Defense contractors: Russian bogeyman is great for our business

On January 17, 1961, in his farewell address as the 34th President of the United States, former General and WWII Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Dwight D. Eisenhower sounded this warning:

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.

Now 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 Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

The military–industrial complex is an informal alliance between a nation’s military and the arms industry which supplies it. Together, the complex operates as a vested interest that exerts a powerful influence on public policy.

The worst thing to happen to the military-industrial complex was the end of the Cold War when the Soviet Union imploded.

Have you wondered, as I have, why the Democrats insist on the Russian-Trump collusion story, why the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller continue their witch-hunt, and why the Republicans can’t seem to put an end to the witch-hunt despite having a majority in both houses of Congress?

Here’s the answer.

Lee Fang writes for The Intercept on August 19, 2016:

The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries.

Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget.

In particular, the arms industry — both directly and through its arsenal of hired-gun, think-tank experts and lobbyists – is actively pressuring NATO member nations to hike defense spending in line with the NATO goal for member states to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.

Retired Army Gen. Richard Cody, a vice president at L-3 Communications, the seventh largest U.S. defense contractorexplained to shareholders in December that the industry was faced with a historic opportunity. Following the end of the Cold War, Cody said, peace had “pretty much broken out all over the world,” with Russia in decline and NATO nations celebrating. “The Wall came down,” he said, and “all defense budgets went south.”

Note: General Richard A. Cody, 67, was the 31st Vice Chief of the Staff of the U.S. Army (June 2004 to July 2008). He retired from the Army on in August 2008 and joined defense and aerospace contractor L3 Technologies as Senior Vice President of Washington Operations. Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Manhattan, L3 Technologies is one of the top ten U.S. government contractors.

Now, Cody argued, Russia “is resurgent” around the world, putting pressure on U.S. allies. “Nations that belong to NATO are supposed to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “We know that uptick is coming and so we postured ourselves for it.

Speaking to investors at a conference hosted by Credit Suisse in June, Stuart Bradie, the chief executive of KBR, a military contractor, discussed “opportunities in Europe,” highlighting the increase in defense spending by NATO countries in response to “what’s happening with Russia and the Ukraine.”

The National Defense Industrial Association, a lobby group for the industry, has called on Congress to make it easier for U.S. contractors to sell arms abroad to allies in response to the threat from Russia. Recent articles in National Defense, NDIA’s magazine, discuss the need for NATO allies to boost maritime military spending, spending on Arctic systems, and missile defense, to counter Russia.

Many experts are unconvinced that Russia poses a direct military threat. The Soviet Union’s military once stood at over 4 million soldiers, but today Russia has less than 1 million. NATO’s combined military budget vastly outranks Russia’s — with the U.S. alone outspending Russia on its military by $609 billion to less than $85 billion.

And yet, the Aerospace Industries Association, a lobby group for Lockheed Martin, Textron, Raytheon, and other defense contractors, argued in February that the Pentagon is not spending enough to counter “Russian aggression on NATO’s doorstep.”

Think tanks with major funding from defense contractors, including the Lexington Institute and the Atlantic Council, have similarly demanded higher defense spending to counter Russia.

Note: Hadley is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Stephen Hadley, the former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush now serving on the board of Raytheon, a firm competing for major NATO military contracts, has argued forcefully for hiking defense budgets and providing lethal aid to Ukraine. Hadley said in a speech last summer that the U.S. must “raise the cost for what Russia is doing in Ukraine,” adding that “even President Putin is sensitive to body bags.”

The business press has noticed the development. The Washington Business Journal noted that “if anyone is benefiting from the unease between Russia and the rest of the world, it would have to be Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp,” noting that the firm won a major contract from Poland, which is revamping its military in response to Russia. Roman Schweizer, an analyst for the defense industry with Guggenheim Securities, predicted last year that U.S. arms sales would continue to rise, particularly because “eastern NATO countries will increase procurements in the wake of continued Russian activity in Ukraine.”

