There are still many dictatorships scattered around the world. Each one is controlled by some paranoid (that’s how they maintain power), scared of rivals who might usurp their position or even rival countries that will bomb their country into submission.
So the discerning dictator looks at the arms he can acquire. Should he bankrupt his country in the process, that could lead to ruin. If he doesn’t spend enough on arms that, too, could lead to ruin. So each dictator must do their imitation of Goldilocks.
When shopping for arms, the best weapons come from United States and the rest of NATO. Just looking at their air force brings out the greed in a dictator. Jets that have a coating that make them invisible to radar. Jets that are basically wings, further limiting their radar profile. And more recently, drones that can enter enemy airspace and bring down one lone influential enemy. Quit drooling you discerning dictators, these treats are not meant for you.
Pick your reason. You do not have enough money. Or NATO reserves its A list weaponry for itself and possibly the ANZUS alliance.
But NATO countries are capitalists. They have much worse weaponry they are able to sell you. But the discerning dictator has been put off by the so called ethics of NATO.
So let’s look elsewhere in the world.
Everyone says China will one day rival the US in power. But China is barely in space. They haven’t had their technology honed by a long, deep rivalry that the US had with Russia. Oh, China is going to get there. Just not yet.
Russia is still a major power. Indeed they have the best way for humans to get to the International Space Station. The US relies on that prowess right now.
But generally, in other ways, Russian technology is behind American technology. If only they had a way to make it up somehow.
Oh , that’s right, the discerning dictator notes, Russia can veto any measure by the security council of the United Nations. If a customer would be accused of atrocities against humanity, no UN resolution would be adopted to approve of sanctions or military strikes.
Since Russia is willing to go that extra mile, the discerning dictator likes to shop for arms there.