Dribs and Drabs

Content Type
Working Paper
Small Arms Survey
This iconic line from the 2005 film Lord of War conveys widely held assumptions about international arms traffickers: that they are ambitious, well-connected, globe-trotting entre-preneurs who single-handedly arm criminals and militias throughout the world. The film’s fictional protagonist, Yuri Orlov, is based on five actual arms dealers, including Russian businessman Viktor Bout, whose vast global network of shell companies and unsavoury clients earned him the moniker ‘the Merchant of Death’ (Gilchrist, 2005). The composite image of Bout and his peers has become the archetypal arms trafficker, the image that comes to mind whenever the illicit arms trade is discussed. Yet most arms traffickers bear little resemblance to that image.
Arms Control and Proliferation, International Security, Military Strategy, Mass Media, Military Affairs, Weapons
Political Geography
Global Focus