At the Defence Security Exposition International, an arms dealer conference held in London last fall, contractors were quick to use Russia and rising defense budgets to hawk their products. “The tank threat is … much, much more closer to you today because Putin is doing something” in eastern Ukraine, a shoulder-fired-rocket touting representative from Saab told Defense One.

“Companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing have pledged to increase the share of exports in their overall revenues, and they have been seeking major deals in East and Central Europe since the 1990s, when NATO expansion began,” said William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy. Hartung noted that as some nations ramp up spending, U.S. firms will be “knocking at the door, looking to sell everything from fighter planes to missile defense systems.”

“Russian saber-rattling has additional benefits for weapons makers because it has become a standard part of the argument for higher Pentagon spending — even though the Pentagon already has more than enough money to address any actual threat to the United States,” he said.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, aka the much-touted GOP budget deal, has no funding to construct the US-Mexico wall, but increases defense discretionary funding cap by $80 billion in FY2018 and $85 billion in FY 2019, as well as an additional $160 billion in uncapped funding for overseas military and State Department operations. In fact, the GOP budget deal increases military funding even more than than the already large sums that President Trump had requested in his 2018 budget proposal.

Altogether, the budget deal increases federal spending by more than $500 billion, further inflating, instead of reducing, America’s national debt — which now stands at $20.76 TRILLION.

So much for the Republican Party being a party of fiscal conservatism and smaller government.

~Eowyn

28 responses to “Defense contractors: Russian bogeyman is great for our business

  1. Today the USA is a replica of the Soviet Union. If you include the VA and
    nuclear weapons development, 70% of the federal budget is military.
    We have a suicidal First Strike Nuclear policy. If the Fed could not
    print endless dollars out of thin air with impunity, the American
    economy would have crumbled long ago. China and Russia
    are aggressively working to end the US petrodollar. Eat,
    drink, and be merry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow Gary I stand in awe of your brilliance and mastery of facts. 70% of the budget is defense. Who knew we spend more on defense as a per percentage of the budget today than the height of WW2. And we all know the US has long had a first strike nuclear policy, used against the Russians during America’s monopoly on nuclear weapons and against the Chinese too.

      Tell us did you study at Amherst or Havard?

      Like

  2. War is money and always will be in this time and age. People have been killing people since the dawn of time. What they use to do it with evolves and today we have the perfect killing machines but nothing has changed people still kill for what they don’t have or what they think someone else has. I think killing is one of satans most favorite tool. I mean once they are dead how can they ask for forgiveness he has lock on them so to say.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They do it for fun and profit. Frankly, it’s worse now than it was in the beginning. Who asks them to do these things? I deeply resent it every time I hear things like “The U.S. wants……”. Really, who would that be?

      I have not asked one of these mutts to invade or threaten anybody. We need a 180 degree turn and to concentrate on what we could do with a peaceful society. They need to leave the opium business to the Afghanis and come home.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lophatt . . . . I declare that today, you are my hero! That was as brilliant, as it was concise. Truly, the Military-Industrial Complex has fing-dingled the American people for decades. I certainly resent to the greatest degree the fact that among the members of “the Bush” family, there were grandfathers on both sides of the family who funded war efforts on both sides . . going back as far as WWI . . . then again in WWII. In order that the Bush family make money, they were more than willing to sacrifice the sons, husbands, nephews, cousins of the American people! The degree to which I despise the Bush family is so far off any chart, that it cannot be measured.

        I am in full agreement with you about bringing our soldiers home, and let the Afghanis tend their poppy fields. We have many a representative back in DC who spouts things like . . . “The U. S. wants …..” Yet when I speak to my fellow citizens, that is not what they want–they want our young people, men and women, brought back home to their families.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Exactly right, Brian. It’s why I was appalled at the behavior of Christians after 9/11. They lost all Christ’s commandments to a sudden, national frenzy.

    As for the MIC, I sadly believe it won’t be going anywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • li:

      Nothing better than a faux Christian preaching about the saintliness of Muslim terrorists and the evils of Americans who reacted to a vile massacre as “a vile frenzy.”

