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Democracy in Crisis: Trump Threatens Freedom; US Supports 73% of World's Dictatorships


October 8, 2018
Michael J. Abramowitz / Freedom House & Rich Whitney / Truthout

Democracy faced its most serious crisis in decades in 2017 as its basic tenets -- including free and fair elections, the rights of minorities, press freedom, and the rule of law -- came under attack around the world. Some 71 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties. This marked the 12th consecutive year of decline. The US retreated from its traditional role as both a champion and an exemplar of democracy amid an accelerating decline in American political rights and civil liberties.

https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2018

Freedom in the World 2018: Democracy in Crisis
Michael J. Abramowitz / Freedom House

Key Findings
* Democracy faced its most serious crisis in decades in 2017 as its basic tenets -- including guarantees of free and fair elections, the rights of minorities, freedom of the press, and the rule of law -- came under attack around the world.

* Seventy-one countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties, with only 35 registering gains. This marked the 12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.

* The United States retreated from its traditional role as both a champion and an exemplar of democracy amid an accelerating decline in American political rights and civil liberties.

* Over the period since the 12-year global slide began in 2006, 113 countries have seen a net decline, and only 62 have experienced a net improvement.

(January 16, 2018) -- Political rights and civil liberties around the world deteriorated to their lowest point in more than a decade in 2017, extending a period characterized by emboldened autocrats, beleaguered democracies, and the United States' withdrawal from its leadership role in the global struggle for human freedom.

Democracy is in crisis. The values it embodies -- particularly the right to choose leaders in free and fair elections, freedom of the press, and the rule of law -- are under assault and in retreat globally.

A quarter-century ago, at the end of the Cold War, it appeared that totalitarianism had at last been vanquished and liberal democracy had won the great ideological battle of the 20th century.

Today, it is democracy that finds itself battered and weakened. For the 12th consecutive year, according to Freedom in the World, countries that suffered democratic setbacks outnumbered those that registered gains. States that a decade ago seemed like promising success stories -- Turkey and Hungary, for example -- are sliding into authoritarian rule.

The military in Myanmar, which began a limited democratic opening in 2010, executed a shocking campaign of ethnic cleansing in 2017 and rebuffed international criticism of its actions. Meanwhile, the world's most powerful democracies are mired in seemingly intractable problems at home, including social and economic disparities, partisan fragmentation, terrorist attacks, and an influx of refugees that has strained alliances and increased fears of the "other."

The challenges within democratic states have fueled the rise of populist leaders who appeal to anti-immigrant sentiment and give short shrift to fundamental civil and political liberties. Right-wing populists gained votes and parliamentary seats in France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria during 2017.

While they were kept out of government in all but Austria, their success at the polls helped to weaken established parties on both the right and left. Centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron handily won the French presidency, but in Germany and the Netherlands, mainstream parties struggled to create stable governing coalitions.

Perhaps worst of all, and most worrisome for the future, young people, who have little memory of the long struggles against fascism and communism, may be losing faith and interest in the democratic project. The very idea of democracy and its promotion has been tarnished among many, contributing to a dangerous apathy.

The retreat of democracies is troubling enough. Yet at the same time, the world's leading autocracies, China and Russia, have seized the opportunity not only to step up internal repression but also to export their malign influence to other countries, which are increasingly copying their behavior and adopting their disdain for democracy.

A confident Chinese president Xi Jinping recently proclaimed that China is "blazing a new trail" for developing countries to follow. It is a path that includes politicized courts, intolerance for dissent, and predetermined elections.

The spread of antidemocratic practices around the world is not merely a setback for fundamental freedoms. It poses economic and security risks. When more countries are free, all countries -- including the United States -- are safer and more prosperous. When more countries are autocratic and repressive, treaties and alliances crumble, nations and entire regions become unstable, and violent extremists have greater room to operate.

Democratic governments allow people to help set the rules to which all must adhere, and have a say in the direction of their lives and work. This fosters a broader respect for peace, fair play, and compromise. Autocrats impose arbitrary rules on their citizens while ignoring all constraints themselves, spurring a vicious circle of abuse and radicalization.

The US Accelerates its Withdrawal
From the Democracy Struggle

A long list of troubling developments around the world contributed to the global decline in 2017, but perhaps most striking was the accelerating withdrawal of the United States from its historical commitment to promoting and supporting democracy. The potent challenge from authoritarian regimes made the United States' abdication of its traditional role all the more important.

