Observer: Who is protracting the Russia-Ukraine conflict?
By Zhong Sheng
People's Daily app

The Ukraine crisis is putting even bigger pressure on the already-sluggish world economy. However, a former official of the US Department of Defense disclosed that many in the lobbying firms, the defense industry, and the Capitol are opening champagne bottles for celebration.

Statistics indicated that the stock price of Lockheed Martin rose more than 13 percent between Feb. 24 and March 28, and the figures were respectively 13.4 percent and nine percent for Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.

Such a big rise came just after Russia and Ukraine started the war. Who is making a fortune out of it and who is willing to see the war protracted? The answers are clear.

Philip Zimbardo, a retired professor of Stanford University, says in his book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil that wars are prepared and "cooked" by some people, without whom wars cannot be launched.

There happens to be a "beast" in US politics that is obsessed with "cooking" wars - the military-industrial complex. It is a huge interest group consisting of military departments, weapon manufacturers, legislators, defense research institutes and think tanks. It is constantly attempting to destabilize American diplomacy to reap gigantic profits from the wars, conflicts, and arms races it provokes.

According to an article recently published by Spanish news site Rebelion, it is critical for the US and its media, as well as the military-industrial complex that to a large extent dominates the country, to have some fabricated enemies that are able to be manipulated.

Provoking a conflict between Russia and Ukraine and seeking private gains from it, the US military-industrial complex is just counting its chickens before they are hatched. It forces US foreign polices to challenge Russia through interest groups, and sells security anxiety by exaggerating Russia's "military threat," so as to exacerbate the necessity for European countries to increase defense expenditure and enhance military deterrence.

According to a report by the US Department of Defense, the US has provided more than $2.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014. It also agreed to offer lethal weapons for Ukraine in 2017. Statistics recently released by the US Department of State showed that in just the past year, the US provided more than $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.

Since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began, the US military-industrial complex has been taking the war as a huge market and advertising place. As a result, Germany, Finland, Poland and some other European countries all declared to raise their defense budgets, and to acquire enormous weaponry from the US. The US defense industry benefits the most from these purchases.

More than 60 years ago, former US President Dwight Eisenhower had warned the US public to be vigilant about the military-industrial complex's detrimental effects on the US. However, this "beast" remains uncontrollable by these days. It is manipulating US domestic politics, diplomacy and military policies even more unscrupulously.

Over the last two decades, defense contractors spent $2.5 billion on lobbying according to US-based nonprofit organization OpenSecrets. The "revolving door" is also contributing to the development of the defense industry. From 2014 to 2019, over 1,000 senior officials and purchasers from the US Department of Defense, including former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, had jumped to military enterprises that benefited enormously from these individuals' relationships.

The military-industrial complex reveals why the US is addicted to wars and why the country always ranks first in the world in terms of military spending. In the fiscal year 2022, the US is expected to spend $782 billion on defense-related projects, $42 billion more from a year ago, and $52 billion higher than non-defense projects. Recently, the US proposed a $813 billion budget for 2023.

Statistics showed that at least 1/3 of the US military spending flows to arms dealers. According to a recent report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the global transfers of major arms saw a slight drop of 4.6 percent between 2012-16 and 2017-21, while the United States boosted its exports by 14 percent, increasing its global share from 32 percent to 39 percent.

It is reasonable to say that wherever there is a war, there are US weapons and traces of the US military-industrial complex. Massive revenues would keep on flowing to military enterprises as long as wars continue.

The US has long taken itself as a "beacon of democracy" and been hyping the false narratives of democracy versus authoritarianism in recent years. However, the stark contrast between the insufficient COVID-19 response fund in the country and the bloody wealth amassed by US military enterprises, as well as the misdeeds done by the US provoking wars and conflicts all over the world, have long tarnished the image of the US as a democratic and pro-human rights country.

Blackmailed by the military-industrial complex and other interest groups, the US has already been corroded by the thirst for money. It is bringing only turbulences to and jeopardizing the world and its own citizens.