US Embassy Staff To Become Arms Salesmen As Trump Loosens Weapons Export Policy

A bombshell Reuters report details a major policy change set to be put in place by the Trump administration as early as February, and could result in a massive uptick in arms proliferation and conflict escalation around the world. What's being described as a new "Buy American" plan will involve US diplomats and military attaches stationed across the globe essentially playing the role of middle men for American arms contractors and US defense sales, while also encouraging embassy staff to aggressively promote weapons purchases abroad and allowing for much greater leeway in terms of which foreign entities the US does business with.

Though it sounds like the plot from the movie War Dogs - itself based on true events involving Pentagon contractors' black market East European private gun running scheme - this plan could involve the mainstreaming of just the type of weapons trade previously considered sketchy and illegal, existing at the peripheries legally ambiguous covert ops and off the books contract deals. The plan would take the seedy underbelly of the international arms trade into the light of day as official US policy, and would further deputize American diplomats as at the forefront of arms deals.

 

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The 2016 movie War Dogs. Image source: Warner Bros. Pictures via The Daily Mail

 

As crazy as this scenario sounds, Reuters has some jaw dropping selections in its report:

A key policy change would call for embassy staffers around the world to act essentially as a sales force for defense contractors, actively advocating on their behalf. It was unclear, however, what specific guidelines would be established...

“We want to see those guys, the commercial and military attaches, unfettered to be salesmen for this stuff, to be promoters,” said the senior administration official, who is close to the internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity...

Trump, a Republican, has the legal authority to direct government embassy “security assistance officers,” both military personnel and civilians, to do more to help drive arms sales. ...embassy staffers would engage more aggressively with foreign counterparts to push for U.S. arms sales and brief visiting senior U.S. officials so they can help advance pending deals, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"Unfettered" is an interesting word in relation to arms proliferation, especially considering the plan is to encompass not only small arms sales but fighter jets, drones, warships, tanks, troop carriers, artillery and every conceivable weapons system produced by major defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, or Raytheon - all of which who are no doubt ecstatic over the loosening of policy in what is a weapons lobbyist's dream. 

Reuters notes that shares of the big five US defense companies are trading at or near all-time highs as clearly the "strategy of having the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department take a more active role in securing foreign arms deals could especially benefit" precisely these major contractors.

The big 5 defense stocks from Obama's 2nd term into Trump's first months. 

 

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U.S. defense stocks easily outperformed the broader market from the beginning of Obama's second term and through the start of the Trump presidency. Both have greatly loosened restrictions of arms sales abroad. Source: Market Watch (above), Statista (below)

 

 

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This "whole of government" approach to promoting defense deals will also ease rules and regulations on the export of US military hardware under the DoD, and in the private sector will seek to give manufacturers greater independent decision making over with whom they do business. Of course, current regulations focus heavily on human rights and mitigating the potential for US systems falling into the hands of war criminals and sanctioned regimes. Though it's unclear precisely how the new initiative would preserve the balance of increasing sales abroad while avoiding deals with unsavory actors, it would expand sales with non-NATO allies and partners (like Pakistan, Egypt, The Philippines, etc...) with less restrictions related to human rights issues. 

Reuters describes the Trump policy as relegating human rights to the back seat; however, the report also traces the trend of profit over human rights back to the Obama administration, citing that "Foreign weapons sales soared during his [Obama's] tenure, with the United States retaining its position as the world’s top arms supplier." The report continues:

Foreign military sales in fiscal 2017, comprising much of Trump’s first year in office and the final months of Obama’s term, climbed to $42 billion, compared to $31 billion in the prior year, according to the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The Trump administration has already moved forward on several controversial sales. Those include a push for $7 billion in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia despite concerns they have contributed to civilian deaths in the Saudi campaign in Yemen’s civil war and the unblocking of $3 billion in arms to Bahrain, which was also held up by human rights concerns under Obama.

We might add that the "oil for weapons" US relationship with Saudi Arabia and the other oil and gas gulf monarchies has been an unfortunate hallmark of US-Mideast policy spanning many decades and across administrations all the way back to Eisenhower. But it appears the weapons spigot will only now flow freer - especially in competition with other major advanced weapons manufacturers like Russia, China, and Israel - and as Trump seeks to create jobs at home by tapping new markets abroad while also reigning in the the US trade deficit from a six-year high of $50 billion.

Before the plan is fully enacted it must clear a process that includes the written policy draft - which was coordinated among State, Pentagon, Commerce, and NSC officials - being approved by senior cabinet members after which the president is expected to sign off. From there a 60-day review period will remain during which changes may occur, after which the plan could be finalized in the form of a presidential "National Security Decision Directive," according to sources cited in the report. 

