The U.S. Is Selling Arms to Riskier Clients

missile, rocket, air force

Arms sales have been a fixture in American foreign policy since the advent of the Cold War. Selling weapons is a popular strategy in Washington because government officials believe that arms sales provide them a low-risk and flexible tool for reinforcing alliances and containing adversaries while benefiting the US economy. And despite Donald Trump’s skepticism about international trade, it is clear that, at least in this domain, the United States is not about to abandon its role as a global leader. In 2020 alone, the Trump administration has notified Congress of $83.5 billion in potential foreign military sales, while the US was responsible for 36% of the global arms trade between 2015 and 2019.

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