Crash and Burn

This is both optimistic and troubling. Fairfax media reports that "China has put…

The Admirable Demonstration of Dan Tehan And Other…

Apparently, Dan Tehan was on QandA last night. I only know this…

Condensed Fun Facts, Dates, Myths/Misconceptions

By Richard Whitington Fun Referendum Facts Fun Referendum Facts #1: The ballot paper for…

Cannabis: We can shut up, toe the line,…

When President Obama commented that he thought cannabis was likely less dangerous…

Corruption suspicions hang over secret PNG refugee contracts

Refugee Action Coalition Media Release AUSTALIA’S SECRET PNG DEAL MUST BE INVESTIGATED Refugee advocates…

Dianne Feinstein: National Security State Diva

The tributes for the late Democratic Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, heaped…

Media Alert - Refugees Say "Fair Go, Albo"

A protest vigil will be held for 4 days at the electoral…

The Voice reveals the urgent need for truth…

The fact that Elon Musk has just halved his election integrity team…


“A Good Investment”: The Ukraine War and the US Arms Racket

It all tallies. War, investments and returns. The dividends, solid, though the effort expended – at least by others – awful and bloody. While a certain narrative in US politics continues in the vein of traditional cant and hustling ceremony regarding the Ukraine War – “noble freedom fighters, we salute you!” twinned with “Russian aggressors will be defeated” – there are the inadvertently honest ones let things slip. A subsidised war pays, especially when it is fought by others.

The latter narrative has been something of a retort, an attempt to deter a growing wobbling sentiment in the US about continuing support for Ukraine. In a Brookings study published in April, evidence of wearying was detected. “A plurality of Americans, 46%, said the United States should stay the course in supporting Ukraine for only one to two years, compared with 38% who said the United States should stay the course for as long as it takes.”

In early August, a CNN survey found that 51% of respondents believed that Washington had done enough to halt Russian military aggression in Ukraine, with 45% approving of additional funding to the war effort. A breakdown of the figures on ideological grounds revealed that additional funding is supported by 69% of liberals, 44% of moderates and 31% of conservatives. In Congress, opposition to greater, ongoing spending is growing among the Republicans, reflecting increasing concern among GOP voters that too much is being done to prop up Kyiv.

Such a mood has been anticipated by number crunching types keen to reduce human life to an adjustable unit on a spreadsheet. The Centre for European Policy Analysis, for example, suggested that a “cost-benefit analysis” would be useful regarding US support for Ukraine. “Its producing wins at almost every level,” came the confident assessment. In spectacularly vulgar language, the centre notes that, “from numerous perspectives, when viewed from a bang-per-buck perspective, US and Western support for Ukraine is an incredibly cost-effective investment.”

War-intoxicated Democrats would do well to remind their Republican colleagues about such wins, notably to those great patriots known as the US Arms Industry. Aid packages to Ukraine, while dressed up as noble, democratic efforts to ameliorate a suffering country’s position vis-à-vis Russia, are much more than that.

In May 2022, for instance, President Joe Biden signed a bill providing Kyiv $40.1 billion in emergency funding, split between $24.6 for military programs, and $15.5 billion for non-military objects. Even then, it was clear that one group would prove the greatest beneficiary. Stephen Semler of the Security Policy Reform Institute was unequivocal: US military contractors.

Of the package, rich rewards amounting to $17.3 billion would flow to such contractors, comprising goods, be they in terms of weapons and equipment, or services in the form of training, logistics and intelligence. “It allows the Biden administration,” writes Semler, “to continue escalating the United States’ military involvement in the war as the administration appears increasingly disinterested in bringing it to an end through diplomacy.”

Broadly speaking, the US military-industrial complex continues to gorge and merely getting larger. Whatever the outcome of this war – talk of absolute victory or defeat being the stuff of dangerous fantasy – it remains the true beneficiary, the sole victor fed by new markets and opportunities. Former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, now vice president of the Toledo Center for Peace, had to concede that the US arms industry was the “one clear winner” in this bloody tangle.

The addition of new member states to NATO, in this case Finland and Sweden, will, Ben Ami suggests, “open up a big new market for US defence contractors, because the alliance’s interoperability rule would bind them to American-made defence systems.” The evidence is already there, with Finland’s order of 64 new F-35 strike fighters developed by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. The Ukraine War has been nothing short of lucrative in that regard.

