Democracy through smart bombs

The Asian Times carries an article and opinion about democratizing the ME.

This week, coinciding with President George W Bush’s two-day trip to Saudi Arabia, the Bush administration is expected to notify Congress about an arms package for Saudi Arabia. The sale is part of an overall package that was announced at the end of July 2007; a series of arms deals worth at least US$20 billion to Saudi Arabia and five other Persian Gulf states, as well as new 10-year military and economic aid packages to Israel and Egypt.

Even by the standard of past arms sales to the Middle East and Persian Gulf, traditionally one of the world’s largest arms-buying regions, these are major arms transfers with the potential to significantly affect the regional strategic balance. One of the more notable aspects is that the Bush administration plans to sell advanced satellite-guided bombs, such as the JDAM, which the United States has never before sold to Saudi Arabia, fighter aircraft upgrades, and new naval vessels to six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Reportedly, the Pentagon asked the Saudis to accept restrictions on the range, size and location of the satellite-guided bombs, including a commitment not to store the weapons at air bases located near Israeli territory.

And unlike some past sales, no conditions are attached. In fact, when Rice visited the Middle East last July, she insisted that the Bush administration had not imposed demands on its allies in exchange for the arms and aid deals. “This isn’t an issue of quid pro quo,” Rice told reporters. “We are working with these states to fight back extremism.” And with no strings attached to the assistance – no democratic reforms, human-rights conditions or peace-making obligations – the arms sales do nothing to change the behavior of the authoritarian regimes in the region.

The article contains more than mentioned here. But if democracy is the goal overall, how does selling systems for large military assist asymetrical warfare. If the Saudis do not use the weapons to create an integrated defense force as mentioned in the article, what do we get out of it in relation to Saudi Arabia and democracy.

If McCain is right and it takes one hundred years, what measure of benefit is even applicable?