Lots of Russian Guns in Latin America

Sometime in early 2010 it was made official:  Russia officially became the largest supplier of arms to Latin America.  Maybe that’s because the U.S. started getting more picky about their arms customers.  Here goes a brief note from Mac Margolis at Newsweek on the $5.8 billion in recent deals Russia has made with various Latin countries:

Ironically, one reason for the budding East-West axis may be Washington’s own rigid security agenda. The U.S. has imposed restrictions on arms sales to many nations suspected of being soft on terrorism or roiled by internal conflict. So, many on that watch list have turned to Moscow, which asks no questions. Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, for example, has snapped up some $4 billion in Russian weapons in recent years. This isn’t the start of a new Cold War, but the flood of weapons into a region where political turmoil is still common should be enough to make the hemisphere’s ranking power pay attention.

Something is weird here though … we have a “flood of weapons” to Latin America which should raise concerns, however this is partly caused by Washington’s “rigid security agenda” which drives arms customers into the arms of the Kremlin.  But wouldn’t these purchases have been made whether or not it was the Russians or Americans selling the arms?  Demand is demand, right?  I think it is more a question of how easily, how quickly, and how cheaply such instruments of warfare are now available, free of conditions, in today’s world.