The Trade of U.S. Military Weaponry to Other Countries


            After I read Johnathan Zittrains article, “The Case for Kill Switches in Military Weaponry”, I began to question why the military traded weapons with other countries at the risk of putting the citizens of our country in danger. Zittrains article possessed me to search for other evidence in order to prove why we shouldn’t trade or sell weapons to other country or otherwise why my opinion on this is wrong. Without focusing on the kill switches described in Zittrains article, I instead focused on weapons trade itself and only found a few sources that pertained to the question I am asking which is, Why doesn’t the U.S. Military stop the trade and or sell of weaponry all together?

            In Zittrains article he discusses wanting to add kill switches to military weaponry in order to track and remotely shut down weapons that we have sold and or traded to other countries. This idea is where my research starts. Instead of controlling the weapons we release why not stop sending them away in the first place. If trading weapons directly reflects the possibility of bad implementation, it probably isn’t a good idea to do it in the first place. Zittrain discussed the good possibilities in his article but he also did a good job about discussing the bad possibilities of kill switches as well. Normally I would be on board with something like this but kill switches would work just like the U.S military unmanned drones, if the enemy were to get their hands on it, they would then have the technology we used to build it. Technology or weaponry alike, we need to keep both In the United States.

            After researching this topic further, my standpoint is that we should stop selling and trading weapons with other countries. As unrealistic as I may sound, an idea has to start somewhere. I look forward to doing more research on the subject and seeing more research on the subject. We will just have to wait and see what the future has to hold when it comes to decisions to trade or sell weapons, new technology, and maybe even kill switches in U.S weaponry.

Annotated Bibliography:

Burki, T. K. (2012). UN debates global arms trade treaty. The Lancet, 380(9837), 95-6. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61160-X

Burki’s article discusses the implementation of arms treaties that would put a check on the amount and the type of weapons that were allowed to be traded between the different countries. If you have studied war then you would know that the United Nations has banned many weapons from war, even though that doesn’t always stop countries from using them, and these treaties would establish a criminal law code for those that decided to break it. The idea for this treaty is simple, Burki states, “there are only 52 countries that regulate their arms brokers, and most of these do not maintain criminal sanctions for illegal sales.”

Burki’s article shows you just how long it took for the countries to come together and come up with treaties that puts the trade and use of different kinds of weapons illegal. The U.S was all for the weapons treaties but didn’t like the regulations that were to be implemented on ammunition. With the United States being the world’s largest weapons export country, Burki states “around 40% of the global trade”, what does our country have to benefit from selling and trading so much weaponry? With a military budget in the billions, you would think the U.S would stockpile weapons in order to cut back the budget until further necessary. Other countries trade weapons so why shouldn’t the U.S? Experience and the history of war has proven the United States to be the superior country when it comes to war, if we would like to keep it that way then our technology and weapons need to stay in our country. I chose this source because it shows just how big of a role the United states military plays in the international trade of weapons and technology.

Rivera, J. (2014). A biological battlefield: The potential applications of using remote sensing technology and biomarker organisms for identifying, tracking, and differentiating persons of interest within an area of operations. Journal of Commercial Biotechnology, 20(1) doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5912/jcb643

Jason Rivera’s article, “A biological Battlefield”, explains the major changes in war that have developed of the last decade or two. Before “big technology” engulfed the military, everything was done out of strategy and through carrying out military missions in order to locate high valued targets or personnel. Since then the world has changed and the technology has changed the military in a big way. Even though there has been major advancements, Rivera states that, “While these technologies have closed the gap in enabling U.S military and intelligence professional to understand the human aspect of the battlespace, there are still significant challenges in uniquely identifying the movements of and activities of specific persons or group of persons.”

Rivera’s article expresses how uniquely advanced the technology of the U.S military is. In the world we live in, technology is power. Rivera’s articles previews my idea that with technology controlling the world, the more advanced country wins, we cannot share our technologies and weaponry with other countries. With technology and weaponry there will always be negative implications and that is why we must keep the United states technology in the United States unless it can be deemed not a threat.

Skaperdas, S., & Syropoulos, C. (2001). Guns, butter, and openness: On the relationship between security and trade. The American Economic Review, 91(2), 353-357. Retrieved from http://nclive.org/cgi-bin/nclsm?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/233028743?accountid=9935

In “Guns, Butter, and Openness”, Skaperdas and Syropoulos are describing the relationship between the security of nations because of the trade that is occurring or not occurring. Trading guns with other countries who cannot defend themselves in full in war can be mutually beneficial with certain security regulations of course. Skaperdas and Syropoulos stated, “Nevertheless, one does not need to dig much into history to show that, while trade and economic interdependence can contribute to the peaceful resolution of disputes, they are not sufficient by themselves to guarantee the absence of war and the reduction of arming.” Skaperdas and Syropoulos are trying to explain that even though trade between countries can mend relations, start new relations, or win wars, they are not always the safest and best option.

                    Skaperdas and Syropoulos’s articles further strengthens my questions of, Why would the U.S trade weapons if it is going to put our lives in danger and it doesn’t benefit us in the end? The articles expresses how trade is a way of mending relationships between countries that are feuding and it also describes that when trade such as weaponry takes place, it is usually mutually beneficial for both parties. Without focusing entirely on the United states, this article gives insight on the pros and cons of trading with other countries. Food and material, such as cotton, that are traded can be traded without the fear of death to hundreds or thousands. The trade of weapons and even technology will always come with the risk of be turned around and causing havoc on the people responsible for making it and the innocent as well.

