask, it is not impossible. But once we clear away the myths, we see that there are things we can do now, right now, to begin pushing back against an industry that makes our world poorer and more dangerous. Holden, Paul. Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade (p. 8). Zed Books. Kindle Edition.


Saudi Arabia

All of our Saudi Arabia resources, including an extensive bibliography,  are available here. 

Middle East

America’s Allies in the Middle East Are the Real ‘Troika of Tyranny (2019). This article argues that US military support for Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia enables repression and supports a war against Iran.

Middle East sales up by a massive 87%, mostly US supplied (2019)

Trump’s plan for selling arms to the Middle East (2018)

Thirty Years of U.S. Arms Sales to Middle East Endogenous to Unstable Oil Prices (2018)

Is US President Trump ‘milking Gulf countries? (2018)

It’s not diplomacy, it’s an arms fair

Should the United States sell fighter jets to the gulf? (2017)

Global arms sales surge driven by Middle East Demand (2017)

Reimagining US Military Assistance to the Middle East (2017)

Middle East — Egypt

Egypt 3rd largest arms importer worldwide (2019)

Egypt: Background and US Relations (2019). President Trump has praised the Egyptian government’s counterterrorism efforts while his Administration has worked to restore high level diplomatic engagement, 67 joint military exercises,68 and arms sales.69 Many commentators initially expected President Trump to bring the United States and Egypt closer together, and that largely has been the case. The Administration has withheld some foreign assistance for policy reasons on at least one occasion, however,70 and the United States has not had an ambassador in Cairo since June 30, 2017. As evidence of improved bilateral ties, the U.S. Defense Department notified Congress in November 2018 of a major $1 billion sale of defense equipment to Egypt, consisting of 10 AH64E Apache Attack Helicopters, among other things.71 The Egyptian Air Force already possesses 45 less advanced versions of the Apache that were acquired between 2000 and 2014.72 In January 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo delivered a major policy speech at the American University in Cairo, where he stated: “And as we seek an even stronger partnership with Egypt, we encourage President Sisi to unleash the creative energy of Egypt’s people, unfetter the economy, and promote a free and open exchange of ideas. The progress made to date can continue.”

In September 2018, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale to Egypt for as much as $99 million for practice tank rounds provided by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. See,

With the exception of years in which Congress enacted across-the-board budgetary rescissions, Egypt had received $1.3 billion in FMF a year since 1987. For FY2017, the Trump Administration reduced FMF aid to Egypt by $65.7 million, citing “Egyptian inaction on a number of critical requests by the United States, including Egypt’s ongoing relationship with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, lack of progress on the 2013 convictions of U.S. and Egyptian nongovernmental organization (NGO) workers, and the enactment of a restrictive NGO law that will likely complicate ongoing and future U.S. assistance to the country.” Congressional Notification Transmittal Sheet, Mary K. Waters, Assistant Secretary of Legislative Affairs, January 23, 2018.

AH-64E Apaches approved for Egypt,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, November 30, 2018. 73 op. cit.,  Reuters (2018)

U.S. Department of State, January 10, 2019. 74 “Egypt: A Move to Enhance Authoritarian Rule,” Human Rights Watch, February 12, 2019


Europe and America: The End of the Transatlantic relationship? (2019) Book

How to save the transatlantic alliance: Waiting out Europe won’t be Enough (2019)

Europe alone: What comes after the Transatlantic alliance (2019)

Deals Over Alliances (2019). From 2014-2106, the U.S. exported $62.9 billion in arms sales to the European Union (E.U.); during those years, the E.U. exported $7.6 billion in arms to the U.S. The U.S. is also pushing NATO members, including those in the E.U., to increase their respective defense spending to a minimum of 2% of their respective gross domestic product (GDP). This push is intended both to strengthen NATO as an organization while also increasing U.S. arms sales to NATO members. By nearly every metric, the U.S. is the dominant arms supplier to both NATO and the E.U.

Russia, Trump driving European arms sales (2019).

