Arms Export Control Act

Congress should approve all major arms deals and revoke the president’s ability to sell arms through emergency powers We propose the removal of the obscure “emergency provision” in the Arms Export Control Act, which allows the president to bypass legally mandated Congressional reviews of arms sales. This recommendation also accounts for sales to foreign nations who are engaged in a multi-dimensional civil war or regional conflict like in Yemen or Syria today. Well-publicised is the U.S. and UK’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has relied on such munitions to wage a military campaign in Yemen, of which has left thousands of innocent civilians dead and the country in ruins. Some reports even suggest that some of these weapons have found their way into the hands of militant groups in the region, reaffirming the DIPCR’s concerns regarding control and diffusion.

As elucidated throughout this paper, we recognise the difficult situation presented to countries like the U.S., or as Michael Walzer calls it – the ‘moral dilemma’. This involves a problematic situation in which one must choose between two courses of action, both of which would be morally wrong to undertake. In our case, the situation is whether to arm a rebel force conducting violence, supposedly against a nation’s brutal dictatorial government, or instead to violate said nation’s territorial sovereignty; while simultaneously putting the lives of one’s own military personnel at risk through a conventional military intervention. David Fischer seeks to extend morality from the private realm to the international arena. Fisher advocates national morality at an individual level, remarking the importance of soldiers within national armies to be trained in the virtues of combat. The DIPCR proposes that while waging war is an immoral act, it may still be necessary if it is to bring about an end to a larger reoccurring immoral act in another nation.

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Although in setting about doing this, where a military intervention is required as a last resort, it should be from the more virtuous conventional armies, where at least the ethical principles of ​jus in bellum ​will be honoured accordingly. Only this can ensure a greater control of the conflict and then also the post-conflict dynamic of the country. Nonetheless, a further legislative layer should be installed into the process of approving arms exports to foreign countries. So if a military intervention is not possible, the U.S. does not perpetuate the violence and suffering of a nation and its people through arming rebels.