Report: France Challenging Russia as World's Second Biggest Arms Exporter

    Photo: AFP/Getty Images [via The Guardian]

    The Facts

    • According to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) — entitled 'Trends in International Arms Transfers' — France is set to become the world's second-largest arms exporter in the coming decade, as it has recently narrowed its share gap to Russia's exports.

    • Paris has reportedly expanded its participation in the global arms trade from 7.1% in 2013-2017 to 11% in 2018-2022, due to rising exports to Asia Pacific and the Middle East. France is also one of the biggest suppliers to NATO members, along with the US and South Korea.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The thundering success of the French defense industry means, not only that the country has achieved its long-sought goal of strategic autonomy, but also that it has expanded the country's share of global arms sales and, consequently, its diplomatic influence. In the face of anticipated economic slowdown, this key sector must be treated as a national priority.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    While those boasting France's weapons sales claim that the country would take advantage of so-called arms diplomacy to justify exports to authoritarian regimes — that may even use French-made weapons against civilians — Paris has failed to turn the assertion into a reality. France is not achieving any strategic autonomy but rather disturbingly becoming more dependent on autocratic, unscrupulous clients.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that at least 2.19% of world GDP will be spent on military expenses in 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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