There really isn’t a word for it. Bonanza hardly does the trick. Stroke of luck? Not appropriate, given the subject. Hit the jackpot? Well, it wouldn’t be inaccurate, that’s for sure.
Not in recent memory has there been a U.S. arms transfer to another country quite like the latest one designated for Ukraine. As last week ended, Congress put its stamp of approval on a $40 billion package of aid, $7 billion more than even President Biden had asked for. About 60% of it will be for “security assistance” — that is, weaponry of just about every imaginable kind, ranging from anti-tank missiles and drones to long-range howitzers. Such numbers instantly left countries the U.S. gave military assistance to in 2021 in the dust and will make Ukraine the largest recipient of American military aid in decades. As the Washington Post put it recently, in these last months Ukraine has become “the world’s single largest recipient of U.S. security assistance, receiving more in 2022 than the United States ever provided to Afghanistan, Iraq or Israel in a single year.”
And count on one more thing: this may just be the beginning in a conflict all too near the heart of Europe that shows no sign of ending any time soon. So, whatever you think of that war, why not raise a glass to its instant winners? And no, I don’t mean either Russia, its military in ever more disastrous shape, or Ukraine, a staggering percentage of its population no longer even living in their own homes and its economy decimated. I was actually thinking of the only obvious jackpot winners in that ongoing disaster, the military-industrial-congressional complex and especially, as TomDispatch regular and Pentagon expert William Hartung makes strikingly clear today, our largest weapons-making corporations. They are on a tear, a run for our money that he puts all too sadly in context on a planet that hardly needed one more war. Tom
The Major Weapons Makers Cash in Worldwide, Not Just in Ukraine
These are good times to be an arms maker. Not only are tens of billions of dollars in new military spending headed for the coffers of this country's largest weapons contractors, but they're being praised as defenders of freedom and democracy, thanks to their role in arming Ukraine to fight the Russians. The last time the industry gained such a sterling reputation was during World War II when it was lauded as the “arsenal of democracy” for fueling the fight against fascism.
Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes recently underscored this point in an interview with the Harvard Business Review. While discussing how he should respond to criticism of his company benefiting from a rise in sales right now, he said:Read More