Despite the U.S. government's mistakes -- and there have been many -- the American people and their leaders have generally understood that standing up for the rights of others is both a moral imperative and beneficial to themselves.

But two long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and a global recession soured the public on extensive international engagement, and the perceived link between democracy promotion on the one hand and military interventions and financial costs on the other has had a lasting impact.

The Obama administration continued to defend democratic ideals in its foreign policy statements, but its actions often fell short, reflecting a reduced estimation of the United States' ability to influence world events and of the American public's willingness to back such efforts.

In 2017, however, the Trump administration made explicit -- in both words and actions -- its intention to cast off principles that have guided U.S. policy and formed the basis for American leadership over the past seven decades.

President Trump's "America First" slogan, originally coined by isolationists seeking to block U.S. involvement in the war against fascism, targeted traditional notions of collective global security and mutually beneficial trade. The administration's hostility and skepticism toward binding international agreements on the environment, arms control, and other topics confirmed that a reorientation was taking shape.

Even when he chose to acknowledge America's treaty alliances with fellow democracies, the president spoke of cultural or civilizational ties rather than shared recognition of universal rights; his trips abroad rarely featured any mention of the word "democracy." Indeed, the American leader expressed feelings of admiration and even personal friendship for some of the world's most loathsome strongmen and dictators.

This marks a sharp break from other U.S. presidents in the postwar period, who cooperated with certain authoritarian regimes for strategic reasons but never wavered from a commitment to democracy as the best form of government and the animating force behind American foreign policy.

It also reflects an inability -- or unwillingness -- by the United States to lead democracies in effectively confronting the growing threat from Russia and China, and from the other states that have come to emulate their authoritarian approach.

Democratic Norms Erode within the United States
The past year brought further, faster erosion of America's own democratic standards than at any other time in memory, damaging its international credibility as a champion of good governance and human rights.

The United States has experienced a series of setbacks in the conduct of elections and criminal justice over the past decade -- under leadership from both major political parties -- but in 2017 its core institutions were attacked by an administration that rejects established norms of ethical conduct across many fields of activity.

President Trump himself has mingled the concerns of his business empire with his role as president, appointed family members to his senior staff, filled other high positions with lobbyists and representatives of special interests, and refused to abide by disclosure and transparency practices observed by his predecessors.

The president has also lambasted and threatened the media -- including sharp jabs at individual journalists -- for challenging his routinely false statements, spoken disdainfully of judges who blocked his decisions, and attacked the professional staff of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He signals contempt for Muslims and Latin American immigrants and singles out some African Americans for vitriolic criticism. He pardoned a sheriff convicted of ignoring federal court orders to halt racially discriminatory policies and issued an executive order restricting travel to the United States from a group of Muslim-majority countries after making a campaign promise to ban all foreign Muslims from the United States.

And at a time when millions around the world have been forced to flee war, terrorism, and ethnic cleansing, President Trump moved to implement major reductions in the number of legal immigrants and refugees that the United States would accept.

The president's behavior stems in part from a frustration with the country's democratic checks and balances, including the independent courts, a coequal legislative branch, the free press, and an active civil society. These institutions remained fairly resilient in 2017, but the administration's statements and actions could ultimately leave them weakened, with serious consequences for the health of U.S. democracy and America's role in the world.

China and Russia expand their antidemocratic influence
While the United States and other democratic powers grappled with domestic problems and argued about foreign policy priorities, the world's leading autocracies -- Russia and China -- continued to make headway.

Moscow and Beijing are single-minded in their identification of democracy as a threat to their oppressive regimes, and they work relentlessly, with increasing sophistication, to undermine its institutions and cripple its principal advocates.

The eventual outcome of these trends, if unchecked, is obvious. The replacement of global democratic norms with authoritarian practices will mean more elections in which the incumbent's victory is a foregone conclusion.

It will mean a media landscape dominated by propaganda mouthpieces that marginalize the opposition while presenting the leader as omniscient, strong, and devoted to national aggrandizement.

It will mean state control over the internet and social media through both censorship and active manipulation that promotes the regime's message while confusing users with lies and fakery. And it will mean more corruption, injustice, and impunity for state abuses.

