Friday, July 28, 2006

Venezuela's arms deal

It is now official: Venezuela has agreed to pay $3 billion for a variety of Russian jets and helicopters, on the top of the already purchased rifles, with rumors of future surface-to-air missiles in the future. The U.S., of course, opposes the entire transaction.

This depresses me on at least two levels. First, $3 billion is an enormous amount of money in a country beset by serious socio-economic problems, and weapons don't feed people or create jobs (well, they will in Russia, but not in Venezuela). Second, if Venezuela were viewed as an ally, then the U.S. government would be happy to sell those weapons itself. Our claims that "the arms purchases planned by Venezuela exceeded its defensive needs" rings rather hollow.


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