News / Europe

Britain's Arms Sales Are Boon, but Pose Predicament

Britain's Arms Sales Are Boon, but Pose Predicamenti
X
August 05, 2013 2:40 PM
A recent report from the British Parliament says the country has arms sales contracts with six countries it has designated as having poor human rights records - and several others with questionable records. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London, the document highlights a dilemma faced by all arms-exporting countries.
Britain's Arms Sales Are Boon, but Pose Predicament
Al Pessin
A recent report from the British Parliament says the country has arms sales contracts with six countries it has designated as having poor human rights records - and several others with questionable records. The document highlights a dilemma faced by all arms-exporting countries.

The British news media used strong language to report the story, and graphics to show where the country’s military equipment is being sold.  

It seemed embarrassing, but it was not surprising to experts, like War Studies Research Associate Jack McDonald, of London’s King’s College.

“The problem that the UK finds itself in is the same one that any arms exporting country finds itself in, which is that the biggest buyers tend to have human rights records that we would consider fall short of our own standards,” said McDonald.

In recent months, Western plans for military sales to the Syrian opposition have gotten a lot of attention, particularly as its militant elements have grown. Russia has condemned the plan.  

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “The European Union, in fact, is pouring more fuel on the fire of this conflict and damaging the prospects for convening a peace conference.”

At the same time, Russian sales of anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian government have drawn criticism from the West, and from Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin during a visit to Moscow. "Israel is expressing a grave concern about prospects of such deliveries. We asked for deliveries to be suspended until the situation stabilizes,” said Elkin.

Meanwhile, China is becoming an ever larger player in the global arms trade and is also being asked to justify its decisions.

“On the issue of arms exports, China has always taken a responsible and prudent attitude, adhering to U.N. Security Council resolutions and international law,” said Hong Lei, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.

The manufacture and sale of military equipment is important to the economies and defense programs of major countries. And officials say exports give them influence in troubled parts of the world. However, McDonald says it’s not that simple.

“Although selling arms to these countries gives us some leverage with them, I don’t think it’s axiomatic that they’re going to change their human rights records or accept our version of what human rights are,” he said.

It’s a delicate balance to strike, with countless lives and the future of nations at stake, leaving arms-selling countries in a permanent quandary and under criticism for virtually any decision they make.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 07, 2013 3:16 AM
We should stop any kind of arm exports. It is ashamed for everybody to earn money by selling arms noticing and ignoring the blood shed of victims as it is not in your own battle field. I can not believe Britain is now still doing such a mean dealings. It reminds me that Great Britain has major responsibilities for many territorial disputes battled even now in its ever colonies of Middle East, African and Asian countires. Thank you.


by: HDS26234 from: California
August 06, 2013 6:58 PM
Does the USA still hve 50 or so percent of the Arms sale market of the world, as it was the case some decades ago, may I respectfully ask?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid