Courtesy Reuters

The frequency and intensity of armed conflict in the Third World have provoked a new theory of great-power impotence, the perceived inability of the superpowers to prevent an outbreak of violence or limit its intensity. Recent trends in the global arms trade seem to reinforce this view: the rising number of weapons suppliers, particularly among the Third World countries whose capabilities to produce and transfer arms have grown; the increasing diversity of procurement programs; and the decline of monopolistic military assistance relationships. According to this argument, fewer Third World countries depend on the United States or the Soviet Union for

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