Arming the World

Out of control and no limits in sight

The scene was shocking, but it was an aptly ironic image of the times. A winner of the Nobel Peace Prize shot by soldiers—his own—wielding Soviet AK-47s (market price: $750), who had jumped from a Soviet Zil truck (price: $18,000) that was towing a North Korean antitank gun ($35,000). In the background American-made M60 battle tanks ($2 million each) rumbled on in the parade of Egyptian military might, while six French Mirage jet fighters ($2.5 million) flew overhead in tight formation.

Across the Islamic world, from Tripoli to Tehran, the assassination...

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