Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Third World Militaries: New Suppliers, Deadlier Weapons

Third World Militaries: New Suppliers, Deadlier Weapons

Until the 19805 the global arms bazaar was dominated by the Western states and the Soviet Union, who were thus able to use arms transfers to further their political goals vis-a-vis a recipient country. In the 1980s, Third World countries such as Brazil, Israel, and the two Koreas emerged as major arms exporters. This rise of Third World arms producers has changed the arms bazaar from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market, and recipient countries are now able to procure arms on commercially better terms and with less political dependency on their suppliers.

Yet these commercial and political changes are not what worry policy makers in Washington. Instead, concern is being voiced because of the range and lethality of weapons produced in the Third World. This weapons production capability, it is feared, will give Third World countries the ability to prosecute their ambitions more freely and aggressively. It will also make Western intervention more difficult as Third World states continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. At the very least, it is believed, profit-hungry arms industries in the Third World will go in for the unrestricted transfer of weapons to other states, thereby increasing the level of regional conflict the world over.

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