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Essay Qustions for Political Science


Submitted By mgjones1
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1. Campaign Against Arms Trade, 2. Lanka Business Online,,

Question: Does arms trading help the world or hurt it? Give examples. As recently as The Iraq War, the ability to prosecute war depended on developing the industrial capacity to produce these "small arms." During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union provided conventional weapons for their respective client states fighting "proxy" wars. “The high-geared military-industrial economies of the two leviathans have stimulated France, China, Germany, the UK, Italy, Ukraine, and Israel to compete in the lucrative worldwide business of weapons export. In 2012 these nine weapons-selling countries exported $14.8 billion in conventional weapons to the rest of the world. Forty percent of this staggering volume of weapons flows from Russia; 27% is shipped from the USA” (1) “The USA, UK, and France earned more in small arms sales to developing countries in 1998-2001 than they gave in aid.”(2) The gigantism of this industry renders it a force in national economic policies. It is in the national interest of these nations, to some degree, to promote violent conflict and war around the world. As is apparent in the case of Sudan, the economic leverage of the weapons industry, including the small arms industry. Small arms trade plays a prominent role in the economies of nations at war, and particularly in intrastate conflicts. The availability of small arms makes war possible, and their continuing availability fuels the protraction of war. Classic game-theory analyses of arms race determinants assume arms development and production to come at the expense of a nation's economic well-being. While that may actually be true in terms of benefit to an entire nation's economy, it is always true that war yields positive economic benefit to national military industries, and that military industries hold disproportionate power over their governments' decision-making processes. In result the world is flooded with weapons.
The availability of small arms is further assured through the worldwide financial deregulation that is a cornerstone of neo-liberal economic globalization.The deregulation of financial transactions has effectively rendered the financing of war exempt from national or international governance. Arms merchants and, significantly, diaspora supporters of civil conflicts are easily able to move funds instantly and covertly behind the screens of small states specializing in such banking services, thanks to the blessings of deregulated economic globalization. Weapons procurers are similarly enabled to operate with impunity, even when supplying arms illegally to the perpetrators of humanitarian crimes. Even when legal "controls" are in effect, sales and movement of small weapons to parties in conflict can proceed unabated. The illegal arms trade is estimated at more than $1 billion per year. Conflict entrepreneurs weapons manufacturers, gun-runners, merchant middle-men, and the weapons users themselves profit both from the supply of weapons and from their use in protracted conflict. A perfect example of this is Sudan.The individual case of the complex, protracted intrastate war in Sudan clearly exemplifies the terrible hazards of the global small arms market. In Sudan, the genocidal campaign of the Sudanese government against native Muslims living in the newly-discovered oil field lands of Darfur has been actively pursued through government-assisted militias, primarily the Janjawid. The Janjawid are able to carry out their program of mass terror, murder and intentional starvation by virtue of their wealth of small arms provisions Kalashnikov AK47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and jeep-mounted machine guns despite the UN adoption in 2001 of Article 16 of the UN International Law Commission's Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts. The agreement is binding on all states, and forbids any assistance of another state in the commission of "any internationally wrongful act." The Janjawid's atrocities clearly surpass international definition as "Internationally Wrongful Acts," and the Sudan government's claims to be uninvolved and opposed to the arbitrary and indiscriminate killing, "disappearances," systemic rapes, and torture fly in the face of heavily documented evidence of the government's supply of and government troop participation in the atrocities.
What measures might effectively govern the worldwide small arms market and reduce the likelihood of violence? Given the present prevalent system of deregulated trade and finance, and the monstrous productive capacity of a profusion of nations to produce the weapons that fuel conflict, it is hard to be sanguine about the prospects for real change. Rhetorical advocacy for peace and human rights is often a smokescreen to cover the transnational corporate "national" interests of weapons producers. In summary

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