For two decades, the United States has dominated the global arms trade, reaping a broad range of economic and geopolitical benefits in the process. But shortsighted decisions to produce expensive, cutting-edge weapons systems, rather than cheaper, more practical ones, are squandering this monopoly and letting other countries get into the market.
Some have questioned the value and effectiveness of MRAPs. But data from the battlefield and the results of extensive live-fire tests demonstrate that, compared to up-armored Humvees, the new combat vehicles save a significant number of lives and, as a result, are worth the cost.
Jonathan Caverly and Ethan Kapstein maintained that the United States’ domination of the global arms market is disappearing and that as a consequence, Washington is squandering an array of economic and political benefits. Critics dispute the point; Caverley and Kapstein respond.
"In the 1990s, the United States controlled 60 percent of the global weapons market. Today, it is responsible for only about 30 percent. By focusing on cutting-edge technology and developing excessively expensive defense systems, Washington has left the door open for foreign competitors to market practical weapons at an affordable cost." --Caverley and Kapstein, "Arms Away"
President Obama at a Rolls-Royce Crosspointe facility in Virginia. (Larry Downing / Courtesy Reuters)