Armed to the teeth, with no battle to fight

When everyone else is dead, the arms dealers will sip champagne and cuddle Playboy bunnies. Why? "Because everyone else will be busy killing each other," said Yuri Orlov, the arms dealer in Lord of War as portrayed by Nicolas Cage. When his client orders him a shipment of machine guns used in Rambo, Mr Orlov, an award-winning salesperson, asks, "Rambo part 1, 2 or 3?"

The Yuri Orlovs of the world are always busy making money because governments are always busy fighting real and (mostly) imaginary wars. Sometimes it's just a war for the planet of the apes, since we're the simian population stuck in the jungle of horror, in paranoia or ignorance, deprived of rights and watching the ground burn as the military jets zoom above our hairy heads.

We're reminded of war because this week the Thai air force has agreed to purchase another eight trainer jets worth 8.8 billion baht from South Korea. Concurrently, for some reason, I thought about Yuri Orlov because he's a character based on real-life Viktor Bout, the so-called "Merchant of Death" Russian arms smuggler who sold to the Taliban, African warlords as well as the United Nations, and who was arrested in a five-star hotel in Bangkok in 2008.

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