European arms sales to Egypt (2018)

With arms fair, Big Buyer Egypt Looks to diversity sources (2018)

How French weapons enable Egyptian human rights abuses (2018)


Russia secures $2 billion fighter project with Egypt (2019)

Putin, Russia sign “partnership” treaty (2018)

Middle East — Gulf

Military spending and arms sales in the Gulf (2018)

Petroleum Powerhouse: Why the US no longer needs the Middle East (2019)


US selling arms to Saudi Arabia’s enemies (2019). The US State Department has given the nod to a potential $3bn sale of 24 Apache attack helicopters and related equipment to Qatar, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The manufacturer- Boeing Co and other major defence contractors, including Lockheed Martin Corp, General Electric Co and Raytheon Co will take part in the project if a deal is eventually reached, DSCA said in a statement.

For the Gulf states, diplomacy involves buying weapons they don’t need (2018)

The Militarization of Qatar (2018)


Assessing Trump’s Afghanistan Peace Plan (2019)

How the US is indirectly arming the Taliban (2018)

Russia arming the Afghan Taliban (2018)


Europe is top destination for US arms sales in 2018  (2018) European countries were the top customers for proposed foreign arms sales by U.S. defense companies in fiscal 2018, according to the latest update of Bloomberg Government’s Foreign Military Sales Dashboard. The 2018 FMS notifications — representing a total of almost $70 billion in sales — don’t represent deals that have closed, just intended purchases by foreign nations…The highest-value European notification was for a $10.5 billion sale to Poland of an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) battle Command System (IBCS). The main contractors on this project are Raytheon Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., and Northrop Grumman Corp. The next-largest notification in Europe was for 34 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Belgium for $6.53 billion

Does NATO have the means to defend Europe? (2019). This is a a general argument that discusses Russia’s threat to Europe, especially the the Ukraine, Lithuania, and Poland and what the author suggests are inadequate efforts by Western Europe to defend itself against Russia. As of yet, it’s not clear how this article will be useful on this topic, but as cases related to Europe emerge, it may become useful.

Europe Missile Defense

Russia won’t like this: THAAD Missile Defense System Headed to Europe (2019). “At the request of NATO, the Secretary of Defense will deploy a U.S. Army Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to Romania this summer in support of NATO ballistic-missile defense,” U.S. European Command announced. Note: This article is . not about the sale of missile defense, but it is relevant to debates about missile defense in Europe.

Poland. Poland plans to buy 32 F-35 Fighters.  (2019). Poland plans to buy 32 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters to replace Soviet-era jets, Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Tuesday, amid the growing assertiveness of neighbor Russia. “Today we sent a request for quotation (LOR) to our American partners regarding the purchase of 32 F-35A aircraft along with a logistics and training package,” Blaszczak tweeted.

Poland is buying 32 F-35s, and Russia won’t like it (2019).

US-Poland Discuss Sale (2019)

F-35 Acquisition is not far away (2019)

US to send 1,000 more troops to Poland (2019)

Poland Missile Defense


Crucial Polish missile defense site delayed two years  (2018)

Poland signs $4.75 . billion missile defense deal (2018)

General Aff

Poland Integrated Air and Missile Defense (2017). The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Poland for an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS)-enabled Patriot Configuration-3+ with Modernized Sensors and Components for an estimated cost of $10.5 billion.  The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on November 14, 2017.

Russia sees Poland missile defense deal posing nuclear threat (2018). Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent defense analyst in Moscow, says some Russian military leaders fear the U.S. missile defense system planned for installation in Poland and the Czech Republic is really intended to deploy nuclear-armed missiles. Felgenhauer says some Russian military officials warn these missiles could present a deadly first-strike threat against Moscow. Felgenhauer says the Kremlin wants a new arms control treaty with the United States that limits missile defense capabilities. “Though many Democrats are rather skeptical about missile defense, the notion of missile defense is nevertheless popular in the United States, and I don’t believe that the two sides could approve any new treaty which will not forbid future development of a global missile defense,” he says

US to deliver missile shield to Poland, irritating Putin (2018)

Poland and Missile Defense: The Limits of Atlantacism (2017)

General Neg

Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance Poland (2018)


Poland signals Russian with huge missile defense deal (2018)

Poland investing in Missile defense to deter Russia (2018)

European air and missile defense: A Case for Integration (2018)


Turkey won’t get kicked-out of NATO, but it could become a member in name only (2019).