      Tell it to Obama, skippy. He’s a Christian too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s what I thought was behind the recent fear headlines about Russia’s newer weapons.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yup nothing to see here. Putin, the PRC and North Korea really are building yellow submarines and bringing weed for you.

      Now I have a great seaside investment opportunity for you in Utah. You’re hear from a prince in Nigeria shortly. Trust him, we know you’re just the kind of person who’ll profit from this investment.

      Like

  5. I still remember how irritated Poppy Bush was when the USSR collapsed. Most thought he should be elated. Of course he wasn’t, for the very reason shown here.

    In order to maximize their profits there must be an enemy. If you want to grow those profits exponentially you need a nuclear-capable enemy. The sane and proper thing to do would be to seek better relationships. The Russians want this. As you can see, the Neocons do not.

    They are frantically trying to start another Cold War, or better yet, a hot one. I get tired of saying that they don’t work for us, but it’s true. We need to give all of them their walking papers.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Bullshit. Putin not have any problem in detonate a nuclear weapon in your courtyard. Stay happy arguing about how you must to disarm your country. Putin will like.

    Like

    • “Stay happy arguing about how you must to disarm your country.”

      The U.S. already outspends Russia on defense by $609 billion, but you call that “disarming”.
      Seems to me you are the one full of bovine excrement.

      By the way, your IP address says you’re in Brazil. Don’t you have enough problems of your own without butting your nose in America’s problems?

      Liked by 2 people

    • I would suggest to you to stay in your 3rd world country. with your attitude you might not last long on the streets of the US. And I think for the Russians to do so would put you and your country in the same peril, my friend. do you know how nuclear bombs work. you do not have a clue. if we fall, the rest of the world falls with us, so you better hope it don’t happen here because soon you will hear the marching boots of the Russian army.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Here’s a little something to think real hard about. On the evening news there was a report about a terrible and terrifying thunder/hailstorm that decended quite abruptly over Boston. It was so severe that the news reporter reporting it had a flabbergasted look on her face especially as she read the part about people scrambling out of the stadium during some sporting event in fear for their lives. The were ducking for cover and literally running away in fear for their lives. Strange I thought, what a very strange encounter which turned my thoughts to the bible especially the book of Job where we find written 38:22-23:
    “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
    or seen the storehouses of the hail,
    which I reserve for times of trouble,
    for days of war and battle?:
    So what does God have His own military weapons ie snow, thunder and hail?
    and get this three days after this event over Boston the date was 9/11?
    Furthermore, was it just a coincidence that the icestorm of the century occurred when it did?
    With climate change is there not a pattern unfolding to what is occurring?

    Like

  8. I have thought for quite some time and have stated as such, that the fear and threat about Russia is manufactured. You can trace back to the evil and it is the love of money. Russia isn’t the old USSR, it is a completely different country, but Putin will not be made a fool of or used as a scape goat. Putin was in Syria to protect the Christians, Putin, himself is devout.
    Putin mentioned several times his eagerness to work with Trump and to get along. There are those making trouble out of something that isn’t there, for greed.
    Putin was getting everything he wanted from Obama and Clinton, why should he sabotage the election in favor of Trump?
    You have to believe Putin is sitting over there and laughing his rear off while others stir it up.
    We don’t know their true feelings, we can only go on what we are told and we now know we have been told nothing but lies. The FBI has even bragged they can make anything look like it is coming from anywhere, are they, or the CIA, the ones stirring up the fear?
    All for greed in money and power.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course. It is all tripe. The lefties have their knickers in a bunch ever since the USSR and communism failed. So they’re trying to resurrect “Cold War” rhetoric without the “Red Scare” part.

      This is their excuse for Hillary losing a rigged election.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We already outspend Russia on defense. Question: Do you think that outspending is because of the graft, i.e., does the Russian military pay $400.00 for hammers too?

    Liked by 1 person

    • From what I can see their stuff works, ours doesn’t. That is probably due to both some idea of “patriotism” as well as fear of consequences. “Our” parasites don’t’ work for us. They chase after whatever their owners tell them to.

