On Tuesday, an emotional Obama addressed the American public on guns and unveiled new executive orders on gun control. But for someone who believes guns are a problem, the man certainly isn’t practicing what he preaches.Many have sarcastically referred to Obama as the world’s greatest gun salesman, as gun sales have soared under his presidency. Shares of Smith & Wesson climbed 11% Tuesday, rising to their highest level since the company went public in 1999.
The “world’s greatest gun salesman” claim doesn’t have to be made tongue in cheek however.The world’s largest arms dealer isn’t some American company – and it isn’t enabled by the NRA.
As Rare reported:Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014, about 35 percent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found.
American weapons receipts rose to $36.2 billion in 2014 from $26.7 billion the year before, bolstered by multibillion-dollar agreements with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Those deals and others ensured that the United States remained the single largest provider of arms around the world last year, controlling just over 50 percent of the market.
This obviously could be justified on basis of national security. Having strong allies benefits our strength. But that argument is dubious in this particular case.The luckiest recipient of our ordnance largesse was South Korea, which is looking to beef up its military capacity after increased aggression from the north. But note those other clients: Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These are our purported allies, but recently they’ve acted against our interests, deserting the fight against the Islamic State to blow apart Yemen and arming Syrian rebels groups that include unabashed Salafists. They’re also some of the biggest supporters of terrorism in the world, with extreme Wahhabist Islam integrated into the Saudi government and Gulf donors funneling money to everyone from the Islamic State to al-Qaeda.
Yet the weapons continue to flow.
This is par for the course. Over the past 60 years, Saudi Arabia has built one of the most lethal militaries in the Middle East thanks to the generosity of the United States. The Kingdom struck $80 billion in arms deals with Washington between 1950 and 2006, and an additional $90.4 billion has been approved since 2010 under the purview of our Nobel Peace Prize-winning, gun control-loving president. The Obama administration has also announced that it will begin selling drones to our Gulf allies. Today, Saudi Arabia is the biggest arms importer in the world, and many of those weapons come from American vendors.This is billions in weapons given to a nation which literally is an Islamic State.
Who does Obama honestly believe is capable of causing more violence on a grand scale – an American criminal with a gun, or Saudi Arabia and Qatar?
[Note: This article was authored by The Analytical Economist]