Free trade for weapons


US weapons makers may soon be able to peddle their wares in Britain and Australia without so much as a license, reports CAPITOL HILL BLUE, thanks to new arms-export rules being drafted by the Pentagon and State Department. This is great news for defense contractors, but not everyone in Washington is pleased.

Arms-control advocates fear that what lines Lockheed‘s pockets today may bite the rest of us in the butt tomorrow. Similar trade rules with Canada were scrapped because of arms leaking through to Iran. “It’s ridiculous to think the technology we spill into Europe won’t spread,” says one arms-control expert. Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have threatened to kill the new rules, and even Madeleine Albright was reportedly forced to swallow her objections to the deal.