Seeking to fulfill one of President Donald Trump's campaign promises, his administration will soon be calling upon U.S. military attaches and diplomats to help generate billions in foreign weapons deals in a plan it's calling "Buy American", reports Reuters.
President Donald Trump as early as February is expected to announce a "whole of government" effort to ease export rules on purchases by foreign countries of U.S.-made military equipment, from fighter jets and drones to warships and artillery, according to people familiar with the plan.
Trump is seeking to fulfill a 2016 election campaign promise to create jobs in the United States by selling more goods and services abroad to bring down the U.S. trade deficit from a six-year high of $50 billion.
The plan could wind up a boon for defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing:
"We want to see those guys, the commercial and military attaches, unfettered to be salesmen for this stuff, to be promoters," said the senior administration official, who is close to the internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Opponents of loosening such regulations and making such a push fear that human rights will be cast aside side, despite assurances from administration officials that human rights will still be considered in all deals.
"This administration has demonstrated from the very beginning that human rights have taken a back seat to economic concerns," said Rachel Stohl, director of the conventional defense program at the Stimson Center in Washington. "And the short-sightedness of a new arms export policy could have serious long-term implications."