US, biggest arms seller

Reportedly, Arsenal sale of the United States to other countries have shot over US$50 billion. This becomes another record breaking year thanks to Saudi Arabia, which accounts for three-fifths of the sum. "We have already surpassed $50 billion in sales in the fiscal year 2012,” Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of state for Political-Military Affairs, informed journalists on Thursday. Though, there are three more months of the fiscal year, the figure already shows a 70 per cent increase over government-to-government military deals in 2011. Last year also set a record for the US with sales at some $30 billion.
According to media reports sale to Saudi Arabia has been significant that include $29.4 billion deal finalized in December included 84 new fighter jets and the modernization of 70 old jets. Saudi Arabs huge purchases may be explained by the long standing “arms for petrol” relations between the two countries.
During the oil price hikes of 1971 and 1973 the US negotiated an agreement to pay Saudi Arabia higher prices for crude, on the understanding that Saudi Arabia would recycle the petrodollars, many of them through arms deals. The record-breaking figure also includes the sale of the Joint Strike Fighter to Japan, which is valued at approximately $10 billion.
As for direct commercial sales, whereby companies sell directly to foreign governments as opposed to government-to-government sales, an official report released the previous week only accounts for 2011. That year brought US contractors some $44 billion with top customers including Jordan, Japan, Israel, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The weapons sales serve foreign policy interests and brought up the trend of tying defense contracts to diplomacy.
There is growing consensus that when a country buys an advanced US defense system through its foreign military sales, direct commercial sales or foreign military financing programs, these country aren’t simply buying a product. They are also seeking a partnership with the United States. These programs both reinforce diplomatic relations and establish a long-term security relationship. This also suggests that a country buying US weapons falls under American influence. This corelation seems to have some credibility if one looks at US-Egypt relation. Under Hosni Mubarak rule Egypt was the third-largest recipient of the US aid, which arrived in the shape of finances and arms. In return, Cairo granted security in the region, which first meant acceptance of Israel.
According to some media reports the US is likely to continue expanding into key markets, including India, which is considering a $1.4 billion deal for 22 Apache helicopters. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency is also eyeing military sales of more than $1.1 billion to Qatar and Oman. Qatar is considering purchase of Black hawk helicopters and missile-warning systems, while Oman might be buying missiles and military training kits. Some countries are more than fortunate because they get US weapons free. The Pentagon is engaged in talks with Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to hand over some of their military hardware after NATO troops quit Afghanistan in 2014.
This would mean distributing armored vehicles, tank trailers, tankers, medical equipment and communication tools – everything which is not worth sending back home due to high transport costs. The US reportedly intends to give away some of its equipment for free, while some of it is to be left behind for secure storage, as it may prove to be of need later – for new operations in Afghanistan or Pakistan or other Central Asian countries. Kyrgyzstan has confirmed negotiations are under way, but officials do not believe they will get anything valuable.