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Clearly there is an unsavoury and unethical aspect to the sale of weapons,1 but there is a legitimate trade as well. Few would doubt that there are benefits from various “peacekeeping” forces in the world, though obviously there are controversial invasions. Only the most naive would argue that our own democracy was not protected during the cold war by our weaponry. We can pretend it is not happening and let other countries dominate the arms trade, but we will still buy weapons for our armies. If my son is to be sent to an area of conflict, I don't want him being armed with inferior weaponry because a non-combatant thought it unethical to seek the best technology.
Unpalatable as it is, there will always be an arms trade and dissociating ourselves from it will merely remove any possibility of influencing control. Landmines would not disappear if Reed Elsevier stopped organising exhibitions.
Competing interests: LRD owns shares in Qinetic, a British defence company.