Friday, June 26, 2009

Conventional weapons sales in Latin America

The Bolivian government has given an arms wishlist to the Russians, who are providing credit for the purchase. This comes on the heels of the Chileans buying F-16s from the Netherlands on top of anti-submarine planes from France. Maybe now Bolivia will have to buy the submarines for the Chileans to fight. Or maybe the Chileans think Venezuela will send its brand new Russian subs southward?

It is depressing to see more and more countries circling around Latin America, looking for good conventional weapons markets. There just aren't real threats--even when Hugo Chávez blustered about sending tanks to the Colombian border, no one took it seriously. In addition, the global economic crisis is hitting developing countries quite hard, and this money should be channeled elsewhere. In the Chilean case, proposals to reform the copper law keep popping up, but have yet to gain traction.


boz 10:47 AM  

At least I can think of a few potential uses for Chilean F-16s (although I can certainly think of some better planes for their AF requirements). And counter-submarine planes can at least be justified by a country with a few thousand miles of vital coastline to defend, even if it's hard to see the potential enemy today.

It's Chile's looking at a mechanized artillery battalion that makes little to no sense. When is their Army going to use that?

Greg Weeks 11:51 AM  

I would love to see what threat scenario includes a submarine attack.

boz 12:39 PM  

Think of it from a more abstract "red team" perspective. Instead of looking at specific potential threats, think about how you would develop a strategy for a country (any country, New Zealand, Portugal, Costa Rica) that wants to attack Chile 15 years from now. My guess is submarines fit into that matrix.

I'm not defending the purchase specifically. I'm just giving the potential logic for what brought them there. In contrast, there is no reasonable logic for many of Chile's Army purchases.

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