Such expansion also comes with another benefit. The interoperability requirement in the NATO scheme acts as a bar to any alternatives. “The market for their goods is expanding,” writes Jon Markman for Forbes, “and they will face no competition for the foreseeable future.”

It should come as little surprise that the US defence contractors have been banging the drum for NATO enlargement from the late 1990s on. While a good number of those in the US diplomatic stable feared the consequences of an aggressive membership drive, those in the business of making and selling arms would have none of it. The end of the Cold War necessitated a search for new horizons in selling instruments of death. And with each new NATO member – Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic – the contracts came. Washington and the defence contractors, twinned with purpose, pursued the agenda with gusto.

In 1997, Democratic Senator Tom Harkin was awake to that fact in hearings of the Senate Appropriations Committee on the cost of NATO enlargement. He was particularly concerned by a fatuous remark by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright comparing NATO’s expansion with the economic Marshall plan implemented in the aftermath of the Second World War. “My fear is that NATO expansion will not be a Marshall plan to bring stability and democracy to the newly freed European nations but, rather, a Marshall plan for defense contractors who are chomping [sic] at the bit to sell weapons and make profits.”

The moral here from the US military-industrial complex is: stay the course. The returns are worth it. And in such a calculus, concepts such as freedom and democracy can be commodified and budgeted. As for Ukrainian suffering? Well, let it continue.


Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button


Login here Register here
  1. Douglas Pritchard

    We are inundated with news that the “voice” will change things, because apparently this is all news to those who sit in Parliamnet and they dont have a clue about matters outside.
    You dont really need a voice to work out what Uncle Sam has been up to for as long as we can remember.
    USA will do whatever is in its best (financial) interests, and it does not give a hoot for any ethics that stands in its way.
    It does War. It profits from War. Its economy is in favour of War. Its inhabitants love war, and the whole idea behind it, so much that their gun laws are the one thing that will never change,even though sending kids to school is a risky business.
    If Ukraine fell for Uncle Sams fairly stories, then they have only themselves to blame.
    But in this country, sensitive to voices, you would think those who should know the history that Dr Binoy sets out, would be aware that we are very much on the same shopping list for the USA military money making machine..

  2. Ankisip

    We really don’t need to buy their second hand subs.
    They’re doing quite well enough anyway.
    And Rex has a good idea of just how much more than the asking price ADF are going to spend to keep from sinking.
    I thought the ALP had “an out” from the worst deal in history.
    With the USUKA deal, multiple mines and gas projects given green lights, asylum seekers still waiting after 10+ years, seems to me and most people in my circles that ALP is just re-branding LNP.
    I believe Lufthansa have long repaid their “loan” back to the German Government.
    Chalmers is losing his charm.

  3. Andrew Smith

    Confused, right wing analysis like much from the Anglosphere vs. Europe that bypasses empathy for Ukraine being invaded by a sub-imperial power, due to strong antipathy (encouraged by the Kremlin) towards the US, throwing Ukraine under a bus for US GOP domestic political point scoring?

    Suggesting Ukraine should not be suitably armed and defended because US defence contractors may profit and opinion polls…. begs the question as to why Finland and Sweden are now in NATO, another member Poland investing significantly in long term defence procurement (especially from South Korea), while EU nations have given Ukraine less though significant military aid, they have been more significant in non military, in kind assistance and supporting refugees.

    Now the embarrassing part, is the noise from Anglo (US dominated) analysis, including how many ageing faux anti-imperialist left ‘tankies’ (& RWNJs see also question the US funding Ukraine?

    This is the theme that is running through the US Senate’s GOP ‘Freedom Caucus’ (Koch), Murdoch’s FoxNews Hannity et al., Koch’s (fossil fueled) Heritage Foundation’s The Daily Signal, Tucker Carlson on Musk’s X, Russian aligned Zero Hedge, Hungary’s PM ‘mini Putin’ Orban, a whole conga line of fringe right wing media voices and faux ‘peaceniks’ including Sachs (Rockefeller Foundation), Mearsheimer (Charles Koch Foundation), Kissinger, Chomsky et al.

