Scott Horton Interviews Frida Berrigan

Scott Horton, February 27, 2010

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Frida Berrigan, columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus, discusses US dominance of the global weapons market, the costly domestic upgrade cycle that is perpetuated by defense contractors selling current generation high-tech weapons abroad, the relatively low number of jobs created with money spent on the military compared to other sectors of the economy and how weapons manufacturers create demand for their products by promoting belligerent US foreign policy.

MP3 here. (25:44)

Frida Berrigan is Senior Program Associate of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. Previously, she served for eight years as Deputy Director and Senior Research Associate at the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute at the New School in New York City. She has also worked as a researcher at The Nation magazine.

Ms. Berrigan is a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus and a contributing editor of In These Times magazine. She is the author of reports on arms trade and human rights, U.S. nuclear weapons policy, and the domestic politics of U.S. missile defense and space weapons policies. She has been a featured expert on national and regional radio outlets, and regularly speaks on national security issues to citizen’s organizations and at major conferences throughout the United States.

3 Responses to “Frida Berrigan”

  1. So why do those other countries follow the U.S. down the militarization rat hole?

  2. Because we pay them to.

    Unlike other nations, the US has a *ahem* interesting business model when it comes to arms trade. We give them free money in exchange for their promise to buy our hardware. It's a very clever way of transfering wealth from the tax payer to DC's friends in the arms trade.

    Yes, the US sells a ton of hardware, but look at who buys it. It's mostly a small cabel of US puppets who receive "military aid" to pay for the weapons in the first place. It's the only way the US can get its gear out the door. The rest of the world is buying EU, Russian, and Chinese hardware.

    Example: Compare the number of nations operating US built Bradley IFVs vs the number operating Swedish CV90s or Russian BMP-3.

    Example #2: The sale of F-16s to Poland. In 2003 Poland was all set to buy French made Euro-Fighters, but at the last minute the US swoops in with an offer to Sell them F-16s at a massive loss in exchange for Polish help in GWII. The loser? The US taxpayer.

    Example #3: Israel…need I say more? Okay, I will. The IDF shelved the well built Galil rifle in exchange for the US made M-16. Why? Because they get M-16 rifles for free.

    The current US plan seems to mirror Moscow's arming of the Warsaw Pact and client states during the cold war – and we all saw how well that worked for the USSR…former USSR.

    The US doesn't have an "Arms monopoly" it's resorting to the old economic trick of "dumping" to keep itself in the game. Other nations may not sells as many arms, but at least it turns them a profit and isn't sinking there economy.

    And people wonder why the US is such a debt ridden mess.

  3. The outbreak of peace and it's threat to the arms industry is what Robert Gates was really referring to when he criticized Europe's aversion to war as a threat to peace. At the time he made that specu, I half jokingly suggested it was a sales drive by Lockheed Martin, but it's no joke at all.

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