Surprise! Biden is selling US weapons to the majority of the ‘world’s autocracies’

11:19 19.05.2023 •

Despite the White House’s rhetoric about supporting ‘global democracy’, the U.S. sold weapons in 2022 to 57 percent of the world’s authoritarian regimes, informs “The Intercept”.

Since President Joe Biden came into office in 2021, he has described a “battle between democracies and autocracies” in which the U.S. and other democracies strive to create a peaceful world. The reality, however, is that the Biden administration has helped increase the military power of a large number of authoritarian countries. According to an Intercept review of recently released government data, the U.S. sold weapons to at least 57 percent of the world’s autocratic countries in 2022.

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been the world’s biggest weapons dealer, accounting for about 40 percent of all arms exports in a given year.

A total of 142 countries and territories bought weapons from the U.S. in 2022, for a total of $85 billion in bilateral sales. How many of those countries were democracies, and how many were autocracies?

That question can be answered by comparing the new U.S. arms sales data to political regime data from the Varieties of Democracy project at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, which uses a classification system that’s called Regimes of the World.

Of the 84 countries codified as autocracies under the Regimes of the World system in 2022, the United States sold weapons to at least 48, or 57 percent, of them!

The State Department’s report of commercial arms sales during the fiscal year makes prodigious use of “various” in its recipients category; as a result, the specific recipients for nearly $11 billion in weapons sales are not disclosed.

Freedom House listed 195 countries and for each one labeled whether it qualified as an electoral democracy in its annual Freedom in the World report. Of the 85 countries Freedom House did not designate as an electoral democracy, the United States sold weapons to 49, or 58 percent, of them in fiscal year 2022.

These findings contradict Biden’s preferred framing of international politics as fundamentally a struggle in which the world’s democracies, led by the United States, are on “the side of peace and security,” as he called it in last year’s State of the Union address.

Opposing the United States and its democratic allies are the autocracies that collude to undermine the international system, Biden has stated. In a speech in Warsaw last year, he said the battle between democracy and autocracy is one “between liberty and repression” and “between a rules-based international order and one governed by brute force.”

The White House’s 2022 National Security Strategy adds, “The most pressing strategic challenge facing our vision is from powers that layer authoritarian governance with a revisionist foreign policy.” Despite that rhetoric, a review of the new data suggests instead a business-as-usual approach to weapons sales.

In Biden’s first full fiscal year as president weapons sales from the United States to other countries reached $206 billion, according to the State Department’s annual tally.

Biden’s first-year total surpasses the Trump-era high of $192 billion.


…As they say, “money doesn't smell.” But in this case, American dollars smell of blood...


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