Nobody’s hands are clean. All major – and many minor – powers sold Ghaddafi arms – not only Ghaddafi, but also to dozens of other actual and potential villains.
We must make such practices as heinous as dealing in drugs.
A distinction has to be made between the manufacturing of weapons for the legitimate use of one’s own nation and the selling of arms to villains.
Who are the villains?
This is similar to the question raised in connection with the proliferation of nuclear weapons – similar, but far from the same. In the nuclear case, the members of the nuclear club are determined to prevent non-members from acquiring nuclear weapons, even more so than everybody else. In the case of the arms trade, all nations (with the exception of Iceland?) are already members of the club.
The U.N. Security Council has to decide. Keeping arms out of the hands of those who they determine are actual and potential villains is in the interest of each member – and of all humanity.
We must learn to think of the arms trade as disgusting – as an affront to human decency. The world’s opinion leaders must lead the way. The world’s politicians, educators and journalists must follow.
A global cultural change is needed.