    In the US it’s muddied and more an obsession about getting rid of Biden and the Democrats, hopefully harming the EU & NATO too, anyway possible, including conspiracy theories; seems to be much nudging away from fossil fuel oligarchs with shared interests between Russia, US/UK and elsewhere e.g. Brexit, Trump and silence around US fossil fueled types in numbers starting with former Trump Sec. of State ‘Tex Drillerson’?

    However, on procurement and battlefield analysis, both qualitative and quantitative, Australian guy Perun is globally recognised (every Sunday a YouTube presentation), Draitser at Counter Punch (he complained bitterly of misinfo coming from ‘fake anti-imperiaist sh*theads of the left’ and cites FT as good source too), Russian philosopher Vlad Vexler and Fink’s in depth interviews on Silicon Curtain.

  4. A Commentator

    Yet even before the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military consumed a greater proportion of their GDP than the US military.

  5. Canguro

    Well, onwards and upwards, might well be the clarion call of the MIC. As well as, fuck you, Eisenhower….you loser.

    As Neil Young lamented in his song Ambulance Blues from the 1974 album, On The Beach, “You’re all just pissing in the wind, you don’t know it but you are, and there ain’t nothing like a friend, who can tell you you’re just pissing in the wind.”

    America, despite its pretensions, is such an ugly amoral cesspit of making the bucks, whatever the cost.

  6. frances

    “…Such a mood has been anticipated by number crunching types keen to reduce human life to an adjustable unit on a spreadsheet. The Centre for European Policy Analysis, for example, suggested that a “cost-benefit analysis” would be useful regarding US support for Ukraine. “Its producing wins at almost every level,” came the confident assessment. In spectacularly vulgar language, the centre notes that, “from numerous perspectives, when viewed from a bang-per-buck perspective, US and Western support for Ukraine is an incredibly cost-effective investment.”

    Chillingly cogent. Jeez, how cold are the Merchants and Machines of Death. Every single day is prosecuted the Geneva Convention- banned scorched-earth carnage in Ukraine, not to mention elsewhere – Syria being a notorious example – creating the kind of ravaging psychological trauma in countless survivors from which rage, hatred and revenge spring anew.

    Plus ca change…or in other lingo, so it goes.

  7. andyfiftysix

    Frances, I would go futher than a cost benefit analysis. The USA has screwed up a lot, I have vented in the past too. But comes a time when they have done the right thing but their past history is thrown in their face. Sure we are entitled to be sceptical but lets face it, Russia has proven itself to be a rather narcistic enterprise. We have all given the russians the benefit of the doubt over the years but last year was the line in the sand for me. One or two people dead was deniable but if you look over the last 20yrs, you would have to be brain dead not to see the pattern. We all know war is barbaric but when the russians started to bomb civilian infrustructure to terrorise them into submission, the penny dropped. They are no innocent bystanders, they are a cruel and heartless brutalised people. My hope is that their economy collapses them back to the stone age. One less “caligula” to deal with.

  8. Douglas Pritchard

    I think there is a clue in the way the description “unprovoked” is used in the proxy war in Ukraine.
    When it comes to barbaric behavior, personally I would not like to pick it.
    Right now Biden is in Vietnam sticking it to the Vietnamese after their blatant exhibition of just how low the yanks can go.
    He has not the good grace to stay away, but rather chooses provocation.
    There are those that benefit from War, and see no reason to stop.

  9. Clakka

    WTF. So much unending blah blah and stitched-together convenient analysis of US culture (whatever that is), its politics (whatever that is), its industry and its intent (whatever that is). Internally from the discombobulated, the hungry, the generationally affected, victims of the law, the media (post-truth and other), historians, humanists, environmentalists, militarians, god-botherers, theoreticians, vested interests, wanton destabilisers, and politicians. All seeking to accumulate information via spreadsheets and quotations as evidence of each other, and the swaying of understanding, so that they may know who they are and who they might want to be.

    Then there are those similar groups on the outside, peering in, seeking to accumulate information in the same way, comparing Uncle Sam to their chosen culture, seeking to judge them, assume how they and the rest of the world are affected, and implying an assessment of what Uncle Sam ought to be.

