It is euphemistically called DSEi (Defense and Security Equipment International), the protesters call it “dicey”. Global military expenditure stands at over $1.6 trillion in annual expenditure and has been rising in recent years in spite of the global economic downturn. The UN budget (peace and development) is just 30 billion. The Arms Fair is here to make sure even countries that cannot afford food for their citizens leave with juicy contracts for the arms dealers.
The arms trade is dominated by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, UK and the US, along with Germany and, increasingly, Israel. This alone already gives us a hint of how the system works, what “democracy” means and what is the role of the UN in what should be but is not the concert of nations. The permanent members alone account for around three quarters of exported arms. And they all come to London to sell, and to get rich.