Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Lords of War

'Lord of War' is a rather gripping film with Nicholas Cage playing Yuri Orlov, a kid from the Bronx who becomes an international arms dealer. Topping off a number of chilling facts the film ends with the revelation that "the biggest arms suppliers in the world are the USA, the UK, France, Russia and China." This is accurate though most accounts also place Germany somewhere in the middle too (http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/big-six-arms-exporters-2012-06-11).

However, as the film goes on to point out, the countries it mentions are also distinguished by being the five permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations, an organisation set up to prevent conflict and tragedy around the globe. There is something immensely disturbing about the idea that on the one hand these countries condemn the violence inflicted on suffering peoples around the globe and, on the other, supply the weapons to make that happen:

  • The USA has sold weapons and riot control chemicals to an Egyptian government suppressing protests by its own people as well as supplying the governments of Yemen, Bahrain and Colombia who have also committed atrocities against their own citizens.
  • It is believed that 10% of Russian arms, including tanks and fighter jets, have been sold to Syria. It has also been linked to arms sales to Libya and rebels in Sierra Leone.
  • France and Germany are some of the largest suppliers of NATO arms and both sell to other countries including Greece, Turkey and South Africa
  • The UK supplies arms globally with India, the US, Saudi Arabia and South Africa being important clients.
  • China has a terrible record for arms sales to rogue and dangerous nations including Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, DRC, Guinea, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
It is amazing to think that the five main members of the most respected authority on security matters in international relations do so much to further violence and war globally! Why then should we believe that the UNSC is anything more than simply a leftover of the Cold War who care more about wealth and power than about global peace? Not to sound flippant or sensational but these nations, held up as the leaders of our age, do more to destabilise and assault global peace than the nations that they vilify as the 'axis of evil'. Their betrayal of the peace to which they were given guardianship should not be forgotten by history or by us.