We are pleased to draw to your attention a new report by Sam Perlo-Freeman, project manager for our program on the Global Arms Business and Corruption. The report, “Special Treatment: UK Government support for the arms trade and industry,” was authored by Perlo-Freeman while he was at SIPRI, who describes it thus: “The arms industry and market, in the UK as in most other significant western arms-producing countries, has a unique status. Although its production capabilities are privately owned, it has the national government as its primary customer. Unlike other industries, especially in the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ economies, it is the subject of active government industrial policy.”

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On 11 November 2016, the World Peace Foundation held consultations in Addis Ababa with policymakers and experts on the proposed deployment of a ‘Regional Protection Force’ (RPF) for South Sudan. A policy memo summarizing those consultations is now available on the African Peace Missions website.

You can read an excerpt from the policy memo below.

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Security: the unmentionable debate

While there are genuine points of disagreement between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, the centrality of ‘security’ is not one of them. I wish this were not the case.

Both candidates seem to agree that security ought to be the basis of foreign (or even domestic) policy decision-making. They differ, […]

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Under the Obama Administration, we have seen the humanitarian imperative compromised by counter-terror laws and the politics of alliances. In Somalia and Syria, aid agencies were hampered by the PATRIOT Act from operating in areas in which they might be deemed to be providing assistance, material or symbolic, to groups labeled as terrorists. Preventable humanitarian disasters followed. In Yemen, the U.S. has been party to economic warfare conducted by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, causing famine conditions. In each of these cases, U.S. counter-humanitarianism cost lives, to no political benefit.

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The US is the world’s number one international seller of arms. This is true whichever way you slice the data: using SIPRI’s measure of the volume of major conventional arms transfers, and even more so using the Congressional Research Service estimates of the financial value of orders.

The US distributes its arms widely, selling major […]

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So the US needs a debate on reform of the existing architecture, what strategy to pursue to bring about that reform, and what role the US should play. The debate should take place now, before the US finds itself in a purely reactive mode, responding to initiatives taken by emerging powers and others who are increasingly able to shape the global agenda.

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