The $110 Million Arms Deal May Not Create Sustainable Jobs
Whenever the U.S. engages in arms trade agreements with foreign powers, especially ones that may not share western values, many pundits claim that it is immoral, while others defend the move as an economic and jobs necessity.
But with the most recent Saudi arms deal, is the U.S. creating sustainable jobs that will make the trade worth the moral questioning?
Saudi Arabia, long known for its human rights abuses and its current military affairs across the Middle East, where conflicts like the one in Yemen have seen it repeatedly accused of targeting and killing civilians, is one of the largest purchasers of U.S.-made arms. This has for a long time meant manufacturing jobs for many Americans has been used to justify the dealings, along with shared political interests.
But while Saudi Arabia accounts for a large share of arms sales, it only hosts two percent of production and repair. Often in these arms deals, repairs and maintenance are baked into the agreement, allowing for jobs to be maintained by Americans for years to come.
Mina Chang, CEO of Linking the World and an International Security Fellow for New America, argues in Fortune that the Kingdom’s focus on innovation and self-sufficiency will result in American jobs being lost. Therefore, those jobs being created are unlikely to be sustainable in the long term.
As such, she argues for maintaining a more moral position when it comes to dealing with Saudi Arabia, especially in the realm of arms deals. While the jobs being created at the moment are real, she wonders if they can be counted on to extend into the future, considering the current trajectory of Saudi Arabia and its spending plans.
As it stands, the Kingdom is investing $1.62 billion domestically on “offensive and deterrence programs, including advanced guidance systems, defense radars, and sensors, as well as communications and electronic warfare capabilities,” Chang writes in the article. (Source: Ibid.)
If the development continues apace for the nation, then American jobs could be hurt since these arms deals are temporary contracts versus a long-term and sustainable source of employment for manufacturing workers.
Description: Saudi Arabia signs a $110 million arms deal with the U.S., but some analysts are concerned that the U.S. is hurting its moral position by dealing with Saudi Arabia while creating unsustainable jobs.
“Trump’s $110 billion Saudi Arabia Weapons Deal Won’t Spawn American Jobs,” Fortune, May 24, 2017.