Czechoslovakia: Confronting a Tankless Task

The good intentions of political leaders to get out of the arms business run into economic reality

Trick question: What country is the world's leading arms manufacturer -- in per capita terms? Hint: it's not any of the big five in the arms business (the U.S., the Soviet Union, France, Britain and China). The answer: Czechoslovakia.

With 111 factories churning out weaponry ranging from AK-47s to L-39 Albatros jet trainers, Czechoslovakia has been producing more than $800 annually per citizen, vs. $700 for the U.S. But with a dissident playwright as President and a mandate to undo the past, Czechoslovakia's postcommunist government is determined to dismantle the country's arms industry. President Vaclav Havel has ruefully noted that Czechoslovakia...

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