Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Quote of the Day

The president has just approved a new $40 billion aid package for Ukraine rushed through Congress – an even higher figure, you’ll undoubtedly not be surprised to learn, than he asked for. More than half of that package will go for military purposes, which means the outlook for firms like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin couldn’t be brighter. Add to that new sales to NATO allies beefing up their military budgets in response to the Russian invasion, as well as the Pentagon’s own astronomical budget – slated to exceed $800 billion for 2023 – and the opportunities for profit seem nothing short of endless.

And it’s true that Ukraine does indeed need weapons to defend itself. In the context of a policy in Washington designed, as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently put it all too bluntly, to “weaken Russia” rather than simply end the war, there is, however, a danger in sending too much, too fast. After all, escalating the conflict in this way could possibly lead to a direct confrontation between the U.S. and Russia, two nuclear-armed nations.

Putting that nightmarish possibility aside, there’s another question that comes to mind (mine, anyway): Does arming Ukraine really make Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and their cohorts “defenders of democracy”?

As someone who has followed Washington’s arms production and its global weapons sales for decades now, my answer would be: far from it. At best, those firms are opportunists, selling their wares wherever they’re allowed to, regardless of whether their products will be used to push back a Russian invasion of Ukraine or fuel the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe of this century in Yemen.

If they were truly to become part of an “arsenal of democracy,” those militarized mega-firms would have to trim their client lists considerably. I suspect, in fact, that if we were looking at their global sales in a more clear-eyed way, we would have to come up with a more apt term for them entirely. My own suggestion when it comes to Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and similar firms would be “arsenal of autocracy” . . . [as] U.S. weapons contractors aren’t exactly fussy about which regimes they send weapons to. Quite the contrary, they seek out as many sales to as many places as the political market will bear. [Not surprisingly] executives in the American weapons-making firms [have not] expressed the slightest qualms about their role in fostering human rights abuses and/or fueling destabilizing, unnecessary conflicts.

William Hartung
Excerpted from “Not Only in Ukraine:
Major Weapons Makers Profiting Off War Worldwide

Common Dreams
May 24, 2022

Related Off-site Links:
U.S. and Russia’s Imperialist Wars Are Waging Global Devastation – Winslow Myers (Common Dreams, May 24, 2022).
Biden Rebuked for “Openly Praising War Profiteering” at Lockheed Martin – Julia Conley (Common Dreams, May 4, 2022).
This Is How the United States Could Help Bring Peace to Ukraine – Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies (Common Dreams, April 28, 2022).
There’s No Justification for Russia’s Aggression, But U.S. Double Standards on Illegal War Are Hard to Stomach – Stephen Zunes (The Progressive via Common Dreams, March 1, 2022).
Putin’s Criminal Invasion of Ukraine Highlights Some Ugly Truths About U.S. and NATO – Jeremy Scahill (The Intercept, March 7, 2022).
Transcending the Certainties of War – Robert C. Koehler (Common Dreams, March 17, 2022).
Phyllis Bennis: The Best Way to Help Ukraine Is Diplomacy, Not War and Increased MilitarizationDemocracy Now! (March 17, 2022).
Ukraine Doesn’t Need to Match Russia’s Military Might to Defend Against Invasion – George Lakey (Waging Nonviolence, February 25, 2022).
U.S.-NATO Militarism Is the Cause, Not the Solution – Khury Petersen-Smith (In These Times via Common Dreams, February 9, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The War Racket
The Ongoing Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen
Jeff Cohen: Quote of the Day – February 28, 2022
Yanis Varoufakis: Quote of the Day – February 24, 2022
A Prayer for Ukraine
A “Post-Cold War Train Wreck Long In the Making”
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – November 11, 2021,br> • Cultivating Peace
Rallying to End U.S. Militarism
Sinan Antoon: Quote of the Day – March 20, 2018
Caitlin Johnstone: Quote of the Day – November 11, 2018
Saying “No” to Endless U.S. Wars
Michael McPhearson: Quote of the Day – November 10, 2015
Vigiling Against Weaponized Drones
Seumas Milne: Quote of the Day – September 7, 2015
Jeff Cohen: Quote of the Day – January 30, 2011
John Pilger on Resisting Empire
In Search of a “Global Ethic”

Image: Win McNamee/Getty Images.

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