Policy Forum

Should the United States Adopt a Code of Conduct for Selling Arms?

July 30, 1998 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EDT

Hayek Auditorium

Featuring Gregory Suchan, U.S. Department of State; Joel Johnson, Aerospace Industries Association; Lawrence Korb, Brookings Institution; and Stephen Rickard, Amnesty International USA.

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A proposed code of conduct would establish criteria that foreign countries would have to meet to be eligible to buy U.S. weapons. To be eligible, a country would have to have a democratic form of government, conduct peaceful relations with other states, respect human rights, and fully disclose its weapons purchases. The sale of weapons to a country that failed to meet the criteria would require a presidential waiver on national security grounds (subject to a congressional rejection of the waiver). Recently, a similar code was adopted by the European Union. Are such codes of conduct a good idea?