Thursday, November 8, 2007

U.S. and Arms Sales to Developing World

In a recent article in the New York Times (01/10/2007), it highlights the mammoth role of the US in selling arms to developing countries. I include the link above for your review to see the full article and attach a graphic that accompanied this piece.

As I read this piece, several items for reflection occurred to me:
1. We are currently using our sales of arms to influence 'developing' states. Yet, ironically, the sale of weapons rarely helps in dialogue or negotiations so the type of development we are seeking is unclear.
2. We are selling to countries whose records on democracy and human rights is questionable, at best. Pakistan, recently in the news for Gen. Musharref's decision to suspend their constitution, is a major recipient of US arms sales.
3. For Jesuits and colleagues in the continent of Africa, small arms grossly affect their daily lives. Concerns over safety and building skills for real dialogue between conflicting parties are exacerbated by the prevalence of guns.

At the World Social Forum held in Nairobi, Kenya in January 2007, I attended several workshops on this issue and learned that African countries are the most active at the United Nations level in trying to limit weapons coming into their countries.

The 10 US Jesuit Provincials have prioritized the issue of 'War and Violence' as it relates to our international relationships so that we all might informs ourselves and advocate for responsible change. Future postings will address this reality as a start.

If you want more information, don't hesitate to contact me....


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