Buying from the Gap

Spooked by posts like this?

$2B in missiles for your League of Democracies (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog)
$2B in missiles for your League of Democracies

ARTICLE: India places $2 bn missile order with Russia, Reuters, 19 Aug 2008

I’m with Jarrod [Myrick] on this one. Enough interactions with the putative “league of democracies” and India’s going to tell us to go screw ourselves.

Don’t be. Weapon sells to states of the New Core and Seam are easy ways for the us to cement our friendship with countries we should befriend, while hedging against countries that are a bit more dangerous (Iran, North Korea, and Russia). For gap countries like Russia, they are a major source of power and prestige.

There’s no need to screw ourselves, the New Core, or our Seam state friends to keep power away from the Gap. Simply make them a better deal. So with oil and natural gas, the best way to protect the Core from the Gap is to fund research and development that reduces the need for those hydrocarbons, along with other projects such as new pipelines, more nuclear power plants, and the like.

And for the Gap’s arms sales? Just flood the market. Like we’re doing now:

Among the products on the shopping list are 140 Abrams tanks, armed helicopters, C-130J transport planes and more than 100 million rounds of ammunition, Defense Department documents show. Iraq also is considering requesting its own fleet of F-16s, although no such deal has been approved.

Lieutenant Colonel Almarah Belk, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said making these sales served the interests of both Iraq and the United States because “it reduces the risk of corruption and assists the Iraqis in getting around bottlenecks in their acquisition processes.”

Over the past three years, the U.S. government, separately, has agreed to buy more than $10 billion in military equipment and weapons on behalf of Afghanistan, according to Defense Department records, including M-16 rifles and C-27 military transport aircraft.

Even before this new round of sales got under way, the country’s share of the world arms trade was rising, from 40 percent of arms deliveries in 2000 to nearly 52 percent in 2006, the latest year for which the Congressional Research Service has compiled data. The next largest seller was Russia, which in 2006 accounted for 21 percent of global deliveries.

When dealing with the Gap, be calm. We’re not in a Cold War with Russia. We’re not in an existential struggle for existence with al Qaeda. But we are strugglign to save our friends from those enemies.

We need to stay serious, stay focused, and deal with problems as they occur. Or, in the case of arms sales, recognzie a non-problem when we see it.