      This will continue as long as we allow politicians to take bribes. There should not be any unexplained wealth among politicians. It should not be a career either.

      The system is a disgrace. That Supreme Court ruling that basically says that “money is speech” and those with more money get more “speech” is insane on its surface. They should get free advertising as a condition of the broadcast license for a specified amount of time. They should not be allowed to take or spend a dime on it.

      We already have laws on the books for this, they just don’t enforce them.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. That is what I was really asking here, Yes maybe we have outspent them, but does that extra money really equal a superior military if there is waste from over priced items to machinery that doesn’t work.

    When you said, “From what I can see their stuff works, ours doesn’t. That is probably due to both some idea of “patriotism” as well as fear of consequences.” It made me think of this time many years ago when I was referred to a Jewish doctor who spent over half my appointment time telling me ( among other things about Israel) about how Israel got US fighter jets only to take them apart, and rebuild them to make them superior and more reliable. I assume it is similar in Russia too. They don’t have as much money to waste, and they are going to make it count.
    Check out this video of the Putin (before they replaced him with an imposter) I imagine this is what we’re talking about.

    So yes they care about their people, their security- we are not allowed to care for our own. We have parasites lording it over us. Russia actually has bomb shelters for all it’s citizens. Shelters are only for the parasites here in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One of the biggest concerns for me and perhaps us all is the Christian Zionists and there horrendous interpretation of scripture from Ezekiel 38 and 38 about Gog and Magog being the nations of Russia and Germany which is supposed to attack Israel in some near future. This is such unbelievable hogwash that it needs to be thrown immediately into the garbage can. It is hard to imagine that there are those who actually believe this war has to occur before the Messiah returns? Too many Christians I fear I have innocent blood on their hands for demonizing 2 nations that have nothing whatsoever to do with biblical prophecy or Israel. Leave Russia alone!!!!!!!!!
    Furthermore, as far as war goes take and consider very seriously these words:

    “The Lord will cause men to hear his majestic voice and will make them see his arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire, with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail.” {Isaiah 30:30}

    “Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down and violent winds will burst forth… In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury.” {Ezekiel 13: 8-13}

    AND WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!
    BECAUSE OF THIS OF COURSE….

    CENTRAL IRAQ – “Neither hail, sandstorm, pestilence nor rugged terrain can halt the slow, inexorable advance of U.S. forces toward Baghdad.

    A tempest of biblical proportions swept across the Mesopotamian plain Tuesday, cutting visibility first to 40 to 50 metres, then to as little as one or two meters.

    The storm sprang out of nowhere after a pleasant start to the day.
    At the height of the tempest, the wind was so strong no one could go outside our light armored vehicle {LAV}. It was also so dark, the sun could not be seen. Everything was bathed in an odd orange glow.
    Inside our vehicle, we felt almost as if we were in a small boat, as the heavy gusts of wind shook the 14 tonne LAV.
    Six of us were crammed inside, along with extra ammunition, personal belongings, military equipment, radios and communications gear.
    After several hours, the wind subsided, then the sandstorm became a hailstorm, with thunder and lightning, which turned the desert floor into a silky mud almost bogging down the eight-wheel drive vehicles.
    A small pool of water, a little lake almost, quickly formed behind our vehicle.
    We had to move to avoid getting swamped.”
    {The Vancouver Sun, Wednesday, March 26, 2003 pg. A4}

    Since when was faith blind? Never in a million years did I think that I would open a newspaper and witness the work of God like this! America made the biggest mistake of their lives going into Iraq and Jesus showed up in response to the mothers of Iraq who were screaming at the top of their lungs that first there were no terrorists in Iraq and who should know but the mothers of Iraq and then to God to help them. Imagine Jesus showed up on the battlefield but sadly because of the utter lack of knowledge of the bible Bravo Company continued on their course of action? I figure big mistake and now they have a nor-easter barreling through their capital? Wow! What’s next I figure is the next big question yes?

    Liked by 1 person

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