Burning Issues: The Arms Trade As A Foreign Policy Tool

The next president should end the practice of recent presidents of using arms sales as an instrument of foreign policy, says William Hartung, director of the arms and security project at the Center for International Policy, in this Burning Issues video.

The Obama administration has engaged in record levels of arms deals, Hartung points out, because the administration’s interventionist strategy relies heavily on arming surrogates rather than directly engaging in foreign conflicts. The problem, Hartung says, is that “the arms last much longer than the relationships,” and thus end up being used against U.S. and long-term peace interests.

There are international treaties that we should hold the next president to honoring, Hartung says. Plus, certain weapons should not be on the international market, he says.

“I’d like to see this issue elevated” in the presidential campaign, Hartung says, “because I think there are very few upsides to this kind of reckless arms trading that we have seen in recent years.”

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