Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Selling Arms in Asia

My impression of President Obama's trip to Asia is that he has unfortunately gone as chief arms salesman to new frontiers.  This says much more about the US than it does about Asia.  First, Congress allocates much of our discretionary income, more than half, to strengthening our military and bolstering our armaments, and then our President flies off to Asia to boost the sales of tanks, planes and missiles to client states.  We call it geopolitics, but at its heart it is about greed and gluttony.  Asian economies seem vibrant.  Ours seems stuck in the mud of militarism. 

America's needless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are reducing us to a second or third rate power, a helpless giant.  China is one beneficiary of our wasteful militaristic policies.  India and other Asian countries could be as well, if they resist the temptation to purchase our second-hand military hardware and follow our lead into unnecessary and illegal wars.  If the United States still wishes to be respected in the world it needs to return to the basics of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and international cooperation.  There are too many serious problems confronting the world for the US to be focused on pushing arms and building war coalitions in Asia or any other part of the world.  We need to think much more deeply about the example we are setting and how it is already returning to haunt us.

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