Small Arms in Africa

There is a great passage regarding the world arms trade posted by The Remittance Man in a comment over at Tim Worstall’s:

[W]eapons manufactured by the companies that Mrs Robinson obviously regards as the most evil perpetrators of the trade, Colt, Smith and Wesson, Remington, Fabrique Nationale, heckler and Koch, and so on, are relatively uncommon in Africa. The weapons most often seen bear the brand names Kalashnikov and Tokarev and were delivered to the continent in the spirit of fraternal good fellowship in their tens of millions by the regimes of Russia, Cuba and the People’s Republic of China. Strangely, these regimes do not believe in free trade, prefering simple state to state or state to client transactions.

Which is one of the points I made here, and I feel is important enough to make again and again:

You generally don’t see US-made rifles, mortars, and landmines scattered willy-nilly around warring African tribes. What you do see is Russian made rifles, mortars, and landmines scattered amongst anyone anywhere who is willing to have a fight, and right behind them you see the Chinese knock-offs of the same. 


It is the Russian and Chinese weaponery that is has caused and is still causing the deaths of tens of millions of people the world over, not the US high-tech kit. Yet oddly, Russia and China are seldom vilified by the peace activists and do-gooders in the West for flogging millions of rifles and grenades to anyone who wants them, whilst at the same time protesting voiciforously when the US or Britain sells an air traffic control system to Tanzania or India. Were they to actually take into account which weapons were actually causing the mountain of misery in places like Sudan and Sierra Leone, they’d be surprised to see that it is Russian and Chinese kit doing the killing.

This is a pet topic of mine, and I am not going to let it go any time soon.