How Big is the International Arms Trade?

A new Occasional Paper by Sam Perlo-Freeman, attempts to produce a global estimate, or rather a range of estimates of the financial size of the international arms trade. The paper also explains problems with the data, including for some of the largest western arms exporters, from whom one might expect a greater level of transparency: most notably, the USA.

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Theories of Violence from Superhero Blockbusters

My interest here is in what these movies try to say about the world and the place of violence — evil or righteous – in it. As American films in a world where the United States still possesses more military firepower than any other country (as example, in 2016 the US defence budget nearly topped the next fifteen largest national defence budgets combined), it is difficult not to view these films as metaphors for US power, regardless of the various nationalities of the characters. The launching point for these thoughts is Wonder Woman: the first female-led superhero movie, notably directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins. One could examine the film, as many have, from a feminist perspective, in which the film appears as a triumph of female power. More interesting to me is, given the amount of violence on display in the genre, what does a film want to say about violence? In this, Wonder Woman is a serious backward step from the emerging trend of more established superhero franchises that have recently projected a sense of unease about the inevitable harms and trade-offs that come with reliance on destructive force.

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An Age of Uncertainty

It is worthwhile at this juncture to consider the nature of the US presidency and its likely impact on the role of the US in the post-World War II and post-Cold War world order. The issues inherent in the US president’s recent statements and behavior — his fondness for autocrats, dismissal of allies and long-term partnerships, and his embrace of mercantilist approaches to trade —constitute a major break with core bipartisan traditions in US foreign policy.[i] Close advisors to the president articulate broad views of global politics that they define as standing at odds with this tradition.[ii] These developments contribute to a major increase in uncertainty for those who govern amidst disorder.

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President Donald Trump is a Threat to World Peace

In its 106 years of existence, the World Peace Foundation has committed to understanding and promoting peaceful relations among and within nations, as well as analyzing the causes of war. Today, based on our expertise and given the statements and actions of the current President of the United States, we are obliged to take a step without precedent, which is to name U.S. President Donald Trump as a major threat to global peace.

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