A Step Towards Ploughshares?

The U.S. entered into $37.8 billion worth of arms agreements in 2008. This, according to the Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, represents 68.4 percent of all global arms business, and is up from the $25.4 billion the year before. Worldwide, however, probably due to the recession, arms sales declined. But the proportion of sales by the U.S. was particularly noticeable since the value of global sales for 2008 was $55.2 billion, actually a 7.6 percent decrease over 2007.
One can say the magnitude of the U.S. involvement, although a fraction of one percent of the GNP, involves a lot of jobs. In an economic downturn that is relevant. Besides we live in a world that uses arms, and therefore buys them. If the U.S. doesn’t sell them, then buyers will go somewhere else. Russia, for example, who just gave Venezuela a $2.2 billion line of credit for them to buy missiles, tanks and anti-rockets systems? Still what does such an involvement in arm sales say about our culture, our government, our values, our world? Ought it to occur with such little transparency and discussion? Does it advance us toward turning our swords into ploughshares, towards some sort of better way?