Already, Vladimir Putin's Russia has carried out disinformation campaigns before elections in countries including the United States, France, and Germany, cultivated ties to xenophobic political parties across Europe, threatened or invaded its closest neighbors, and served as an alternative source of military aid for Middle Eastern dictatorships. Its chief goal is to disrupt democratic states and fracture the institutions -- such as the European Union -- that bind them together.

Beijing has even greater ambitions -- and the resources to achieve them. It has built up a propaganda and censorship apparatus with global reach, used economic and other ties to influence democracies like Australia and New Zealand, compelled various countries to repatriate Chinese citizens seeking refuge abroad, and provided diplomatic and material support to repressive governments from Southeast Asia to Africa.

Moscow often plays the role of spoiler, bolstering its position by undercutting its adversaries, but the scope and depth of Beijing's activities show that the Chinese regime aspires to truly global leadership.

Corrupt and repressive states threaten global stability
The past year provided ample evidence that undemocratic rule itself can be catastrophic for regional and global stability, with or without active interference from major powers like Russia and China.

In Myanmar, the politically dominant military conducted a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim Rohingya minority, enabled by diplomatic cover from China and an impotent response from the rest of the international community.

Some 600,000 people have been pushed out, while thousands of others are thought to have been killed. The refugees have strained the resources of an already fragile Bangladesh, and Islamist militants have sought to adopt the Rohingya cause as a new rallying point for violent struggle.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan broadened and intensified the crackdown on his perceived opponents that began after a failed 2016 coup attempt. In addition to its dire consequences for detained Turkish citizens, shuttered media outlets, and seized businesses, the chaotic purge has become intertwined with an offensive against the Kurdish minority, which in turn has fueled Turkey's diplomatic and military interventions in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, authoritarian rulers in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt asserted their interests in reckless ways that perpetuated long-running conflicts in Libya and Yemen and initiated a sudden attempt to blockade Qatar, a hub of international trade and transportation. Their similarly repressive archrival, Iran, played its own part in the region's conflicts, overseeing militia networks that stretched from Lebanon to Afghanistan.

Promises of reform from a powerful new crown prince in Saudi Arabia added an unexpected variable in a region that has long resisted greater openness, though his nascent social and economic changes were accompanied by hundreds of arbitrary arrests and aggressive moves against potential rivals, and he showed no inclination to open the political system.

The humanitarian crisis produced in Venezuela by President Nicolás Maduro's determination to stay in power continued to drive residents to seek refuge in neighboring countries. But other Latin American states also proved problematic: Brazil's sprawling corruption investigations implicated leaders across the region. Mexico's embattled administration resisted reforms that would help address rampant graft, organized crime, and a crumbling justice system.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, incumbent rulers' ongoing use of violence to flout term limits helped to generate internal displacement and refugees. A deeply flawed electoral process in Kenya contributed to political violence there, while South Sudan's leaders chose to press on with a bloody civil war rather than make peace and face a long-overdue reckoning with voters.

North Korea presented one of the most glaring threats to world peace, aggressively building up its nuclear arsenal in an attempt to fortify an exceptionally oppressive and criminal regime.

Freedom in one country depends on freedom for all
Democracies generally remain the world's wealthiest societies, the most open to new ideas and opportunities, the least corrupt, and the most protective of individual liberties.

When people around the globe are asked about their preferred political conditions, they embrace democracy's ideals: honest elections, free speech, accountable government, and effective legal constraints on the police, military, and other institutions of authority.

In the 21st century, however, it is increasingly difficult to create and sustain these conditions in one country while ignoring them in another. The autocratic regimes in Russia and China clearly recognize that to maintain power at home, they must squelch open debate, pursue dissidents, and compromise rules-based institutions beyond their borders.

The citizens and leaders of democracies must now recognize that the reverse is also true: To maintain their own freedoms, they must defend the rights of their counterparts in all countries. The reality of globalization is that our fates are interlinked.

In August 1968, when Soviet tanks entered Czechoslovakia to put down the Prague Spring, a small group of dissidents gathered in Red Square in Moscow and unfurled a banner that read, "For your freedom and ours." Almost 50 years later, it is this spirit of transnational democratic solidarity and defiance in the face of autocracy that we must summon and revive.
. . . .
You can read the entire report online.

Michael J. Abramowitz is the president of Freedom House.

