America’s Military Exports Are Booming

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 03: Two F-18’s, VFA 94 ‘Mighty Shrikes’ do fly-over during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 3, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona.

Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR

One reason it sometimes seems like “everything” is made in China is that a lot of America’s main export products aren’t things consumers buy. For example, exports of military equipment surged by $10 billion dollars last year to a total of $43.3 billion.

The key drivers are said to be India and Brazil. All things considered, this is an underrated element in American foreign policy. In the absence of the Cold War, one of the main practical distinctions between countries that are allies of the United States and countries that are not is that the closer an ally you are the more opportunity there is to buy American military hardware. I don’t really know what military threats Brazil thinks it needs to fend off, but as the country gets richer it’s investing more in military capacities for national prestige reasons and countries like the USA that have substantial specialization in this field can benefit.