A hot summer for Turkey and the West (2019)

Containing the US-Turkish Crisis after the S-400s (2019)

Turkish Military, Defying US, Trains to Use Russian Missile Defense (2019). Turkey’s armed forces have begun training to use a Russian missile-defense system that it purchased despite U.S. warnings, deepening a rift between the two NATO allies. Turkey is scheduled to receive the Russian-made S-400 system in July and its military is training to operate it, a senior Turkish government official said in Washington on Wednesday. U.S. officials have said the S-400 system is incompatible with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s air defenses and urged Turkey, a NATO member, to cancel its order. Turkish leaders said the purchase has already been made, but left open the possibility of buying additional systems from the U.S. or elsewhere.

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said this month that he had asked defense contractors involved in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program to prepare plans to relocate production work from Turkey. The Pentagon said in April that it was suspending deliveryto Turkey of equipment for its F-35s, which are made by Lockheed Martin Corp. , because of its purchase of the S-400 system.

The day after the S-400 (2019). US-Turkey relations will get worse.

Turkey set to receive its first F-35 fighter jets, despite congressional opposition (2018). Despite opposition from Congress, Turkey will receive its first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets from the Pentagon’s top weapons supplier on Thursday. Following a formal handoff ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 facility in Fort Worth, Texas, the defense giant will ferry the aircraft to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona where Turkish pilots will begin training alongside U.S. airmen The two fifth-generation jets are the first of what the NATO member and F-35 program partner hopes will be the start of a 100-strong fleet. However, both House and Senate versions of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act contain restrictions on Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program due to Ankara’s plan to buy Russia’s advanced S-400 air defense system…“If you kick Turkey out of the F-35 program, you’re basically saying that they can’t be trusted with this fighter jet and that calls into question the NATO alliance.


Germany trails US as world’ s 4th largest arms supplier (2019)


Conventional arms transfers and the crisis of violence in Mexico (2017). US U .S. legal arms sales to the Mexican police and military have grown enormously, to $3.5 billion between late 2012 and April 2015—nearly 10 times as much as the three-year period of 2000- 2002, despite a climate of increasing fear and concern among Mexicans about state violence and impunity. These concerns have heightened in the wake of the September 2014 forced disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers school in the southern state of Guerrero, bringing global attention to the more than 27,000 people reported as forcibly disappeared in Mexico and 150,000 homicides since 2007, when then-President Felipe Calderón deployed the military to cities.1 A large volume of militarygrade assault weapons are also purchased on the open retail market in the United States and trafficked to Mexico for use by criminal organizations.


Congress: Stop Funding Duterte (2019). U.S. military aid, often through secretive and unaccountable conduits in the name of the War on Terror, is only making this internal conflict and the overall human rights crisis worse. U.S. military aid does not serve to defend the Philippines against invaders — rather, it is being turned against the vulnerable and marginalized, the journalists and human rights defenders, the dissenters. History has shown that when the U.S. has made geopolitical calculations at the expense of people’s human rights, that has only fomented insecurity in the form of utter collapse. As the biggest military power around the globe by far, the U.S. should prioritize stopping support to Duterte. An overblown military presence in Asia Pacific only invites an arms race with China. We must stop relying on militarization to ensure security.

US looking forward to possible arms deals with the Phillippines (2019).

It’s time to end US military aid to the Philippines (2018) This article discusses military aid and not sales that are provided to the Phillipine military

Southeast Asia

An arms race in Southeast Asia? Changing Arms Dynamics, Regional Security and the Role of European Arms Exports  (2017). This obviously discusses the role that European exports plan . in promoting insecurity in the region. It might be good for solvency arguments against a case.



South Asia

Power Defiance Redefined (2019). The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) released its May 2019 issue of Strategic Security Analysis titled, “The Arms Trade Treaty and Asia’s Major Power Defiance – India, China, Pakistan and Indonesia”. The paper has raised a number of issues regarding the gaps within the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) while highlighting what the four Asian States- India, Pakistan, Indonesia and China- find problematic in acceding to the Treaty.

The paper brings to the forefront the genuine causes of concern for these Asian states: Indonesia not only has apprehensions on the notion of conditionality within the Treaty, but is equally wary of the Treaty’s inability to address the non-state actor threat and to curb transit and transhipment of illicit arms. Pakistan is not sure of being able to meet its Treaty obligations specific to arms trafficking as it has a porous border with Afghanistan. The non-participation of other major powers is a significant factor in China’s refusal to join the Treaty. And lastly, India does not believe that the Treaty addressed its causes of concern on illicit trade and imbalance in obligations between the exporting and importing States.