    Whilst all this is going on, I cannot help thinking about the rest of the world, the ravaged and war-torn throughout history, and particularly the ravaged and war-torn on the nightly news. I think about the people, the environment, and the perpetrators, and how wellbeing and peace may be resolved.

    I reflect on how any threat or assault on those near to me or my loved ones could give rise to my adrenalin coursing and my blood-red curtain coming down, and so I know I have to make calm decisions quickly.

    As for Uncle Sam and the rest of the world, the ravages and the wars, I have an emotional reaction, via and around which, I can accumulate information, but nowhere near enough information or skill to begin to tell them how to be and what to do. Just a rolling hypothesis.

    Everywhere there are talking heads, and waste-grounds of heads rolled into silence. But come what may, there are so very few, bound by the taking heads, to make decisions in quick time as circumstances demand.

    No crystal balls, just a maze of mirrors upon which to reflect.

    As Putin seeks to make a pointless point, the selective dark mirror he holds up is a cracked pocket mirror compared to mother nature’s giant solar reflector facing us all. Both involve a calculus of wellbeing and survival over destruction and death. Both involve diplomacy and carriage of ideals and ideas as well as the ways and means of all participants – globally. That we might address the apparently enduring threat of the latter, here’s an Oz narrative of Uncle Sam’s recent process and decision(s).

    As for the former, and the vicissitudes of man-to-man fickle threats, ravages and wars, now or throughout history, I’m not sure that I could find in my lifetime a single narrative or even a mountain of narratives that could stand up to dispassionate analysis and demonstrate a fixed or staged enduring solution. Yet, as expected, avoidance being cast as a shirk, decisions will be made.

    I guess I’ll just have to keep paying attention and suffice with an emotional response.


  10. Canguro

    DP, the Wikipedia entry on the use of Agent Orange (the toxic defoliant mix of 2,4,5-T & 2,4-D along with traces of dioxin) says, among other things, the following:

    “The government of Vietnam says that up to four million people in Vietnam were exposed to the defoliant, and as many as three million people have suffered illness because of Agent Orange, while the Vietnamese Red Cross estimates that up to one million people were disabled or have health problems as a result of exposure to Agent Orange.”

    The American government would have been advised and aware, at some levels, of the dangers of liberally spraying these poisons across the Vietnamese landscape. That they ignored the dangers and poisoned millions of Vietnamese as well as causing genetic damage to following generations is close to being in the highest category of war crimes. Has the United States ever appropriately expressed its regret and offered appropriate compensation for its actions in that country? I don’t believe so, and I’m not holding my breath in anticipation of any change of attitude.

    Another case of Me, White Man, Me, American, Me, Can Do No Wrong. The hubris and arrogance and ignorance is utterly astounding, as is the evasiveness and sense of time will heal all wounds, and hey, have I got a deal for you, my new friends, you can help us kick China’s butt if you wish.

  11. A Commentator

    **When Vietnam seeks a closer relationship with the US, I’m not sure how that can be portrayed as “provocation” by the US.
    **I think it is disingenuous to use the term “proxy war” in relation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine . No one other than Putin made the decision to invade. The corollary of this view (proxy war) is that Putin was so stupid that he was manipulated into a war he didn’t want. That clearly isn’t the case.
    **I have commented previously that I’d prefer a multi polar world, but not one that requires increasing the prestige and international influence of the CCP and Putin regime. It is time for the EU, India, Brazil, Japan to chart a more influential and independent role in their regions.
    **As I noted, even before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia devoted a greater proportion of their economy to the military, than the US. Now the military is consuming about a third of economic resources. On any rational analysis, Russia seeks war at the expense of economic prosperity.

  12. Roswell

    Russia seeks war at the expense of economic prosperity.

    You’re not wrong!

    Unfortunately, too, others like to make a few bucks out of it which helps their economy.

  13. Roswell

    PS: I’m not against governments providing arms/personal for the defence of invaded nations, but I’m against private enterprises in there for a quick buck.

  14. Roswell

    PPS: Any nation supporting Putin is an enemy of democracy.

