Militarism and US exceptionalism at the heart of America’s woes

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Mohammed Khaku
The USA, being the most powerful and rich nation in the world, still finds it necessary to make huge amounts of money through manufacturing and selling weapons. This is called the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). The MIC accounts $175.08 billion in 2020 an increase of 2.8% from 2019. (1) The United States is home to five of the world’s 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57 percent of total arms sales by the world’s 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data.In January 1961, US President Eisenhower issued a warning to the American people in his farewell address:“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” [emphasis added] In a similar vein, Dr. Martin Luther King saw three evils dominating the USA: Racism, Poverty and Militarism. With the pandemic the US economy is in disarray; the country is facing a huge budget deficit, high unemployment and infrastructural degradation. The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package will ease the burden, but militarism and exceptionalism are at the heart of the America’s woes. These must be stopped. Sixty years later we have gone through so many wars with so many lives lost, and the MIC has become a much more complex business. Just look at the Pentagon budget. In 1961, at the time of Eisenhower’s stark warning, the military budget of the US was $49.88 billion, but by 2019 that number had swelled to $731.75 billion.”No other country’s military outlays come close. In FY 2019, the Pentagon’s budget was nearly three times bigger than China’s defense spending and more than 10 times larger than Russia’s. All told, the U.S. military budget in 2019 exceeded the next 10 countries’ defense budgets combined and singlehandedly accounted for a hefty 38 percent of military spending worldwide.”The sale of military weapons is so globalized that it is in billions annually. The MIC is a huge war machine that keeps the country perpetually at war.The MIC is in the forefront of the US government export drive, thus fueling conflicts around the globe. This permanent war ideology involves a permanent search for enemies to destroy. After world war II it was communism; since the mid-1990s, it was Muslims. When will the White Supremacist be the enemy to destroy? Former President Bush and Dick Cheney (CEO of defense-contractor Halliburton) started the “War on Terror”. This massive counterterrorism system created employment and billions of dollars for Zionist firms from Israel.This extraordinary rise of the MIC accelerated during the Presidency of George W. Bush. Bush and Cheney became the fiercest of the neo-cons and militaristic warmongers. They initiated the war on terrorism and spent trillions of dollars in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush and Cheney, who sent our soldiers in harm’s way from the safety of their offices, have blood on their hands.The top US arm manufacturers control the narrative and public opinion through media and lobby power. The arms race between countries is covertly abated by the manufacturers, playing off one country against another. The best example is providing F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan, while providing missile defense system to rival India. There is no transparency in the international arm sales. The arms trade is very secretive and corrupt business. The powerful MIC has powerful lobbies which influence and shape foreign policies to safeguard bottom line profit, compensation for the CEO and dividends for their shareholders.Meanwhile the Representatives and Senators benefit from  pork-barrel projects for construction of more high-tech sophisticated weapons and military bases in foreign countries and by promises of the campaign donations.The MIC include companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and many more. These companies make millions of dollars in donations to politicians so they can secure billions of dollars of no-bid defense contracts. Basically, you scratch-my-back and I’ll scratch yours–a blatant kickback system.Today, the world is focused on the nuclear, chemical and WMD, but the trade in conventional weapons flourishes because it creates wealth and jobs. It is sad that the permanent members of United Nation are dominating the world trade in arms and are architects of wars around the globe. The USA, France, and UK earned more in weapons sales than what they gave in Aid.What immense hypocrisy! The MIC operates without any regulation, checks, or balances or transparency, while manufacturing weapons to make profit to kill people. Former US President Jimmy Carter Said: “We can’t have it both ways. We can’t be both the world’s leading champion of peace and world’s leading suppliers of arms”.