Arms Trade & Democracy : How Sweden justifies weapons exports to non-democracies.

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS)

Abstract: Sweden is top ranked in indexes measuring democracy, but the country is also a major weapons exporter. The contradiction is reflected upon in this paper, where Sweden as a well established democracy seems to be going against its own democratic values when exporting weapons to non-democracies. Previous research is limited and lacks sufficient explanation to why Sweden exports weapons to non-democratic states.  The aim of this study is therefore to analyze arguments behind the Swedish weapons exportation to countries with a low degree of democratic freedom. By applying Framing theory and argumentation analysis, selected statements arguing for weapons exports, expressed by Swedish government representatives have been analyzed. The justifications for weapons exportation to dictatorships have been categorized, depending on emphasis, into four frames namely; security, development, credibility and reliability. The research result showed that the most commonly used arguments to justify weapons exports to non-democracies include following; (1) There is a need of a defense industry for Swedish security reasons, (2) It is positive for international exchange and trade and (3) The rules for weapons exports are strict enough and well established in politics. The different ways of justifying the weapons export shows that the concerned Swedish government representatives frame their arguments in a way that supports their political opinion and the current government.

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