Worldwide weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service.
U.S. arms sales to both developed and developing nations reached $66.3 billion last year, up from $21.4 billion in 2010, the report found. Russia, the nation with the second highest weapon sales, sold $4.8 billion worth of arms. Meanwhile, total worldwide weapon sales nearly doubled to $85.3 billion, making the U.S. responsible for more than three-quarters of the global total.
Some of the biggest purchasers of U.S. weapons were Middle Eastern nations, including Saudi Arabia, whose purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters in part accounted for a $30 billion bill. The U.S. also sold around $2 billion worth of antimissile batteries to Taiwan, a deal that stoked the ire of China and caused tension during a diplomatic Chinese military visit last July.
For its part, Russia has also faced criticism for its weapons dealings with Syria, which remains embroiled in a civil war since March 2011.
The United Nations failed to reach a consensus last month on a treaty to increase regulation of the arms industry, but further talks are expected leading up to a possible vote by the end of the year.
(Hat tip: The New York Times)