The Arms Trade Treaty and Asia’s Major Power Defiance (2019)

Despite worldwide support of 130 states, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has failed to attract membership from countries in Asia, one of the largest arms importing regions.

• One set of explanations for this reluctance to join an international regime of conventional arms trade regulation is related to the fear of restrictions on the imports of weapons seen as necessary in a context of protracted conflicts and rising tensions among key states in Asia. Another argument is the interpretation of the ATT as not directly prohibiting arms transfers to non-state actors, such as terrorist groups.

• Another reason is the efforts of some Asian states to develop their own arms industry and exports to reduce dependency on external suppliers and project influence in the region.

• One of the main criticisms from the Asian states about the ATT relates to the criteria of export risk assessment (Article 7), which, in their view, gives undue advantages to exporting countries.

• It would be desirable to promote some dialogue between State Parties and Asian non-parties and signatories to assess the benefits from and the difficulties in implementing the Treaty and address the objections of nonparties. Amending the Treaty will be easier if Asian countries accede to it


Vietnam is the Chinese Military’s Preferred Warm Up. (2019). Even with realistic training, the PLA can only go so far. At some point the military will need to test its new capabilities and the training it has honed over time. If the PLA has any say in the matter, which it might, then it would very likely prefer to fight Vietnam once again as a warm-up to larger battles, but this time in the South China Sea. There are at least three reasons why Vietnam is likely in the PLA’s crosshairs.



US Foreign Aid to Israel (2018).  This report provides an overview of U.S. foreign assistance to Israel. It includes a review of past aid programs, data on annual assistance, and analysis of current issues. For general information on Israel, see CRS Report RL33476, Israel: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti. Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $134.7 billion (current, or noninflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance.

Can Israel survive without America? (2017)

Affirmative — General

Jeff Warner and Victor Rothman, (2018), “Speak Out on Israeli Excessive Force, Using U.S.‐Supplied Weapons Against Gaza Civilians,” CityWatch Los Angeles. “It is essential that Congress enforce its own laws by restricting future U.S. arms sales to Israel, as well as to Saudi Arabia and Egypt for their similar use of U.S.‐supplied weapons against civilians.”

Staggering cost of US foreign aid to Israel (2018).

US security assistance to Israel (2018).

Has Israel grown too dependent on the US? (2018)

Freezing arms to Israel is a first step (2018).

How did Israel become a major arms dealer? (2018)

It’s time to end the blank check of US military aid to Israel (2019)

US-Israel “special relationship” subsidizes the American military industry (2019)

US and Israel create groundbreaking missile defense exercise (2019)

Is Israel ready for war? (2019)

Israeli arms sales skyrocket — increasing 41.5% in one year (2018)

Foreign aid that costs and arm and a leg — literally (2019)

Trump Wants to Sell Deadly Weapons to the Middle East; What Does This Mean for Israel (2018)

U.N. Human Rights Council mulls call to end arms sales to Israel (2018)

US Military aid to Israel: Policy implications and options (2012) The US provides aid and some sales…

iraFrom 1949 to 2008, the U.S. government provided Israel more than $103.6 billion of total official aid, making it the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance in the post-World War II era. In 2007, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding providing for $30 billion of U.S. military aid from 2009 to 2018. Between FY2000 and 2009, the United States gave Israel $24.1 billion of military aid.

*Foreign Military Sales (FMS). Through this program, the Defense Department contracted, financed and delivered to Israel more than 9,500 weapons, valued at more than $10 billion. •

*Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). Through this program, the State Department approved the licensing, financing, and delivery to Israel of more than 670 million weapons, valued at more than $8.5 billion.

US Aid to Israel: What You Need to Know (2019). This article identifies the political difficulties and need for legislation to reduce military aid (which allows Israel to buy arms) to Israel.

Obama’s MOU increased Foreign Military Financing (FMF) from $3 billion per year to $3.3 billion. It also guaranteed an additional $500 million per year for missile defense funding. The previous MOU, negotiated by George W. Bush, required the president to request separate funding for missile defense every year.

Total aid rose from $3 billion to $3.8 billion annually, but it came with some new conditions. Over the course of the 10-year agreement, a special exception allowing Israel to use up to 26.3 percent of FMF aid money for “off shore procurement” (OSP) will phase out. OSP refers to materials bought from sources outside the United States. Israel’s exception meant that it could spend 26.3 percent of the money it got with Israeli companies, granting the Israeli weapons and technology industry a significant boost.

The old MOU, for instance, permitted Israel to use up to $400 million of the annual FMF grant to buy jet fuel. This privilege was discontinued in FY ’19, meaning that Israel will have to purchase the fuel with its own funds. This reflects Obama’s driving purpose behind these changes: to maximize the benefits to U.S. corporations by increasing the FMF funds that return to the U.S. market.

Affirmative — Re-Export

Southeast Asia Can’t get enough of Israel’s weapons (2016).

Israel is providing weapons to UAE violators (2019)

What’s behind Israel’s growing ties with China? (2018)


British Arms Sales to Israel reach record level (2018).

Myth: Israel is the largest benificiary of US aid (2017)

The underground tunnels of the Middle East (2019). The use of subterranean networks by militant groups and hybrid forces is a growing feature of modern warfare. In no country is the tactical and strategic development of tunnels more evident than in Israel, which is in an underground arms race with Hamas and Hezbollah on its southern and northern borders, respectively.  The more the Israel Defense Forces has improved its intelligence and precision-strike capabilities in recent decades, the more Hezbollah and Hamas have descended belowground. At first, this move was primarily defensive — meant to hide, fortify, store, and protect military assets – but over time offensive assault tunnels have also proliferated. And despite Israel’s extensive investment in advanced technological means of detection, it appears Hamas and Hezbollah will continue placing great emphasis on underground capabilities. While the two groups clearly learn from each other’s experiences against Israel, they are not the only ones. Indeed, tunnels feature in recent fighting in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere.




US looks to sell ground attack aircraft to Nigeria (2017). The Trump administration is likely to sell roughly a dozen ground attack aircraft to Nigeria for the country’s fight against Boko Haram militants, the Associated Press reported Monday.

The proposed sale of Embraer A-29 Super Tucanos has been in the works for more than a year. In May, Reuters reported that Obama administration officials — buoyed by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s military and anti-corruption reforms — had warmed to the idea of the sale.



Why arms sales to the Ukraine are a bad idea (2017) It’s It’s been a very bad month for Washington’s relations with Moscow, culminating in the Trump administration’s ill-advised decision to authorize the commercial saleof “defensive” weapons to Ukraine.  The flippant comment that Secretary of Defense James Mattis expressed earlier in Kiev apparently summarizes the administration’s attitude.  According to Mattis, “defensive weapons are not provocative unless you are an aggressor, and clearly Ukraine is not an aggressor.” The reality is that given the already lengthy record of U.S. meddling in Ukraine, especially encouraging the demonstrators who overthrew the country’s pro-Russian elected president in 2014, moving to arm Ukraine is extremely provocative. That country not only is in Russia’s sphere of influence, it is the single most important entity in Russia’s core security zone.


Why the US must stand by the Ukraine (2019)

The US must confront its adversaries in the gray zone (2019)


Key Takeaways from Trump’s meeting with Abe (2019) Japan agreed to buy 105 F-35 stealth planes from the US. Trump said: “(They’re) stealth because the fact is you can’t see them.”

US approves $600 million in air defense missiles to South Korea and Japan (2019). The United States has approved more than $600 million in sales of air defense missiles to South Korea and Japan as tensions return with North Korea.

Trump Abe Connection (2019). President Trump and Prime Minister Abe’s summit in Japan will be light on policy, instead focusing on the strength of the U.S.-Japan partnership. Wrinkles in the alliance exist nonetheless.

Japan’s Future Fighter program and the US-Japan alliance (2019)

Japan OKs record arms spending that favors US equipment (2018).  A spending spree on mostly U.S.‐made equipment means Japan’s defense planners are being forced to curtail domestic programs that would help local defense contractors such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries maintain their military industrial base

Ruling party panel calls for doubling Japan’s defense budget (2018)

Japan open for arms business (2018)

Coming Soon: Japan and South Korea Armed to The Teeth with New Weapons (2018)

Japan Wants to Buy Tomahawk Cruise Missiles (2017)

Japan’s Pursuit Of More Military Power Will Reignite Disputes With China (2018)

South Korea

The rise of South Korea’s defense industry and its impact on South Korean relations (2019)

South Korea THAAD

THAAD on the Korean Peninsula (2017). It doesn’t appear that THAAD is an arms sale, as the US gave it to South Korea (or at least paid for it), but if this because a case this is a good backgrounder on the issue.


