The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Biden is selling weapons to the majority of the world’s autocracies

Despite the White House’s rhetoric about supporting global democracy, the U.S. sold weapons in 2022 to 57 percent of the world’s authoritarian regimes.

Stephen Semler, May 11 2023, The Intercept

SINCE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN came into office in 2021, he hasdescribed a “battle between democracies and autocracies” in which the U.S. and other democracies strive to create a peaceful world. The reality, however, is that the Biden administration has helped increase the military power of a large number of authoritarian countries. According to an Intercept review of recently released government data, the U.S. sold weapons to at least 57 percent of the world’s autocratic countries in 2022.

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been the world’s biggest weapons dealer, accounting for about 40 percent of all arms exports in a given year. In general, these exports are funded through grants or sales. There are two pathways for the latter category: foreign military sales and direct commercial sales.

The U.S. government acts as an intermediary for FMS acquisitions: It buys the materiel from a company first and then delivers the goods to the foreign recipient. DCS acquisitions are more straightforward: They’re the result of an agreement between a U.S. company and a foreign government. Both categories of sales require the government’s approval.

Country-level data for last year’s DCS authorizations was released in late April through the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. FMS figures for fiscal year 2022 were released earlier this year through the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency. According to their data, a total of 142 countries and territories bought weapons from the U.S. in 2022, for a total of $85 billion in bilateral sales.

How many of those countries were democracies, and how many were autocracies? That question can be answered by comparing the new U.S. arms sales data to political regime data from the Varieties of Democracy project at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, which uses a classification system that’s called Regimes of the World.

The system classifies regimes into four categories: closed autocracy, electoral autocracy, electoral democracy, and liberal democracy. For a country to be classified as a democracy, it must have multiparty elections and political freedoms that make those elections meaningful. According to this methodology, the dividing line between democracies and autocracies is whether a country’s leaders are accountable to their citizens through free and fair elections.

Of the 84 countries codified as autocracies under the Regimes of the World system in 2022, the United States sold weapons to at least 48, or 57 percent, of them. The “at least” qualifier is necessary because several factors frustrate the accurate tracking of U.S. weapons sales. The State Department’s report of commercial arms sales during the fiscal year makes prodigious use of “various” in its recipients category; as a result, the specific recipients for nearly $11 billion in weapons sales are not disclosed…………………………


May 14, 2023 - Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: