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Lobbyists Rejoice as US Arms Sales Soar as Trump Tells NATO Nations to Double Their Spending on Weapons


July 22, 2018
RT News

The US has sold more weapons to its foreign allies in the first six months of the year than in the whole of 2017 much to the delight of military industrial complex lobbying groups. But, as the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas notes, increased weapons spending championed by Donald Trump at the NATO summit will not make the world safer. What is needed, instead, is "respect for international order."

https://www.rt.com/usa/433843-us-arm-sales-farnborough/

Lobbyists Rejoice as US Sells
More Arms in 6 Months than in Whole of 2017

RT News

(July 21, 2018) -- Despite the tariff standoff with the EU, the US has sold more weapons to its foreign allies in the first six months of the year than in the whole of 2017 much to the delight of military industrial complex lobbying groups.

The figures from the last fiscal year, which stood at $41.9 billion, have already been surpassed by $5 billion and were reached in just the first two quarters of 2018, Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), told Defense News at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK.

"Defense exports are good for our national security, they're good for our foreign policy. And they're good for our economic security. And as the administration and our leadership has said, economic security is national security," Hooper said.

Despite the tariff standoff with the EU, the US has sold more weapons to its foreign allies in the first six months of the year than in the whole of 2017 much to the delight of military industrial complex lobbying groups.

The figures from the last fiscal year, which stood at $41.9 billion, have already been surpassed by $5 billion and were reached in just the first two quarters of 2018, Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), told Defense News at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK.

"Defense exports are good for our national security, they're good for our foreign policy. And they're good for our economic security. And as the administration and our leadership has said, economic security is national security," Hooper said.

The Trump administration views arms trade as one of the main driving forces to assure the growth of the US economy. Earlier this week, the State Department announced its action plan to implement the Conventional Arms Transfer policy (CAT), which adds "economic security" as a factor when the government is considering the approval of arms sales and urges the executive branch to more aggressively advocate on behalf of the US defense industry in its competition with Russia and China.

"So I think the overwhelming response to these changes from our partners has been very positive. In fact, now they'd like to know: 'How this is going to affect me, how can I take more advantage of receiving the best equipment and best capabilities from the United States?'" the DSCA head said.

However, Defense News said that the buyers of US weapons expressed concerns at Farnborough over Trump's general economic policies, including the introduction of harsh tariffs on steel and aluminum against the EU, and said that the industry was currently in "wait-and-see mode."

When addressed on the issue, Hooper replied that he "personally [has] not encountered" such attitudes.

"I have talked to many of our partners from around the world and of course our partners in this part of the world, and many of them remain convinced that the US solutions to their security problems are the solutions they're looking for and the best solutions to their problems," he said.

Defense News also pointed out that this year's high arms sales weren't entirely due to the current administration, as a significant part of the sum came from deals that were signed under Obama, but were closed in 2018. The publication also said that defense total figures have a tendency to fluctuate year by year, saying that they stood at $47 billion in the fiscal year 2015 but then dropped to $33.6 billion a year later.

Also on Friday, America's largest business lobby, the US Chamber of Commerce Defense and Aerospace Export Council (DAEC), voiced its satisfaction over the planned implementation of CAT.

The council president, Keith Webster, described the White House initiative as "a major first step toward improving government decision processes and policies."

The Conventional Arms Transfer includes policy changes prioritized by DAEC that will "improve bid timeliness while reducing costs to industries, place emphasis on economic considerations in the federal transfer decision process, and expand trade promotion," Webster said in a statement.



'Spending '4% on Military Will Not Make World
More Secure' -- German Foreign Minister

RT News

(July 14, 2018) -- Increased defense spending championed by the US President Donald Trump at the NATO summit will not make the world safer, the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, adding that respect for international order is needed instead.

"We know that peace and security come at a price," Maas said in a Twitter post on Saturday, just days after the end of the NATO summit in Brussels, at which Trump attempted to press the US allies into increasing their military spending not up to two but up to four percent of GDP -- something that many European nations were not apparently pleased with.

At the end of the summit, Trump virtually congratulated himself on what he thought to have been his major victory in the field of "more equal" defense spending within the Alliance. However, it soon turned out that at least some of his allies were not eager to fulfill his demands.

"Four percent [spent] on military spending will, however, not make our world any more secure," Maas said in the same tweet, a rebuke apparently aimed at Trump. "Instead, we urgently need more respect to the international rules and order," he added.

More weapons do not automatically mean more security, the minister then told the German DPA news agency, adding that Trump's demands "have nothing to do with serious security policy." He also criticized the US for becoming "less reliable" as a partner and called on Europe to take the matter of security in its own hands.

The German foreign minister also went on to actually accuse the US leader of putting the entire architecture of European security at risk. He particularly slammed Trump for what he said was effectively a PR stunt at the expense of the US allies.

"This is not about the steepest tweet or the highest ratings; this is about our common security!" Maas told Der Spiegel weekly following the summit. "Europe can't accept that what's been built up over many years is intentionally damaged for the thrill of being provocative," he added.

Meanwhile, the former leader of the German Social Democrats and the head of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz accused the US president of "deliberately [driving] a wedge" between the NATO members with his demands for increased spending and said he "endangers the global peace."

US-German relations have been akin to a spat recently as Trump accused Germany of being "captive of Russia" due to its reliance on Russia's energy. He particularly accused Germans of "paying billions of dollars" to Moscow while still asking Washington "to defend them against Russia."

His rant immediately provoked an angry reaction from Berlin as Angela Merkel argued that Germany is "the second largest provider of troops" for NATO and actually "defends the interests of the United States. "Maas went a little bit further at that time as he said that his nation is not a prisoner, "neither of Russia nor of the United States."

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also accused the US leader of trying to destabilize European unity with his antics.

As for the increased defense spending, Trump's claims about the NATO members reaching an agreement on raising the military expenditures to four percent of GDP were disproven by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said 29 members of NATO simply reiterated that they were planning to gradually increase defense spending to the 2 percent benchmark.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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