Developments in arms transfers: implications for supplier control and recipient autonomy

by Richard Burt

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Critically examines the assumptions that arms transfers are leading to a qualitative change in relations between arms suppliers and recipients, and a profound shift in the balance of military power between industrialized and nonindustrialized states. This paper outlines changes occurring in international arms trade and identifies military and political consequences. It notes the suggestion that impact of new developments in weaponry will be to shift the balance in favor of the defender. However, this argument must be approached with caution because of importance of forces-in-being and problems of high consumption rates on the less-ready combatant. Arms control strategies are likely to be more effective if they focus on character of weapons transferred, rather than "new" weapons; they would be well advised to deal with local or regional security problems rather than to construct "global" policies.

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