U.S. military-industrial complex sees war as shortcut to profits

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily) 09:15, December 22, 2021

Over the years, U.S. military expenditure has continuously hit record highs while the country’s fiscal deficit worsened, behind which lies the strong influence of the country’s military-industrial complex.

Throughout the U.S. history, its military-industrial complex, a mighty interest group, has repeatedly manipulated the country’s political decision-making and seen wars as a shortcut to profits, prompting the U.S. government to cause one catastrophe after another in the world.

War is big business for the U.S., as Peter Kuznick, a history professor at the American University in the U.S., put it sharply.

To create inelastic demand for arms trade, the U.S. military-industrial complex has been bent on pushing U.S. foreign policy toward wars and conflicts.

“The U.S., driven by political-corporate greed, robbed Afghanistan of stability and tranquility for two decades,” said an article published on the website of Pakistan Observer.

In the Afghan war where loss is reckoned in lives, the only winner is the U.S. military-industrial complex, the article pointed out.

“The decisions to start and sustain wars are thus shaped by people with vested interests in extending the war as long as possible,” the article continued.

The five biggest U.S. defense contractors—Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman—acquired as much as $2.02 trillion from the U.S. government’s funding for the war in Afghanistan, according to the Security Policy Reform Institute, an independent think tank in the U.S.

The fact that U.S. top weapon companies grabbed huge profits from the war in Afghanistan mirrors the age-old special existence of the military-industrial complex in the U.S.

During World War II, a structural connection between the giant war machine of the U.S. and the country’s economic system was forged and a huge interest group composed of the U.S. military, military industrial enterprises, politicians, and scientific research institutions took shape.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government,” warned former U.S. President Dwight David Eisenhower in his farewell speech delivered in 1961.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex,” Eisenhower added.

However, in the following decades, the influence of the military-industrial complex hasn’t been curbed, but penetrated deeply into the decision-making process of the U.S.

General Dynamics got off to a good start this year; although the world becomes more and more dangerous for mankind, the company has seen a good sign of stable demands, said Phebe Novakovic, chairman of General Dynamics, in April. Her remarks revealed that the U.S. military-industrial complex is actually composed of a bunch of vultures.

It is no secret that U.S. military industry companies spend large sums of money on lobbying U.S. politicians, donating money to their election campaigns and funding the so-called policy experts to ensure policies are in their favor.

Representatives from military industry companies have also frequently taken advantage of the “revolving door” to hold a position in key decision-making departments.

Statistics suggest that more than 4,000 military-industrial complex lobbies are active in today’s U.S. political arena.

The military-industrial complex can not only make sure that its own interests are not affected by changes of government, but can often prevent government from making decisions that may shrink its slice of the cake, even if these decisions are in line with the public interest.

The U.S. government has unrestrainedly provided resources for arms dealers, sacrificing investment in its public goods and increasing the risks of wars, which has done itself and others no good, commented Erica Fein, the Senior Washington Director of American anti-war coalition Win Without War.

To ensure strong demands for arms trade, the U.S. military-industrial complex has continuously incited the government to create imaginary enemies, never hesitating to arouse people’s fear and stirring up trouble.

The U.S. is searching for enemies around the world under the guise of safeguarding national security and promoting democracy and freedom, of which one of the drivers is the interests of the military-industrial complex, as American observers noted.

If it had not been the Russians, the U.S. would have devised some other rivals to replace them as a justification for its military aggression, George Kennan, who formulated the U.S. containment policy toward the Soviet Union, said in a speech in his later years.

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has successively launched the Kosovo War, the War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, and many other wars, in which American arms dealers have made a great fortune.

For a long time, the U.S. military-industrial complex has repeatedly packaged wars as a proper option for U.S. foreign policy in a bid to pursue its own benefit, which has caused endless pain for people in other countries and led to turmoil and unrest in the world.

Such consequences make people around the world couldn’t help but wonder: What the U.S. has done to shoulder the international responsibilities it has kept talking about? How has it safeguarded the human rights it always spouts off about? Where is the so-called democracy that it couldn’t stop boasting about?

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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