ARMAMENTS: Global Growth in Guns

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Few businesses are as politically sensitive or as subject to moral condemnation as the world trade in weapons. For that reason, government officials and private businessmen who negotiate sales of guns, jets, tanks, warships and other instruments of war are notoriously secretive about their dealings. One secret, however, can no longer be kept: largely because of hot buying by Middle East oil countries, the export of arms, long a global growth industry, is accelerating to near supersonic speed.

Total international sales of weapons approached $15 billion last year, more than double...

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