The following people were instrumental in the writing of this essay: Elen Aghekyan, Rukmani Bhatia, Jennifer Dunham, Shannon O'Toole, Arch Puddington, Sarah Repucci, Tyler Roylance, and Vanessa Tucker.



US Provides Military Assistance to
73 Percent of World's Dictatorships

Rich Whitney / Truthout

(September 23, 2017) -- For decades, the American people have been repeatedly told by their government and corporate-run media that acts of war ordered by their president have been largely motivated by the need to counter acts of aggression or oppression by "evil dictators."

We were told we had to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. We had to bomb Libya because Muammar Gaddafi was an evil dictator, bent on unleashing a "bloodbath" on his own people.

Today, of course, we are told that we should support insurgents in Syria because Bashar al-Assad is an evil dictator, and we must repeatedly rattle our sabers at North Korea's Kim Jong-un and Russia's Vladimir Putin because they, too, are evil dictators.

This is part of the larger, usually unquestioned mainstream corporate media narrative that the US leads the "Western democracies" in a global struggle to combat terrorism and totalitarianism and promote democracy.

I set out to answer a simple question: Is it true? Does the US government actually oppose dictatorships and champion democracy around the world, as we are repeatedly told?

The truth is not easy to find, but federal sources do provide an answer: No. According to Freedom House's rating system of political rights around the world, there were 49 nations in the world, as of 2015, that can be fairly categorized as "dictatorships."

As of fiscal year 2015, the last year for which we have publicly available data, the federal government of the United States had been providing military assistance to 36 of them, courtesy of your tax dollars. The United States currently supports over 73 percent of the world's dictatorships!

Most politically aware people know of some of the more highly publicized instances of this, such as the tens of billions of dollars' worth of US military assistance provided to the beheading capital of the world, the misogynistic monarchy of Saudi Arabia, and the repressive military dictatorship now in power in Egypt.

But apologists for our nation's imperialistic foreign policy may try to rationalize such support, arguing that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are exceptions to the rule. They may argue that our broader national interests in the Middle East require temporarily overlooking the oppressive nature of those particular states, in order to serve a broader, pro-democratic endgame.

Such hogwash could be critiqued on many counts, of course, beginning with its class-biased presumptions about what constitutes US "national interests." But my survey of US support for dictatorships around the world demonstrates that our government's support for Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not exceptions to the rule at all. They are the rule.

Sources and Methods
It was not easy to find out how many of the world's dictatorships are being supported by the United States. No one else seems to be compiling or maintaining a list, so I had to go at it by myself. Here is how I came up with my answer.

Step 1: Determine how many of the world's governments may be fairly characterized as dictatorships.

A commonly accepted definition of a "dictatorship" is a system of government in which one person or a small group possesses absolute state power, thereby directing all national policies and major acts -- leaving the people powerless to alter those decisions or replace those in power by any method short of revolution or coup.

I examined a number of websites and organizations that claimed to maintain lists of the world's dictatorships, but most of them were either dated, listed only the world's "worst dictators" or had similar limitations, and/or failed to describe their methodology. I ultimately was left with the annual Freedom in the World reports published by Freedom House as the best source for providing a comprehensive list.

This was not entirely satisfactory, as Freedom House has a decidedly pro-US-ruling-class bias. For example, it categorizes Russia as a dictatorship. In the introduction to its 2017 Freedom In the World report, it opines that "Russia, in stunning displays of hubris and hostility, interfered in the political processes of the United States and other democracies, escalated its military support for the Assad dictatorship in Syria, and solidified its illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory."

A more objective view would note that claims of interference in the US election by the Russian government have not been proven (unless one is inclined to take certain US intelligence agencies at their word); that Russia was asked by the UN-recognized Syrian government for assistance, in compliance with international law (unlike US acts of aggression and support for insurrection there); and would at least acknowledge that any Russian intervention in Ukraine occurred in the context of the United States' brazen support for a coup in that nation.

Nonetheless, the Freedom House reports appear to be the best (if not the only) comprehensive gauge of political rights and freedoms covering every nation in the world. It utilizes a team of about 130 in-house and external analysts and expert advisers from the academic, think tank and human rights communities who purportedly use a broad range of sources, including news articles, academic analyses, reports from nongovernmental organizations and individual professional contacts.

The analysts' proposed scores are discussed and defended at annual review meetings, organized by region and attended by Freedom House staff and a panel of expert advisers. The final scores represent the consensus of the analysts, advisers and staff, and are intended to be comparable from year to year and across countries and regions.

