Americans have been the biggest supplier of arms to the world. Roughly 33% of all weapons come from us. But who is actually receiving these arms might shock you. Check it.
With the end of the U.S. arms embargo, Vietnam will join a long list of international recipients of American armaments.
The U.S. is responsible for nearly 33% of worldwide exports — by far the top arms exporter on the planet — but which countries does the U.S. sell the most weapons to?
Saudi Arabia was the top recipient of American-made arms from 2011-2015, followed closely by the United Arab Emirates, according to research compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which has been analyzing international arms transfers since 1968.
The rest of the top 10 included Turkey, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, India, Singapore, Iraq, and Egypt.
Experts believe the Middle East will remain a top destination for weapons for some time — it currently accounts for about 40% of U.S. arms exports — especially given the rise of ISIS.
“The dynamic of the [falling] oil prices has been overwhelmed by the deep insecurity these countries are currently feeling and the insecure future they feel they face,” Andrew Hunter of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told CNN.
Hunter, the director of the defense-industrial initiatives group, said that the countries in the region were “prioritizing defense” over other spending.
The American exports include everything from small arms to fighter jet aircraft and tanks, to Patriot Missile batteries.
Several Asian countries are also represented high up on the arms sales list, reflecting ongoing tensions with North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs and China’s stepped up military activity in the South China Sea.
The tightening of U.S.-Vietnam relations comes as Vietnam has protested China’s actions in its nearby waters, including an incident where China stationed an oil rig in disputed waters off of Vietnam’s coast in 2014, an event that sparked anti-China riots in Vietnam.