Dr Mahathir Mohamad
1. The Governments of nations dedicated to increasing the wealth of their countries realised the importance of international trade. This is especially so after the loss of the European Empires during which a policy of Imperial Preference ensured the monopoly of imports and exports from and to the colonial territories.
2. The greatest of these imperialist countries was Britain. It became the richest and the most powerful country in the world.
3. But after WWII the imperialists of Europe lost their empires and the trade monopoly that they enjoyed. Strong competition from East Asian countries reduced their trade even more.
4. But they still enjoy good incomes from selling arms. To generate more exports of arms they need to have proxy wars being fought by unsuspecting countries, particularly between the countries they created during their imperial heydays.
5. We see today very sophisticated arms being used in the fratricidal wars, which are being fought in a number of Arab ex-colonies. There is no way for these countries to develop and produce such sophisticated weapons. They may produce primitive bombs and rockets. But the tanks, armoured cars, machine guns and missiles must be bought from the developed countries.
6. These developed countries decry the arms trade as a business. But there can be no doubt that they are the ones most involved in the trade.
7. The weapons trade is huge. The warplanes, tanks, warships, rockets, missiles, submarines etc cost billions of dollars. The income from the sale of arms can contribute much to the wealth creation of a country.
8. They are therefore not too choosy as to who they sell their arms to. Their customers may be oppressive dictators and corrupt Prime Ministers. They may condemn these people for not being democratic and oppressive. But they would tone down their criticisms if these people offer to buy expensive arms from them.
9. The moaning and decrying over the injustices and oppression of dictators are just side-shows to assuage their conscience. But it is they who promote corruption and dictatorial oppression of many Governments in the world.