By Jay - Ottawa
"WASHINGTON — One key indicator of the health of the US aerospace and defense sector, foreign military sales rose to a record high of $46.6 billion for fiscal 2015, but US officials are warning of a dip in sales next year."
Aw gee, a dip in sales next year. Despite the predicted dip in weapons production and the export thereof nobody is likely to beat the USA in this business any time soon.
"Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) director Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey said that 2015 was the agency’s biggest year yet…. 'It’s just been volume, there’s not been one big sale,' said Rixey…. 'We’ve had to double down contracting officers just to keep up the pace….' "
Way to go, admiral. From another respected source we learn that "US exports of major weapons increased by 23 per cent between 2005–2009 and 2010–14 [and] the Middle East received 32 per cent."
Dollars and contracting officers may be standard measures on the progress charts, but there are other indicators that the business of war is booming. The arms export business is a fillip to sectors found on the fringes of war, many of them nonprofits, like Doctors Without Borders (MSF) or the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). They also complain about not keeping up the pace.
Nothing changes. All year round planes loaded with small arms and ammo lift off from the States and head east to the most lucrative trouble spots. Ships loaded with the heavier stuff cast off and head east with tanks, howitzers and drones, batteries included, some assembly necessary upon arrival. All in time for Christmas if you order now. Some of us wonder whether these exports will ever end. Bon voyage, exports, down to the last round for whomever you're aiming to take out tomorrow.
Yesterday, something new was added to the import-export business of North America. From Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey there began the export of a special cargo, this time moving from east to west. Syrian refugees are heading for Canada. The first plane in the new trade flew over my Ottawa around 3PM on its way to Pearl's Toronto by around 4PM. Then four hours of paperwork until the first shipment of 150 Syrians could leave the airport to explore their new home. All this I know from the headlines; it was top story all day on radio and TV.
Nature spread out an unusually mild and sunny December 10 for Canadians and for the incoming Syrians. Today it's much the same, unusually mild. "10,000 Syrians by Christmas," says the new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, straining to keep the pace of his campaign promise.
Most people back him in this business but let's be honest; some Canadians object. We commoners welcome you Syrians with a bit of hesitation. But you do look so tired. And we do have room here. Shades of the first Christmas story. So eat, rest.
Did I mention the weather is so fine for this time of year? What a day. Mild weather predicted again for tomorrow when the next flight lands in Montreal. (Up here we have to do everything first in English, then French, or vice versa––very inefficient––just to make sure nobody feels left out.) After Montreal's day in the sun a flood of charter flights will head west from the Middle East with much less hoopla. Another 25,000 by March 1, says Trudeau.