The countries that have received the greatest security assistance from the United States continue to struggle to address grievances among populations and to provide deeper human security that can only be resolved through political, social, and economic solutions.
If Congress is only notified of and the American public is only able to access partial data on U.S. arms sales, how can policymakers and the general public even begin to assess their impacts? Can partial transparency really be called transparency at all?
When countries who are party to a conflict receive U.S. arms, and the U.S. willingly approves those sales, it also tacitly approves the role of that country in conflict, even countries that violate human rights and bring about large numbers of civilian casualties.
Despite the relative lack of attention it has received in recent years, the Balkan region is a critical strategic area for both the United States and Russia and increasingly for China, with the potential for competing interests to complicate a fragile stability.
What will be the nature of the security relationship between Washington and Kabul the day after America declares an end to one of its longest wars? The answer will shape Afghanistan, define local and regional dynamics, and determine the country’s prospects for peace.
If there’s one thing we can learn from the Trump administration’s final-year arms sales extravaganza, it’s that we can’t expect administrations to abide by norms that aren’t set into law. We need stronger regulatory frameworks, particularly on transparency. This is critical to ensuring the international community can continue to monitor foreign arms sales, that arms sales aren’t at odds with diplomatic priorities, and that the United States gets closer to a more responsible arms sales policy.
If President Sisi’s administration continues its slide toward autocracy, the Biden administration should send a clear message that security assistance is not unconditional.
In 2011, President Barack Obama made the security of the Asia-Pacific region “a top priority” for the United States. Nine years later, tensions with China have escalated dramatically. These tensions cast a dark cloud over the future of U.S.-China relations, as well as the national and economic security of both Washington and Beijing.