Freedom House concedes that, "although an element of subjectivity is unavoidable in such an enterprise, the ratings process emphasizes methodological consistency, intellectual rigor, and balanced and unbiased judgments."

One can remain skeptical, but a key consideration is that Freedom House's pronounced pro-US bias is actually a plus for purposes of this project. If its team of experts tilts toward a pro-US-government perspective, this means that it would indulge every presumption in favor of not categorizing nations supported by the United States as dictatorships.

In other words, if even Freedom House categorizes a government backed by the United States as a dictatorship, one can be fairly confident that its assessment, in that instance, is accurate.

For purposes of the present assessment, I used Freedom House's 2016 Freedom in the World report, even though its 2017 report is now available. I did so because the 2016 report reflects its assessment of political rights and civil liberties as they existed in 2015, which would roughly correspond with the military assistance and arms sales data that I had available for federal fiscal year 2015 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015) and calendar year 2015. (I will work on a new report when such data for fiscal year 2016 becomes available.)

Freedom House uses a scoring system to gauge a nation's "political rights" and "civil liberties," in order to rate each country as "free," "partly free" or "not free," with a range of scores for each category. It describes its scoring system as follows:
,I."A country or territory is assigned two ratings (7 to 1) -- one for political rights and one for civil liberties -- based on its total scores for the political rights and civil liberties questions. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the greatest degree of freedom and 7 the smallest degree of freedom, corresponds to a specific range of total scores.",/I.

For purposes of deciding whether a nation could be categorized as a "dictatorship," however, I focused only on the "political rights" scores, classifying nations with a political rights score of 6 or 7 as a dictatorship. This does not mean that civil liberties are unimportant, of course, but the objective here is to assess the degree of absolutism of the political leadership, not freedom of expression, press, etc.

Of course, in the overwhelming majority of cases, nations with low political rights scores also have low civil liberties scores. However, a political rights score of 6 or 7 corresponds most closely with our definition of dictatorship, based on Freedom House's characterization:

6 -- Countries and territories with a rating of 6 have very restricted political rights. They are ruled by one-party or military dictatorships, religious hierarchies, or autocrats. They may allow a few political rights, such as some representation or autonomy for minority groups, and a few are traditional monarchies that tolerate political discussion and accept public petitions.

7 -- Countries and territories with a rating of 7 have few or no political rights because of severe government oppression, sometimes in combination with civil war. They may also lack an authoritative and functioning central government and suffer from extreme violence or rule by regional warlords.


While it may be debatable whether it is appropriate to consider a country with no "functioning central government" as a dictatorship, I would submit that the label is appropriate if that nation is ruled de facto by warlords or rival armies or militias. In effect, that simply means that it is ruled by two or more dictators instead of one.

By Freedom House's measure, then, there were 49 nation-states that could be fairly characterized as dictatorships in 2015, as follows:
Afghanistan,
Algeria,
Angola,
Azerbaijan,
Bahrain,
Belarus,
Brunei,
Burundi,
Cambodia,
Cameroon,
Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa),
Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville),
Cuba,
Djibouti,
Egypt,
Equatorial Guinea,
Eritrea,
Ethiopia,
Gabon,
Gambia,
Iran,
Jordan,
Kazakhstan,
Laos,
Libya,
Mauritania,
Myanmar,
North Korea,
Oman,
Qatar,
Russia,
Rwanda,
Saudi Arabia,
Somalia,
South Sudan,
Sudan,
Swaziland,
Syria,
Tajikistan,
Thailand,
Turkmenistan,
Uganda,
United Arab Emirates,
Uzbekistan,
Vietnam and
Yemen.


It should be noted that Freedom House included in its ratings several other entities with a political rights score of 6 or 7 whose status as an independent state was itself disputed: Crimea, the Gaza Strip, Pakistani Kashmir, South Ossetia, Tibet, Transnistria, the West Bank and Western Sahara. My count of 49 dictatorships in the world in 2015 excludes these subordinated or disputed state territories.

Step 2: Determine which of the world's dictatorships received US-funded military or weapons training, military arms financing or authorized sales of military weapons from the United States in 2015.

For this step, I relied on four sources, the first two of which took considerable digging to locate:

A. "Foreign Military Training in Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016 Volume I and Volume II (Country Training Activities)," US Department of Defense and US Department of State Joint Report to Congress.

