The existence of official arms export controls is often cited by the Government in defence of indefensible arms exports. But the UK’s arms exports speak for themselves, as do the tiny proportion of arms export licence applications that are refused.
There are several technical reasons that contribute to the ineffectiveness of the UK’s arms export controls, but the overwhelming reason is that it is Government policy and practice to actively promote and support arms sales. Within this policy context, the main effect of the licensing process is to legitimise arms exports.
- Anna Stavrianakis, The Façade of Arms Control, CAAT, February 2008