Zittrain, Jonathen.”The Case for Kill Switches in Military Weaponry.” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Reading and Handbook. 4th ed., by Richard Bullock, Maureen Daly, Gaggin, and Francine Weinberg, 2016, pp. 926-29

Zittrains’s article discusses the use of kill switches inside of United States weaponry that is sold or traded to other countries so that we may maintain control. With the war in the middle east always carrying on, the U.S military has been forced to train Iraqi and afghan soldiers to help them in the fight with skills and training and also with fire power. The implementations of the kill switches are purely for the scenarios in which enemy combatants like the Taliban or ISIS were to get their hands on a stockpile of military weapons. Zittrain stated, “Ignition keys represent the best technology of 1949. Today there are many more possibilities.”

                        I chose to revisit this article because my previous work on Zittrains article, “The case for Kill Switches in Military Weaponry”, is the main cause for why I question the military trading weapons with other countries. Especially countries that are considered to be failing and prevent a common goal of regaining power and growing in their power. I also chose this article because it discusses the use of new technology and the dangers that would come with trying to implant kill switches inside of weaponry, not to mention the cost. I suggest a more simple solution, stop trading weapons with other countries especially if it is unnecessary. 

Courageous Word

A Word is Dead by Emily Dickinson is a short poem that expresses a lot of depth. In just four lines it has the reader contemplating the many different meaning the poem could hold. One of the many focuses of this poem is courage. A word can never be dead once it is said, the truth will make you feel alive. “The truth will set you free”.

In line one of the poem when Emily says, “A word is dead when it is said”(1), she is trying to express that once a word has been spoken the meaning falls away. If this were true, statements like “I love you” used everyday would have no meaning and share no meaning between individuals. “A word is dead when it is said” is Dickinsons way of saying that once a word has been released it begins to die with distortions but when kept inside the possibility of meaning are massive. This also portrays a sense of fear or shyness. Dickinson is expressing the fear to release the “word” because of what could happen once it has been said.

“I say it begins to live/ that day”(3-4), this line indicates how the writer feels about a word once it has been spoken. The distortions mentioned above that could cause a word to die might just be what allows a word to live. Once a word is spoken it adapts meaning and can adapt different meaning for different context and even for different individuals. Dickinson is trying to tell the audience that being quiet, being afraid to speak is no way to live your live. Give voice to your opinions, let your “word” be heard and do not live in the shadows. A word does not die when it is said, it begins to live that day.

Kill Switch Newsflash

In the essay, “The case for kill Switches in Military Weaponry” by Jonathan Zittrain, Zittrain is asking a question that many people are concerned about, whether it be politicians or private citizens. The people want to know why the military trades weapons, without being able to control them, to nations that allow the enemy to get their hands on them or have traded weapons with the enemy in the past.

Zittrain’s text introduces the idea of the kill switch. Zittrain stated, “If the feature is worth putting in consumer devices, why not embed it in devices that can be so devastatingly repurposed- including against their rightful owners, as at the Mosul Dam?” (Zittrain, 926). The big question would then be, how secure are these kill switches inside these weapons? If the U.S were to trade weapons with other nations that could potentially hack our kill switches, our government would just be spending money on something that is faulty, not to mention the increase is U.S weaponry around the world. The United States is not the only country with individuals smart enough to break down this weaponry and repurpose it for their own use. The fear of the enemy learning how to copy or disable our military equipment is a big concern. This is why there are security clearances and classified weaponry in our military. Regardless of being able to control the weapons we trade, determining the weapons worth enough to get the kill switch would have to be determined. Money and level of destruction would have to be a factor in this decision because arming all weapons with a kill switch could potentially cost billions and maybe more.

Zittrain observed, “Today however, we are making the conscious choice to create and share medium and heavy weaponry while not restricting it’s use.” (p. 929). Who is making the choice to trade U.S weaponry? Everyday civilians do not have a say in whether or not military weapons are exchanged with other countries. As interesting and well put together as Zittrain’s article is, Zittrain’s credentials in law and public speaking do not show any expertise in military weaponry or overseas military affairs. The military has a reason for working the way that it does and most believe that so far it is working. Kill switches are not new technology and the military more than likely has decided against them for some reason. Or kill switches do exist and civilians are not allowed to know about it. The military keeping advanced military equipment a secret is a key factor in the success of our military.

This article provides information on technology that has proven its worth in consumer use. As stated before, this technology is not new and more than likely has been considered or is already in use in the military. According to Zittrain, kill switches sound easy and completely necessary. Until our military no longer provides us the protection that we need, choices like this belong to the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense and ranking individuals under them qualified and experienced enough to make them.

Zittrain, Jonathen.”The Case for Kill Switches in Military Weapnry.” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Reading and Handbook. 4th ed., by Richard Bullock, Maureen Daly, Gaggin, and Francine Weinberg, 2016, pp. 926-29 xmlns:”http:

The Work Never Stops

Hello, my name is Sean Rhoney. I am a full time student at Catawba Valley Community College. After our current semester is over I plan to transfer to UNC Charlotte. Along with going to school full time I also work full-time and have two different jobs. That normally only allows me to have one day off every week to relax and do the things I enjoy. What can I say I like to work. Normally on my days off I spend time working on my truck. Its an older truck and it always needs work so it keeps me busy on my days off. I was raised in a family that works all the time and owns multiple businesses. I guess not being able to sit still for too long runs in the family.