Peacemaker Activists At Ohio University

Bridging Oceans: Non-regulated trade of arms in Middle East one of many problems with U.S. foreign policy


One student can’t change American foreign policy. Not even one city can change federal policy. But if enough people can influence honest, anti-war politicians, there may be hope.

Transparency International recently published a report claiming that Western nations, chiefly the United States, Russia, Germany and Britain, have contributed to corruption in the Middle East and Northern Africa through their trade of weaponry lacking any oversight.

The problem with unregulated trade of arms is that the 17 countries the organization lists are mostly corrupt already. Countries of serious risk of further corruption are essentially all of the northern most African countries excluding Tunisia, and the majority of the Arabian peninsula.

According to reports by The Intercept, those 17 countries collectively spent about 7.6 percent of global military budgets, and these numbers have increased dramatically in the last decade.

The foreign policies of the U.S. government have been problematic for years, but most recently, the assistance and trade to people who became the Islamic State are very dangerous.

In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, Daniel Byman gives some insight into the seemingly narrow counter-terrorism tactics of the U.S.

“The Middle East is too complex for any single paradigm,” Byman said. “Widening the policy aperture will be difficult, but it will advance a broader set of U.S. objectives beyond counter-terrorism.”

If we as citizens supported politicians and ideas that didn’t fight “terrorism” with war, but rather by containment and non-entanglement, there could be real change with our involvement in the Middle East. Shaping strict policies that disallow any arms trade to countries deemed to be rogue or threatening could significantly change how we deal with groups like ISIS or Al Qaeda.

Unfortunately for the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election, there are no candidates who are truly anti-war. Even as liberal as Bernie Sanders is with his foreign policy, he still has a ways to go if he wants to disrupt American politics fully.