Hey, Bucko. Stop whining about this sour economy, and start thinking about the plight of others.

For example: arms dealers. You’ve probably paid no attention to the hard fact that the global recession caused worldwide arms sales to plummet by 8.5 percent last year, pinching the profits of U.S. weapons pushers. The only saving grace in this downbeat news is that America’s glorious arms industry did retain its position as the number one supplier of weapons to the world.

We still control nearly 40 percent of the global market, with Russia a distant second. But before you set off a mess of fireworks in celebration, note that U.S. sales in 2009 were down by more than $15 billion from the previous year.

The upside is that the developing world is still in a buying mood. Last year, such emerging nations as Brazil, Venezuela, Iraq, India, and Vietnam poured billions of dollars into purchases of military playthings that go “Boom!” Again, U.S. dealers were the big winners, controlling a third of the arms trade in this robust market.

The greatest news for American purveyors of killing machines, however, is Iran. This rising Middle Eastern power has spooked the United States and Israel. So, in the vague hope of countering Iran’s growing punch, the White House and Congress are about to approve a blockbuster sale to the monarchial rulers of Saudi Arabia. Some $90-billion-worth of top-line fighter jets, helicopters, naval armaments, and other sophisticated war machinery would go to the Saudis in the largest single sale of U.S. arms ever.

The theory is that (somehow or other, maybe, possibly, sometime in the future) this escalation of military testosterone in the explosive Middle East might produce harmony.

Good luck with that. But, hey, if it jacks up profits for our arms dealers, what’s not to like about it?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He's also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

OtherWords commentaries are free to re-publish in print and online — all it takes is a simple attribution to OtherWords.org. To get a roundup of our work each Wednesday, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.

(Note: Images credited to Getty or Shutterstock are not covered by our Creative Commons license. Please license these separately if you wish to use them.)