The good news is that America is Number One! Once again, the US of A is at the top of the heap, not only besting every other nation on the globe, but beating out all other nations combined. Go USA!
The bad news is that this spectacular achievement is in the sales of military weaponry. Yes, your country and mine is the top arms supplier to the world. In 2008, America's corporate weaponsmakers peddled nearly $38 billion worth of everything from attack helicopters to small arms. This was $13 billion more than the previous year, and it totaled more than two-thirds of all sales in last year's global arms bazaar. Our closest "competitor" was not Russia, not China, not Iran but, of all places, Italy, which tallied $3.7 billion in sales.
In its annual report on the arms market, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service noted that last year's surge in U.S. sales was "extraordinary," given the fact that a global recession restricted the ability of many countries to lavish such funds on war toys. Apparently, however, our arms dealers did a bang-up job of beating the bushes to find buyers. Especially fruitful were sales efforts in developing nations, which the report calls "the primary focus of foreign arms sales activity by weapons suppliers."
Indeed, such developing countries as Morocco, India, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates accounted for almost $30 billion of our overall sales, giving U.S. suppliers 70 percent of this lucrative market. Russia was second, earning $3.3 billon for helping arm the developing world. What a fine example of a national achievement this sets for all the boys and girls of our land. No doubt they'll bust with pride unless, of course, they end up having to battle some of the governments we're now arming.For more information on Jim Hightower's work and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown visit www.jimhightower.com.