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To Whom Does Trump’s Arms Exports Policy Give Leverage? Debunking Key Arms Exports Assumptions

A War on the Rocks analysis examines the assumptions and traditional reasoning behind U.S. arms exports market (specifically the Trump Administration’s new Conventional Arms Transfer policy), that is typically seen as strengthening the U.S. economy, security, and providing it with influence on clients/allies. The analysis examines how Trump’s emphasis on the economic aspect of arms sales, however, places much of the bargaining power in the hands of the buyers. Combined with rising protectionism, countries have even more incentives to shop elsewhere. These factors are, in turn, pushing the U.S. and other countries to expand what they can sell by easing restrictions and redefining categories. The article concludes that, “all told, in the booming “buyers’ arms market” the presumption of approval policy is likely to increase the diffusion of progressively more advanced U.S. military technologies and capabilities around the globe. Given the circumstances of reverse leverage, the influence of the U.S. over the use of the arms it exports is unlikely to be substantial. The United States has truly made an about face from the policy of Jimmy Carter.”

Source: Trump’s Arms Exports Policy: Debunking Key Assumptions – War on the Rocks

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