Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) has just published its report on the global arms trade. For the first time since 2005, in the last five years (2016-2020) less weapons were bought than in the previous five years (-0.5%), for just over 95,000 million dollars a year. The decline in Russian and Chinese exports contrasts with the increase in sales from the US, France and Germany.
The US increased its sales by 15% and is consolidated as the main global exporter with 37% of the total, Russia 20%, France 8%, Germany almost the same as China by 5.5% and Great Britain 3%. same as Spain. Saudi Arabia, ruled by a violent obscurantist tyranny, established itself as the first global importer, increasing its acquisitions by 61%. While Qatar multiplied its purchases of military equipment by almost five.
For example, Turkey’s friction with Greece and Egypt over hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean have caused Athens and Cairo to strengthen their naval capacity. The Egyptian regime, the third largest recipient in the world, bought 136% more weapons than in the previous five years. And, by the way, there are many doubts about the transparency in the handling of funds, not to say that the corruption that often accompanies arms trafficking is obvious.
The largest importers are Saudi Arabia with 11% of the global total, India 10%, Egypt 6% and Australia 5% as well as China. On the other hand, the British government decided to expand its arsenal of nuclear weapons for the first time since the fall of the USSR and will raise the arsenal of warheads from 180 to 260, an increase of almost 45%, citing Russia, and to a lesser extent to China, as the main threats.
In short, if something is clear from this report is that the buyers of weapons are the States, the “illegal” – outside the State – are not even included in the statistics since they are completely marginal. Another thing that is noticeably clear is that the “defensive” reasons are precisely based on state impositions. For example, “the defense” of borders and limits imposed by politicians, since ordinary citizens have no problem crossing the dividing lines, designed by bureaucrats, to trade or simply visit friends and places.
Of course, the excuse of “peaceful” States is that they want arms to “deter” any attack. Beyond the fact that defense is somewhat arbitrary, since all the attackers claim to defend themselves against something, if the weapons were dissuasive, terrorism would not exist, which has a much lower military capacity, nor would the guerrillas have won the Vietnam War.
The unspeakable truth of all this is that the States are the monopoly of violence, they are violence, with which they impose from their borders, and going through the necessary coercive demand for taxes without which they could not exist, even “laws” of all kinds that, precisely, are coercive impositions in contrast to the laws of nature such as gravity or the need for a man and a woman for procreation.
Corollary: it would be utopian to think that States disappear, but if we want fewer weapons and more production for life, if we want peace, we must work so that they shrink, so that they resort less and less to violence and its coercive impositions.
* Senior Advisor at The Cedar Portfolio and Member of the Advisory Council of the Center on Global Prosperity, de Oakland, California