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U.S. government high on the narcotic of ”Defense” spending – the war corporations love it !

 Exacerbating the dilemma are the close ties between the Washington establishment and the defense industry, which lobbies lawmakers and funds their campaigns.

Another problem is the so-called revolving door, wherein many defense officials tasked with overseeing procurement go on to work for companies in the private sector. In January, the Project On Government Oversight watchdog reported that over the past three years Lockheed Martin hired 44 former Pentagon officials, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman 24 each, Boeing at least 23, and General Dynamics eight.

A staggering $286 billion in US defense spending went to these five well-connected suppliers in 2019 and 2020, according to the report.

Biden’s Ukraine Arms-Buying Spree Boosts US Defense Industry Giants  https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/bidens-ukraine-arms-buying-spree-boosts-us-d-1493247.html, Muhammad Irfan   April 06, 2022  WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik US defense contractors are raking in additional billions of Dollars as a direct result of President Joe Biden’s policy toward Ukraine, and stand to gain even more based on administration plans to bolster NATO while setting new military spending records.

After Russia launched its operation in Ukraine on February 24, the Pentagon‘s top five suppliers saw their stock prices rise – with three jumping by double digits in the first week, as investors on Wall Street anticipated a surge in weapons orders.

However, the spike began well before Russian forces entered Ukraine and in line with Washington‘s growing support for Kiev. For example, in the second week of January the US delivered about $200 million in security assistance to Ukraine just as lawmakers were set to introduce legislation for $200 million more.

In January, Raytheon chief Greg Hayes told investors on an earnings call that he fully expected to see the company benefit from the tensions in Eastern Europe with new international sales opportunities, a sentiment other contractors echoed, which has now become a reality. Since the beginning of the year, Lockheed Martin’s stock price rose by over 25 percent while Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics each saw a spike of over 15%.

“War is excellent for business,” Australian global peace activist Helen Caldicott told Sputnik.

Javelin manufacturer Raytheon and Stinger supplier Lockheed Martin are especially ecstatic over the situation in Ukraine, added Caldicott, the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Former Pentagon analyst Chuck Spinney was surprised by neither the conflict itself, which he called a “predictable consequence” of NATO expansion, nor the US defense establishment’s reaction to it.

“It now has champagne corks popping in the Pentagon, in the defense industry, and in their wholly owned subsidiaries in Congress, think tanks, the intelligence apparatus, and the press,” Spinney told Sputnik.

US President Joe Biden has repeatedly boasted about the largess of security aid his administration has bestowed Ukraine, which now stands at $2.3 billion – 70 percent of which has been doled out within the past five weeks alone.

The weapons the Biden administration committed or delivered to Ukraine by mid-March included 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft weapons,10,000 Javelin and AT4 shoulder-fired anti-tank systems, and 60 million rounds of ammunition, to name just a few of the big ticket items listed on a White House fact sheet. Thousands of other weapons in the packages include grenade launchers, rifles, pistols, machine guns, and shotguns – in addition to 100 tactical drones, 25,000 sets of body armor, and 25,000 helmets.

US allies are also giving defense contractors reason to celebrate. According to the White House, at least 30 countries have provided security assistance to Ukraine since the operation began.

Yet, even before current tensions, Ukraine for years had been a leading recipient of US military aid. Since 2014, the US has provided Kiev with a total of more than $4 billion in security assistance, including the aid authorized under Biden, according to a State Department fact sheet.

Meanwhile, the US troop presence in Europe has jumped from 60,000 to 100,000 following the start of the Ukraine conflict. And the US and its NATO allies have announced intentions to send even more to boost the alliance‘s “eastern flank.”

Spinney said understanding the internal political-economic causes of the US addiction to the narcotic of defense spending is at the heart of the problem.

Citing American strategic thinker John Boyd, Spinney said the strategy is simple: “Don’t interrupt the money flow, add to it.”

Sure enough, on March 28, the Biden administration submitted to Congress a budget request for 2023 that included $773 billion in spending for the Pentagon, a 4% increase from the previous year. Another $40 billion in defense-related spending through other agencies brings the total to $813 billion, which would represent a record level national security budget if approved.

Biden has asked Congress for nearly $7 billion to strengthen NATO and other European partners in order to counter Moscow, according to the White House. In addition, $682 million was requested for Ukraine security assistance, an increase of $219 million, which Biden said was meant to forcefully respond to Russia‘s “aggression” against Ukraine.

Nor is the next wave of weapons spending likely to stop there. Senior military commanders have already staked out the ground for further prodigal spending. On March 29, US European Command chief Todd Wolters in testimony to Congress said he suspected the Pentagon was “going to still need more.”

Only six days earlier, Republican lawmakers called for higher defense spending, saying that Russia‘s operation in Ukraine “has already left us and our NATO allies less secure.”

VICIOUS CYCLE, TWISTED INCENTIVES

The recent spending sprees, the experts said, are consistent with confrontational US policies – from the Cold War to the war on terrorism. Exacerbating the dilemma is the close ties between the Washington establishment and the defense industry, which lobbies lawmakers and funds their campaigns.

Another problem is the so-called revolving door, wherein many defense officials tasked with overseeing procurement go on to work for companies in the private sector. In January, the Project On Government Oversight watchdog reported that over the past three years Lockheed Martin hired 44 former Pentagon officials, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman 24 each, Boeing at least 23, and General Dynamics eight.

A staggering $286 billion in US defense spending went to these five well-connected suppliers in 2019 and 2020, according to the report.

Spinney, who once appeared on Time Magazine’s cover for highlighting reckless defense spending during the Reagan administration, said the “first” Cold War’s 40-year climate of fear was something then-Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev tried to end. But successive US administrations were busy planting the seed money for a new generation of cold-war inspired weapons.

The former Pentagon analyst said President George W. Bush‘s Global War on Terror was the bridging operation that “greased the transition” to Cold War II by keeping defense budgets at Cold War levels.

The 9-11 terrorist attacks helped fuel a climate of fear, he added, that is now needed to sustain Cold War II for the remainder of the 21st Century

Caldicott said the consequences of those decisions have unleashed wars and suffering around the world anew over the past two decades.

“Since 2001, the US has spent $6.4 trillion on killing and destruction in 85 countries, murdering 801,000 people,” Caldicott said while noting that the stocks of the top five defense contractors outperformed the overall market by a whopping 58 percent.

To make matters worse, the peace activist added, all members of Congress received huge amounts of money from these “killing corporations.”

April 7, 2022 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, Reference, USA, weapons and war

1 Comment »

  1. Biden is awful. Many said he would be. The world is in terrible shape because of him and trump. We are presented with this being our only alternative. Terribly depressing

    Comment by Terry Southards | April 9, 2022 | Reply


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