US foreign military sales totaled $55.66 billion in 2018, a 33% increase compared to the nearly $42 billion in weapons sold in 2017, the Defense Cooperation Agency announced Wednesday.
It is the highest annual total for military sales to foreign governments since 2012 when the US conducted upwards of $69 billion in arms deals with allies and partners around the world.
The upward trend is due, in part, to the Trump administration’s push to relax restrictions on foreign military sales. Though critics suggest human rights concerns are being relegated in the rush to increase sales.
Since taking office, President Donald Trump has demonstrated an insatiable appetite for selling American weaponry abroad – at times using face-to-face meetings with foreign leaders to make a personal sales pitch.
Trump signed a nearly $110 billion defense deal with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in May last year in the Saudi c