Even when there is media coverage on the arms trade, [it] can't possibly convey the feel of a business that has always preferred the shadows to the sun.
Maybe the only way to break through this paralysis of analysis would be to stop talking about weapons sales as a trade and … start thinking in another language entirely — the language of drugs. After all, what does a drug dealer do? He creates a need and then fills it. He encourages an appetite or (even more lucratively) an addiction and then feeds it.
Arms dealers do the same thing. They suggest to foreign officials that their military just might need a slight upgrade. After all, they'll point out, haven't you noticed that your neighbor just upgraded in jets, submarines and tanks? And didn't you guys fight a war a few years back? Doesn't that make you feel insecure?
And why feel insecure for another moment when, for just a few billion bucks, we'll get you suited up with the latest model military, even better than what we sold them — or you the last time around.
[L.A. Times excerpt, from an article by Frida Berrigan, a senior research associate at the World Policy Institute's Arms Trade Resource Center]