Comments

Brazen Heist Jan 9, 2018 8:29 PM Permalink

The worst way possible to go MAGA - arming the world with weapons. These empire fuckers wish to take the world down with them in their downward spiral, I wish them very bad things for this.

When exporting conflict and weapons is a major selling point, you know things have gone south.

YUNOSELL Brazen Heist Jan 9, 2018 8:32 PM Permalink

Exactly -- this cries out now desperate the US is to invigorate their economy by exporting weapons but more importantly exporting conflict, which has the always intended effect of causing capital to flow back to US as the 'safe haven'. Think about it -- the Euro currency starts and a few months later the MIC escalate conflict in Yugoslavia and the Euro destabilizes and loses 30%. This has always been the Cabal's MO.

In reply to by Brazen Heist

Billy the Poet Bes Jan 9, 2018 9:24 PM Permalink

Look on the bright side. Yesterday you claimed that Zero Hedge never publishes stories which are critical of the MIC. You weren't satisfied by the dozens of links I provided to you. But today Tyler has gone and written an article just for you!

In reply to by Bes

GUS100CORRINA RumpleShitzkin Jan 9, 2018 10:41 PM Permalink

 

US Embassy Staff To Become Arms Salesmen As Trump Loosens Weapons Export Policy

My response: Interesting news. Below are a list of recent news items that look to have relevance.

1. The signing of the Oslo Accords was a tipping point for Hamas to form CAIR in America and to come against America. If the Oslo Accords is confirmed by the Anti-Christ will this be the tipping point for Hamas and the Marxist & Muslim coalition of Gog and Magog to move against Israel as described in Ezekiel 38?

2. President Trump and Palestinian leader Abbas in twitter fight over Jerusalem and Palestinian funding.

3. Hamas and Hizbullah are ranked by Forbes magazine as two of the best financed  terror groups in the world.

4. Netanyahu ready to fund expansion of construction in Judea and Samaria, an irritant to the European Union and the United States.

5. The United States State Department taking on President Trump, his UN Ambassador and the US Ambassador to Israel, over the term "occupied territories"

In reply to by RumpleShitzkin

Moe-Monay Overfed Jan 9, 2018 9:08 PM Permalink

I have to imagine the arms trade is like the drug trade.  Nothing is gained in the quantity department by making things illegal.  The only thing you do is drive the price up and fund the CIA.

I'm calling this an improvement in transparency because the same amount of weapons will be sold.  They'll just be cheaper.

In reply to by Overfed

Cloud9.5 Brazen Heist Jan 9, 2018 9:31 PM Permalink

An AK-47 which goes for about $600 here in the States goes for two to four thousand in southern Mexico.  What this means is that the cartels can easily arm up while the local population cannot afford these prices.  The end result is a skewed balance of power favoring the bad guys.  All gun laws do is disarm the good guys while the criminal element has easy access to arms.

In reply to by Brazen Heist

MozartIII Jan 9, 2018 8:32 PM Permalink

Hey lets kill more people. Make the arms contractors rich. Then fuck our country as well. What a fucking joke, I get that he needs the generals to not be JFK'd. But the world is not our war game pin heads!

MK ULTRA Alpha MozartIII Jan 9, 2018 10:04 PM Permalink

The arms trade is a competitive business. The US didn't do so well in India, with the plan to build fighter bombers under license. The Canadians cancelled the F-18 buy and that had to do with Canada's homosexual leader. Taiwan is waiting and ready to buy weapons since China is making the most bold aggression since the 60's.

There is plenty of customers and the competition is tough, the embassies and companies need to do more to win the contracts, or Russia, China, France, UK, and a host of manufacturers from South Korea to Brazil will win the contract.

 

In reply to by MozartIII

WTFUD Jan 9, 2018 8:44 PM Permalink

Will Trump & his team of Dipsticks/Diplomats be securing any FIAT in commissions from the use of Public Resources on behalf of MIC or is this covered in his recent Tax-Breaks for these Parasites.

Trump, love him or hate him he's a C.U.N.T.

RumpleShitzkin Jan 9, 2018 8:44 PM Permalink

This is great and everything...

 

But how about ditching some of the unconstitutional bullshit 2A infringements Stateside? 

Shooting down the NFA would be a major MAGA move.

RumpleShitzkin greenskeeper carl Jan 9, 2018 9:04 PM Permalink

They were sweating down a woman that had undergone Radiation Oncology treatment!

i guess she must have tripped off one of their sensors, which is pretty impressive if you think about it.

Embarrassing for the lady though...

But yeah, no shit...there were FDA ‘agents’ in their blue windbreakers with big ol’ FDA printed on the back packing Glocks. We laughed at em.

In reply to by greenskeeper carl