You may be wondering why so many American politicians seem always eager to promote war. And I think a new report, by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, might provide the answer. The report suggests money – lots of money – may be driving their hawkishness.
America’s military-industrial complex is making a killing by selling weapons to a war torn world. And, of course, to an American government that is forever at war.
According to the report, the United States is the world’s number one arms exporter. Over the past five years, American manufacturers have supplied weapons to at least 96 countries.
And it’s a growth industry. America’s arms exports increased by 27 percent over the past five years and are expected to rise even faster in the future.
The Mideast conflicts are the biggest driver of arms sales, so if you’re hoping for peace in the region any time soon, you can probably forget about it.
The American economy is now so dependent on arms sales and the merchants of death lavish so much money on lobbying Congress that I see little hope for peace in the foreseeable future.
You can’t say we weren’t warned. More than half a century ago, President Eisenhower famously observed that:
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. 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.
That was how it was in 1960 – 56 years ago. Imagine how much worse it is today.
Remember Ike’s words when you listen to those Republican candidates. They are virtual hand puppets of the arms manufacturers. And fear and rage are tools of the trade.
The next time you hear some Republican presidential hopeful promising to make America great by bullying the rest of the world, remind yourself of this advice from Ike:
America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.
And, yes, President Eisenhower was a Republican. Doesn’t that tell you something about the way the party has changed over the years?