  15. Douglas Pritchard

    I think Vlad is one step ahead of you, suggesting he does not practice democracy.
    You may have noticed that Putin has organized a democratic election in the Donbas region of Ukraine very recently.
    I havent yet found out how the vote went, but I am guessing the outcome wont be contested in the way that the January 6th events went in USA.
    It does seem that Zilensky was not game to risk running it.
    So who are the democrats, since you put so much weight behind the choice?

  16. A Commentator

    The most recent vote in Dombas, which Putin used for its illegal annexation, was carried out door to door by the military.
    The vote wasn’t secret, it was by household, and occurred after those sympathetic to Ukraine had fled.
    It is a leap of logic to consider this ‘democratic’

  17. Douglas Pritchard

    If you are persuaded that this version is the way the election was run, then thats a matter between you, and the news source that you trust.
    But denial of the result because it does not suit your prejudice, is something that Trump does so maybe thats the way you favour things.
    The evidence says otherwise.

  18. A Commentator

    Rather than suggesting my opinion, based on a news source or personal prejudice, how about you list the countries that have endorsed the result of that vote

  19. Fred

    DP: Q) The elections in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions were to elect representatives to which country? You might find these elections are not recognised internationally.

  20. Clakka

    Elections, referenda, plebiscites and the like are not recognised as valid or democratic unless run independently, the voters are qualified, and are peaceful and free of coercion.

    Clearly, not recognised internationally. Putin’s regime was not independent, but an invading force. En masse, with vast numbers of residents having been forced to flee the remaining population were not representative nor qualified. As the process was run by Putin’s military who were also bombing, shooting and destroying the neighbourhood, they could hardly be peaceful and free of coercion. That’s not to forget being in the shadow of Putin’s ‘Green Men’.

    Putin’s m.o. record testifies that he only resorts to genocidal threats and ballistics. This was yet another Putin false-flag operation, a discombobulation and small-minded thought-bubble. An utter farce.

  21. ajogrady

    The people of Vietnam and all USA allies should be alarmed at what US elder statesman Henry Kissinger said,
    “To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.”

  22. Douglas Pritchard

    When it comes to elections in the Donbas, the folk there havent the luxury of a rules based order.
    Face it, they have been under constant bombardment from the Ukrainian Army, and its western backers, going back to 2014.
    They probably wish for a speedy end when Congress decides the venture is no longer a financial benefit.
    They will be conducting their election in an appropriate manner to their limited ability to get around, and It would be a friendly act to accept the decision that they make.
    They will probably go for leadership which allows them to discuss events in the Russian language, their mother tongue.
    They werent impressed with Kyiv stamping them out, and favour change.

  23. A Commentator

    ** they have been under constant bombardment from the Ukrainian Army, and its western backers, going back to 2014**
    Civil wars are always dreadful, but don’t provide an excuse for this brutal invasion
    And the civilian deaths during the civil war were split between areas occupied by Ukraine and those occupied by Russian backed separatists

  24. Douglas Pritchard

    Its the West that have tagged events in Ukraine as an “invasion”, and a “War”.
    Even in 2023 the Russians regard this as a Special Miltary Operation, and I dont see the evidence that they are interested in control over the whole of the territory referred to as Ukraine.
    Do we have right to judge how many deaths a civil war can experience before its wise to walk in and fix it? From this distance?
    We are all aware of how much interest NATO were taking to upset the balance.
    Generally civil wars exhaust both sides eventually, but in this case its the external forces that keep the conflict going.
    As we have agreed there are businesses and shareholders making money out of this thing, as Ukrainians suffer.

  25. A Commentator

    As I said , the military of Russia consumes a greater proportion of their economy than the US or any NATO country.
    So far you have looked to excuse a tainted vote conducted by the military, while a war continues and whether ethnic Ukrainias.had fled their homes.
    You suggested my opinion was based on media reports or a Trump orientation, but then ducked the challenge to list the countries that recognise the “vote”
    You ignored the fact that civilian deaths occurred on both sides during the civil war.
    I’m not sure how applying the Putin regime’s nomenclature of “Special Military Operation” changes anything .
    But you should try reading the High Commission for Human Rights report on the systemic rape of Ukrainian women and girls, aged between 4 and 82, by the Russian military, then get back to me about how entitled the Russian military is to undertake their “Special Military Operation”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page
%d bloggers like this: