EUROPE/FRANCE - At least 43 arms exhibitions have been held around the world since the start of the war in Ukraine

Friday, 23 June 2023 weapons   pope francis  

by Luca Mainoldi

Paris (Agenzia Fides) - This week the most prestigious aeronautical exhibition in the world opened at the Parisian airport of Le Bourget, together with the British exhibition in Fanborough.
The two biennial events are held alternately so as not to overlap. Although they both have a large section dedicated to civil aviation, both shows are a showcase for the arms industries around the world, especially the aerospace and missile sectors. But alongside these two major events whose origin dates back several decades (the Parisian show boasts a history that dates back to the beginning of the last century), exhibitions dedicated exclusively to armaments are held every year in different parts of the world. These are much more recent events, many of which are held in states that have only recently established military industries whose products are to be promoted at national exhibitions. Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022 until today (June 23, 2023), according to a calculation we made (approximate by default), at least 43 have taken place (including 32 in 2022, 11 have already taken place in 2023 and more are planned).
From South Africa to Tunisia, from Chile to Brazil, from Bulgaria to the Czech Republic, from the United Arab Emirates to Japan, arms showrooms are in full swing, stimulated by international tensions. In addition to a commercial interest, that of presenting the latest products of their arms industry, the host countries pursue a strategic interest, seeking to establish themselves as a point of reference for their region among world arms manufacturers. This can lead multinational armament companies to set up their own subsidiaries in some of these countries, thus gradually encouraging the transfer of technology to local industry. This is the case of the United Arab Emirates, where for years the IDEX, the largest arms exhibition in the whole Middle East and a meeting point for arms manufacturers, large and small, from almost every country in the world. Over time, thanks to the collaboration with multinationals and foreign companies, the Emirates have acquired an important military industrial sector capable of supplying increasingly sophisticated systems. The objective, in addition to the diversification of the national economy, is to acquire a strategic capacity for intervention, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa, through the sale (or in some cases the donation) of arms to friends and allies (or to forces acting by proxy). Not all the exhibitions are attended by major international arms manufacturers: smaller, more peripheral exhibitions are mainly the prerogative of local producers, demonstrating the progressive expansion of arms production which is seeing an increase in the number of countries capable of manufacturing increasingly sophisticated systems. While Western countries have experienced a centralization of defense production within large multinational groups, States which, until a few decades ago, were net arms importers, have developed their own industries, capable not only of satisfying (at least partially) the domestic market, but also to export to even very distant countries. In some cases, emerging manufacturers are able to win tenders from major power militaries, as was the case with Brazilian trainer aircraft purchased by Britain's RAF. Ultimately, while Pope Francis reminds us that "allocating a large part of the expenditure to armament means taking it away from something else, that is to say continuing to take it away once again from those who lack the necessary" (Greetings to the Members of the voluntary organization "I was thirsty" March 21, 2022), the arms trade finds new life in the aggravation of international tensions. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/6/2023)