Russia-Ukraine Conflict Helps US Arms Manufacturers Flourish
In 1796 when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy, his soldiers had similar weapons used 300 years back by the army of Charles VIII, both of whom ruled France in different timelines.
The 19th century saw a rapid industrialisation of the arms manufacturers. By the 1860s a well-established global arms manufacturing business had been established whose success depended on the greater number of wars and conflicts that the world would witness.
For the arms lobby death and destruction were inconsequential factors in their way of being a successful business venture.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, US$ 1822 billion was the world's expenditure on defence equipment in 2018 out of which the USA accounted for 36% of this figure which amounted to US$ 649 billion.
With 6 out of the 10 world’s top arms manufacturers located in the USA, the arms lobby is an important part of the troika comprising the oil lobby, gas lobby and the arms lobby which have a relation with every global war fought in the world since the beginning of 20th century.
With these mind-boggling figures, it becomes easier to comprehend the role that arms sales play in the USA being the world leader in spearheading world affairs.
USA supplies defence equipment to 167 countries of the total 195 countries that exist in the world today, clearly a large portion of the American economy depends on how much the arms manufacturers export year on year.
The Arms Export Control Act was enacted in the USA in 1976 which gave the US Congress powers to cancel any American arms deal but till date not a single arms deal has been cancelled despite the world witnessing so many clashes and conflicts.
Clearly death and destruction suit the arms lobby and with full support of the American politicians cutting across party lines, the relentless pursuit for more and more defence equipment export orders continues unabated.
This is because the defence industry in the USA spends US$ 100 million annually in lobbying across the political lines, so no political party in the USA speaks against them.
In the overall cost to benefit analysis though the US arms industry is laughing its way to the bank, the benefits to humanity are none out of this and each year thousands get killed or maimed or are rendered homeless due to the ongoing clashes and conflicts in some part of the world or other.
It is indeed paradoxical that on one hand where USA is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Organisation established in the aftermath of the World War II for world peace and to avoid the occurrence of World War III, on the other hand USA goes an extra mile to sell arms and defence equipment at a slightest opportunity. Clearly this paradox is greatly affecting humanity as the clashes and conflicts cease to finish and are on the rise with each passing year. The most glaring example being the highly avoidable ongoing Russia-Ukraine War.
In a multi-billion-dollar mega proposed deal Germany has announced on March 14 2022 plans to purchase 35 US made F-35 fighter jets and 15 Eurofighter jets as part of its efforts to modernise its armed forces in the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War. This is in addition to US$ 112 billion announced by the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz last month to bolster the German armed forces. These measures are in total contrast to the low military profile that Germany had since the end of World War II.
Countries like Canada, Sweden and Poland too have announced their intentions to ramp up their defence budgets.
Clearly the arms lobby is none too happy as Ukraine sees enormous death and destruction as many defence deals await in the near future.
David Ignatius quote “Politicians need to rethink their reflexive invocations of the Second Amendment and the idea that the gun lobby is too powerful to challenge” resonates louder than ever before as thousands are killed and rendered homeless in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War.
Lt Colonel J.S.Sodhi retired from the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army. He is an alumnus of NDA, Khadakwasla and IIT Kanpur.