This is the most recent annual report, required by section 656 of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961, as amended (22 U.S.C. § 2416), and section 652 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161), which requires "a report on all military training provided to foreign military personnel by the Department of Defense and the Department of State during the previous fiscal year and all such training proposed for the current fiscal year," excluding NATO countries, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

This report provides data on US expenditures for military training programs under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants, the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, the Section 2282 Global Train and Equip (GT&E) program, the Aviation Leadership Program to provide pilot training (ALP), and the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) drawdown program, which authorizes the president to direct the drawdown of defense articles, services and training if an "unforeseen emergency exists that requires immediate military assistance to a foreign country" that cannot be met by other means.

Such expenditures are listed by recipient country, in some detail. For purposes of this study, I include expenditures under these programs as US-funded military training.

The report also provides data on US expenditures for narcotics and law enforcement, global peace operations, centers for security studies, drug interdiction and counter-drug activities, mine removal assistance, disaster response, non-lethal anti-terrorism training and other programs that I did not count as military assistance or training for purposes of this survey.

It is certainly more than possible that US assistance under these programs could play a role in providing de facto military assistance to recipient countries, but I err on the side of caution.

The report describes the IMET program as including civilian participants, and including training on "elements of U.S. democracy such as the judicial system, legislative oversight, free speech, equality issues, and commitment to human rights."

One could conceivably criticize my inclusion of IMET training, therefore, on the ground that it actually trains foreign civilians and soldiers in democratic, anti-dictatorial values. However, the IMET program is presumably called "military" training and education for a reason. It trains students in "increased understanding of security issues and the means to address them," and provides "training that augments the capabilities of participant nations' military forces to support combined operations and interoperability with U.S. forces."

Accordingly, I think it is fair to count IMET as a form of military assistance, while acknowledging that it arguably might, at times, play a pro-democracy role.

B. US Department of State, "Congressional Budget Justification FOREIGN ASSISTANCE SUMMARY TABLES, Fiscal Year 2017."

Table 3a of this publication provides the actual fiscal year allocations for foreign assistance programs, by country and by account, including the two programs that interest us here, Foreign Military Financing and IMET. In that regard, it is somewhat duplicative of the previous source, but I reviewed it as a check.

C. Department of Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Financial Policy And Analysis Business Operations, "Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales And Other Security Cooperation Historical Facts As of September 30, 2015."

This source provides the total dollar value of military articles and services sold to foreign governments for FY 2015, including the value of agreements for future deliveries and the value of actual deliveries, which I have provided in the table below. It also includes other data on foreign military financing (credit or grants) extended to foreign governments and provides yet another source on IMET training.

D. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), "Transfer of major conventional weapons: sorted by recipient. Deals with deliveries or orders made for year range 2015 to 2016."

SIPRI provides an interactive tool by which the user can generate a list of major weapons transfers by supplier, all or some recipients, and the year. Although it only counts "major" conventional weapons transfers, I reviewed it as an additional check on the accuracy of the chart. It essentially affirmed the accuracy of the DSCA report but there were some possible anomalies.

For example, the DSCA reports only $8,000 worth of military sales to Uganda in FY 2015 but SIPRI reports the transfer of 10 RG-33 armored vehicles, two Cessna-208 Caravan light transport planes, and 15 Cougar armored vehicles in 2015. The discrepancy may be due to the three-month difference between fiscal year 2015 and calendar year 2105, different methods of dating the transfer, differences in valuation or some unknown factor.

Step 3: Generate the Chart

The first column in the chart below lists the 49 countries classified by Freedom House as dictatorial in nature. The second column shows those nations that received some US military training in FY 2015, relying primarily on source B, but also checking source C.

The third column shows those nations that received an agreement for future military sales or transfers from the United States in FY 2015, with the dollar value of the military articles listed, based on source C, but also checking source D.

The fourth column shows those nations that received an actual delivery of military articles from the United States in FY 2015, with the dollar value of the military articles listed, based on source C, but also checking source D.





I plan on providing similar reports on US support for dictatorships around the world on an annual basis. I will begin work on a report covering Fiscal Year 2016 as soon as the relevant data becomes available.

Rich Whitney is an attorney, actor, radio commentator and disk jockey, Illinois Green Party activist and former Green Party candidate for governor.

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

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