Editor's Note: Dr. James M. Lindsay is a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-author of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy. Visit his blog here and follow him on Twitter.
By James M. Lindsay, CFR.org
Bashar al-Assad has accepted a six-point plan put forth by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to “end” the crisis in Syria. We’ll see how that goes. Russian president Dmitri Medvedev has vowed support for the plan. This marks a change of tone if not substance in Russian policy. Moscow vetoed a toothless UN Security Council resolution on Syria just last month, claiming it was another Western attempt at “regime change.”
Some critics argue that Russia’s opposition had a more base motive: a desire to continue selling weapons to Syria. Which leads to a question: Who are the market leaders in the international arms trade? Thanks to the Economist, we know the answer—and it’s not China. The United States and Russia top the charts of arms dealers, with Germany, France, and Britain far behind.
Not surprisingly, countries sell more to their friends. The number one destination for U.S. arms exports is South Korea. Germany sells a lot to Greece (and gives it a lot of money as well); France is cozy with Singapore, and Britain has a friend in Riyadh. Don’t expect the international demand for weapons to ease any time soon.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of James M. Lindsay.