U.S. Approves Arms Sales to Pacific Allies Aiming to Deter China - How Much Military Aid Does America Provide?
How do you feel about arms sales to U.S. allies Australia and the Philippines?
What’s the story?
- The U.S. has in recent months approved several prospective arms sales to allies in the Pacific with the goal of improving their defensive capabilities to deter aggression by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
- Last week, the Dept. of Defense and State Dept. gave a green light to a request by the Philippines to purchase 12 F-16 fighter jets along with related weaponry, in addition to anti-air and anti-ship missiles at a total estimated cost of about $2.6 billion.
- The Philippines has a mutual defense treaty with the U.S. and is also one of several nations which has territory in the South China Sea that the PRC claims belongs to it by virtue of being on its side of a “nine-dashed line” that the U.S. and other nations reject. The situation has so far resulted in several skirmishes at sea between the countries’ coast guards and fishing vessels.
- Earlier this spring, the agencies approved Australia’s requests to purchase 264 Abrams tanks, 29 Apache helicopters, 12 Reaper drones, and four Chinook helicopters at an estimated total cost of over $7 billion. The U.S. and Australia are parties to a non-binding security treaty, share intelligence under the “Five Eyes” agreement, and are part of “the Quad” ― an informal security partnership that also includes India and Japan.
- Both Australia and the Philippines are considered “major non-NATO allies” by the U.S., which makes them eligible for access to certain defense technologies, surplus equipment, and enhanced military training. Like other U.S. allies, the countries have used that status to bolster their military capabilities over the years.
- Historically, military aid has augmented economic aid in U.S. efforts to provide assistance to foreign countries, with the latter outpacing the former except for a brief period at the outset of the Cold War. This USAFacts chart shows total annual foreign economic and military assistance in inflation-adjusted 2019 dollars dating back to the end of World War II:
- This USAFacts chart shows the top 10 recipients of U.S. foreign aid from the end of World War II to 2019:
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brian Calhoun via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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