Scott Morrison’s win and the US-Australia alliance (2019).


Trump’s push for lethal drone exports reaps few rewards (2018). This article says the Trump administration has tried to relax export controls on drones to better compete with China but that Air Force regulations prohibit the export of similar platforms.

US scrambling as China “sells the hell out of” armed drones (2019)

Trump administration seeks to encourage arms sales abroad, including drones (2018). The Trump administration rolled out new policies on Thursday designed to bolster the U.S. arms industry by facilitating more sales to foreign countries, including provisions that will loosen restrictions on the export of American-made drones.

Why one nation is selling off its Chinese combat drones (2019)

Trump to boost export of lethal drones to US allies (2018)

Trump administration seeks to expand sales of armed drones (2018).

Hawking drones to allies: The Trump administration loosens arms sales policy (2018)

An action plan on US drone policy (2018)

China has already won the drone wars (2018)

Trump administration launches a review of drone export regulations (2017).

The Trump administration has officially launched a review of an Obama-era drone export policy, with expectations in industry that the administration will make it easier to export U.S.-manufactured systems.

For months, rumors have floated among both the defense industry and arms control communities that the Trump administration plans to change the 2015 export law that controls what unmanned aerial vehicles can be sold to allies.

Why Obama is letting China beat the US at global drone sales (2015)

Firearm Exports

Don’t ease export rules on firearms (2019). This article discusses how Trump eased the rules on export restrictions of firearms. It is not clear that putting the restrictions back on would be an on face reduction in sales or that these are arms sales — FMS or DCS.

Small Arms

Proposed Small Arms Transfers: Big Changes for US Policy. (2019). To sum up my forthcoming remarks in just a few lines: The weapons and ammunition that are currently controlled under U.S. Munition List Categories I-III belong there and should stay there. There are many concerns about the administration’s proposal to move semiautomatic and select other weapons to the Commerce Control List, from arms control, human rights, and gun safety groups, to mention a few. The best way to move forward is to strengthen the State Department’s capacity and for Congress to better use its authority, not to transfer responsibility to an arm of the executive branch whose mission is to promote sales and for Congress to abdicate oversight.

Dribbs and Drabbs: Understanding Small Arms Sales Trafficking from the US (2018)

Stopping the destructive spread of small arms (2010)


Trump should have already left NATO (2019)

NATO Has a Future (2019)


International market for F-35 heats up (2019). Twelve countries have committed to orders of the F-35 joint strike fighter either as formal partner nations or through foreign military sales. As production of the fifth-generation systems ramp up, the joint program office and manufacturer Lockheed Martin are looking to expand their global footprint even further. Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom currently are in formal partnership with the United States on the F-35 program. Israel, Japan and South Korea have made orders through the foreign military sales process. Belgium also recently signed on to purchase platforms. Vice Adm. Mathias Winter, program executive officer for the F-35 joint program office, said his team is currently examining a number of new potential FMS candidates. These include nations such as Singapore, Greece, Romania, Spain and Poland, he said in written testimony to the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical and land forces in April.



The Case for Arms Embargoes against uncooperative partners (2019).  This article answers claims that arms sales cuts are not effective, that they result in simple fill-in by other suppliers, and that they reduce US influence.

US arms manufacturers are abetting crimes against humanity (2018)

Indefensible The Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade (2017). Although there is often opposition to individual wars, many people continue to believe that the arms industry is necessary in some form: to safeguard our security, provide jobs, or stimulate the economy. For these reasons, not only conservatives, but many progressives and liberals, are able to rationalize supporting it. But is the arms industry truly as essential as we’ve been led to believe?   Indefensible puts forward a devastating challenge to this conventional wisdom, debunking many myths about the industry that has somehow managed to normalize the existence of the most savage weapons of mass destruction ever known.

Editor Paul Holden, who himself has written extensively about arms deals, has compiled the essential handbook for those who want to counter the arguments put forth by the industry and its supporters. Deploying statistics, case studies, and irrefutable evidence to demonstrate how the arguments in favor of the arms trade are fundamentally flawed, both factually and logically, the contributors to this volume clearly show that far from protecting us, the arms trade undermines our security by fanning the flames of war, terrorism, and global instability.

Bringing together a range of distinguished experts and activists, including Andrew Feinstein, author of After the Party and The Shadow World, Indefensible not only reveals the complex dangers associated with the arms trade but offers positive ways in which we can combat the arms trade’s malignant influence, reclaim our democracies, and reshape our economies in the interests of peace and human well-being.

The false promise of Trump’s arms sales (2019). This article answers the claims that arms sales boost jobs and enhance regional stability.

The arms trade and oil dependence 

America needs to rethink who it sells arms to (2018)

Time to rethink America’s vast arms deals (2018)

Risky Business: The Role of Arms Sales in US Foreign Policy  (2018)

How the “Prevent American Arms Sales Act” Could prevent a catastrophe

French MOD rebukes Trump’s arms sales focus (2019)



Arms sales and the situation of civilians in armed conflict (2017)

The global arms trade: A major cause of suffering 

The Human cost of European arms sales 

America’s arms sales Policy: Security Abroad, Not a Home (2018)

Risky Business: The Role of Arms Sales in Foreign Policy (2018)

Slowing proliferation of major conventional weapons (2017)

Increased military aggression

Arms sales: Pouring gas on the fires of conflict (2018)

Arms transfer policy and foreign dependence (1998). This older article presents statistic evidence that claims that countries that are recipients of arms sales are more militarily aggressive.

The build-up of coercive capacities: Arms imports and the outbreak of violent intrastate conflicts (2018)

Just how big is the international arms trade? (2017) …while arms imports are not a genuine cause of intrastate conflicts, they significantly increase the probability of an onset in countries where conditions are notoriously conducive to conflict. In such situations, arms are not an effective deterrent but rather spark conflict escalation.”


With Great Power: Modifying arms sales to reduce civilian harm (2018). International arms sales represent an enduring and prominent feature of American foreign policy. The United States sells or licenses the sale of weapons to other governments to advance its foreign policy, security, and economic interests. But when US-made or sold weapons fall into the wrong hands or become associated with corruption, human rights abuses, violations of the laws of war, and human suffering, the United States may be exposed to legal, moral, reputational, and strategic risks. This report assesses existing controls and identifies ways to modify the US arms sales process to reduce civilian harm associated with US-sold weapons, while preserving the intended policy benefits of international arms sales.

The organized hypocrisy of western foreign policy (2017)

The Ethics of the International Arms Trade (1997)

The tangled web of illicit arms trafficking (no date)

The tangled web: Inside the Gobal arms trade (2018)

Arms sales in the Middle East (2017)

Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

What is happening to the ATT? (2017)

The truth about the ATT (2017)

Understanding the Arms Trade Treaty from a humanitarian perspective (2017)

The Arms Trade Treaty at a Glance (2016)

Power and Change: Arms Trade Treaty (2017)

Applying the Arms Trade Treaty to ensure the protection of human rights (2017)

Risk and the arms sales process (2016) .  This article discusses risks in complying with provisions of the Arms Transfer Treaty (ATT) that Trump just withdrew from.

Human Rights

 Will human rights survive in a multipolar world? (2019). This article argues that while the growth of human rights promotion world-wide as depended onUS/Western leadership that the best way to protect human rights over the long-term is to use a less aggressive approach and adoptmore flexibility.

Trump’s damning retreat on global human rights  (2017)

Small arms and light weapons control (2017)


US sells arms to 73% of the world’s dictatorships (2017)

Women’s Rights

The impact of arms transfers and spending on women’s rights (2017)


How the Islamic State Got Its Weapons (2018). Irresponsible arms transfers by countries including the UK, USA, Russia, China, Germany and France have provided the armed group with a huge and lethal arsenal.


Solvency Answers

The global arms trade is booming, buyers are spoiled for choice (2018). This is a good article to support the alternate suppliers argument – -it says that countries can get weapons from many different suppliers.


General – Arms sales good

What progressives miss about arms sales (2017)

The case against arms embargoes, even against Saudi Arabia (2019). This

China fill-in bad

Bibliography @ China Fill-in Bad 

Russia and China fill-in bad

US paying countries not to buy weapons from Russia (2019). This article says that right now the US is giving aid to countries that stop buying weapons from Russia and replace their weapons with US weapons.

Russia Makes Some of the Deadliest Weapons on Earth (But There Is a Problem) (2019). This article argues that Russia’s economy isn’t strong enough to sustain its defense industry and that Russian arms sales are needed to sustain the industry. It also argues that the Russian defense industry is in decline now and that that it needs to grow in order order to sustain Russian military power projection.

The case against arms embargoes, even against Saudi Arabia (2019). The article argues that if countries can’t get arms from the US that they will purchase arms from Russia.

Russia and China targeting Middle East sales (2019). The article generally describes how the US and Russia (and China) compete in the Middle East for arms sales.

Russia does not set extra political, economic conditions for arms sales (2019).   This article says that Russia does not add any extra conditions to its arms sales, making the arms easy to purchase.

Russia v. China: The race to dominant the arms defense market (2017)

Instability good/high oil prices good (green energy)

Allied Proliferation — Japan

Iran Aggression

The United States’ soft war strategy with Iran (2019). New analysis from the CSIS Transnational Threats Project examines Iran’s attempt to export soft power across the globe and compete ideologically with the United States. The report also analyzes the weaknesses of Iran’s “soft war” strategy and outlines policy options for the United States.

The Arab Gulf States and Iran: Military Spending, Modernization, and the Shifting Military Balance (2017)

US Strategy, the Iran Nuclear Agreement, and the Gulf (2018)

Trump has no coherent strategy on Iran. Astonishingly, neither does Israel  (2018).  A second option is a U.S. effort to forge a regional anti‐Iranian alliance, based on the Gulf states, Egypt, and Jordan, with Israel’s at least indirect involvement. Formation of an alliance of this sort would require an increase in U.S. arms sales, a strengthened American military presence in the region, provision of some sort of U.S. security guarantee for the participating states and growing coordination between them and Israel

China Aggression

The China aggression/threat bibliography is here.


Russia won’t try to start a (conventional) war in the Baltics (2019)

US, Russia must work to thaw relations (2019). This article argues that we need to reduce tensions with Russia in order to avoid conflict.

How reflexive hostility towards Russia harms US interests (2019). This article says that it is politically impossible cooperate with Russia but that we should do so instead of having hardline measures. It’s an okay article, but it’s probably better for politics links against softline toward Russia cases than as answers to this disadvantage.

Can deterrence and sanctions bridle Russia? (2017).  This article argues that deterrence could potentially work against Russia but that current deterrence postures are seen as Russia, encircling Russia and risking confrontation.


— Answers

Counterterrorism efforts proving counterproductive (2018)

Corruption in counterterrorism aid programs (2018)

US Politics

(a) 2020 Election

(b) Political Capital

Warren Proposes Crack-Down on Defense Lobbying (2019)

Brass Parachutes: The Big Problem of the Pentagon Revolving Door (2018).  lA POGO investigation found that from 2008 to the present over 380 high-ranking Department of Defense officials and military officers became lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for defense contractors within two years of leaving the Department.



Conditioning Arms sales to build leverage (2018)

Trump Should Give Saudi Arabia a Choice (2017)

Proces/Alternatives to Bans

Reforming US Export Control Reforms (2015)

— Answers

When ‘Anxious Scrutiny’ of Arms Exports Facilitates Humanitarian Disaster (2017)


US-China War Answers

China isn’t interested in war with American (2019)

Conflict with China is not inevitable (2019)

Kritiks — Arms Specific

Reconceptualizing Arms Control: Controlling the Means of Mass Violence (2018)

Arms transfers and dependence. Geneva: Taylor and Francis. Grimmett, Richard F. 2008.

Conventional arms transfers to developing nations, 1999-2006. (2007)

Kritiks — Capitalism

Arms Manufacturers Tell Investors That Iran Tension Fuels Business (2019). DEFENSE EXECUTIVES FROM around the country crowded into Goldman Sachs’ glimmering tower in downtown Manhattan in mid-May, eager to present before a conference of bankers and financial analysts. While much of the world was on edge over simmering tension in the Middle East, as the U.S. and its allies have stoked tensions with Iran, the businessmen at the conference talked of opportuni

If War Is an Industry, How Can There Be Peace in a Capitalist World? (2019). This article argues that capitalism is the underlying driver of the war economy.

A Green New Deal Needs to Fight US Militarism (2019). This article argues that we need to invest the resources we put into the war economy into reducing poverty and improving the environment

Capitalism is Not Broken (2019)

IR Theory

IR Theory and the Game of Thrones are Both Fantasies (2019). They draw on the same narrow slice of European history—and get it wrong anyway.