Infamous arms dealer goes on trial

(By Deutsche Welle) The trial of the world’s most infamous arms dealer, Viktor Bout, has got underway in New York. Yet around the globe, most dealers operate with impunity because they supply the demand for a hot commodity.

The consequences of Viktor Bout’s business stretch from Afghanistan to Colombia. For nearly two decades, Bout allegedly peddled arms to some of the world’s poorest countries so they could fight its most devastating wars.

Yet he also reportedly transported UN peacekeepers to Somalia, flew cargo to Iraq for the US government, and delivered flowers from South Africa to Dubai.

Many arms dealers today have no identifiable ideology. They have no enduring allegiances. And they believe in no greater political cause. They represent a nihilism that seeks consolation by making money through any means available – legal and illegal, moral and immoral.

Bout was arrested in Thailand after trying to sell weapons to US undercover agents posing as members of the Colombian rebel group FARC. He was eventually extradited to the US, however, Russian authorities are outraged that Bout – a Russian national – is now set to face trial in an American court.

Although Bout may face justice, the trade he practiced operates with the tacit sanction of nations around the world. Arms dealers are rarely held accountable, because they provide an essential service for a lucrative undertaking: war.

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