When President Obama said in his State of the Union message “So tonight, we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next five years…” we wondered aloud if that meant what we thought it meant. Four days later we had an answer when the front page of the Washington Post announced “US steps up weapons sales to Mideast allies.”
According to the annual report produced by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service the US signed weapons agreements valued over 37 billion dollars in 2008. US weapons sales increased by more than 12 billion dollars from the 2007 total and accounted for over 68% of the total arms sales recorded worldwide. All this despite a decline in global weapons sales overall as the great recession cooled the interest of many nations to place new orders for weapons.
Using fear of Iran as an excuse, many nations in the Persian Gulf region were at the top of the list, including Saudi Arabia $6.06 billion, Iraq $2.50 billion, Egypt $2.31 billion, Israel $1.32 billion and topping the list, the United Arab Emirates $6.5 billion.
Is introducing tens of billions of dollars more in weapons to the powder keg we call the Mideast how we deal with our trade deficit, or is it how we sow the seeds of war? One thing is for sure, it’s InSANE.