To the Editor:
After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Einstein remarked that WWIII will have to be fought with bows and arrows.
During the Tang Dynasty (8th Century) the Chinese were the first to invent the gunpowder. That changed
life on earth only to be equaled by another, centuries later in Las Alamos. No doubt people kill people.
Gunpowder cannot kill. But the huge causalities recently in Gaza and Ukraine, a miniscule in our long
history with gunpowder, by no means would be the same if the same people were equipped with bows and
The international arms trade has a long history. It has been difficult to define and measure. Its facts
are worth knowing and each can draw his or her own conclusion. A well know source of data is the
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. SIPRI estimates for 2013 the total arms transfer of 42
countries to the tune of $25,570 million. Of this the five major suppliers, U.S. Russia, China, France,
U.K. and Germany, account for $20,120 million or 79 per cent of the total. Since 1990, the U.N. has
imposed arms embargoes against targets in 17 countries, the most recent one against Eritrea in 2009.
These were obviously to reduce the causalities in areas of conflict by calling for restraint in arms
supply. Recently there has been considerable anguish worldwide, about the number of children killed in
the conflict in Gaza.
The major issue in arms sale is the black market in arms. We can wipe out a great deal of it by wiping
its supply. We supply a lot, most of it.
The planet’s most valuable asset is its children. Far more valuable than all our rights and lands.
Without them our rights are useless in a lifeless planet. Every child that died in the Israeli-Hamas
conflict on both sides and each of the 80 children on Flight MH17, there was a weapon with a serial mark
and a country of origin. Even those who will roundly criticize me for calling for an international
control and severe restriction of the sale of arms, there is every human reason not to treat this as an
industry as any other.
V. N. Krishnan
To the Editor: