There is a much deeper situation going on here.
To start with, the world is covered with AK-47s, most all of which fire 7.62mm ammo. It is a weapon designed for minimal maintenance, having only three parts to clean in the field.
The M-16, however, fires 5.56mm ammo. It is a weapon that must have a lot of maintenance, and is very easy to screw up. It is not a weapon for a poor country or one unfriendly with the US.
But this misses a critical fact: Who makes the ammo?
Without ammo, either weapon is just a heavy stick. And ammo doesn’t store very well, even in good conditions.
There are relatively few manufacturers of ammo in the world, and if their nations agree, the supply of 7.62 or 5.56 ammo could dry up pretty quickly.
However, if both sides in a fight use 7.62, then sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. But if one side uses 7.62 and the other side uses 5.56, suddenly you have an interesting situation.
Say, Iraq is fighting a country that uses 7.62 ammo. If still friendly with the US, Iraq could get enormous amounts of 5.56 ammo. But if there was an embargo of 7.62 ammo, the other side would either have to pay a premium for its ammo, or not get any at all.
And this matters. Even if they stole ammo from Iraq, they couldn’t use it.
But it gets better. After years of selling AK-47s to the rest of the world, suddenly the major powers are considering restricting the sale of 7.62 ammo. Almost overnight, this could cause a worldwide shortage, followed by a de facto demilitarization of much of the world.
No longer would the third and fourth world be tormented by a few nuts with AK-47s. People who before the AK-47 had to use spears and arrows would have to return to them as their weapon of choice. Much of the world would quickly be pacified.
Yet at the same time, the major powers would still have plenty of ammunition for their own use, and the use of their allies. Belligerent tyrants could be effectively locked out.
The AK-47 uses 7.62x39, while the M-14 / M1A etc uses 7.62x51 (i.e. .308). Not the same ammo.
See # 30. An interesting take on the situation.
Wouldn’t you have to get China on board to not produce the ammo?
You make a great point. All of our enemies use AK’s, very few friendlies do, restrict the ammo and you raise the price and reduce the availability.
Ammo is not particularly difficult to manufacture from scratch even for a poorly industrialized nation. It isn’t a high tech process.