The military-industrial sector is having a tough time lately. The F-35 super-plane is a fiasco of cost over-runs and onboard system failures, making it the Lockheed-Martin equivalent to a bridge to nowhere. No one dares glance in the direction of Boeing, a company so devoid of reputation and close to bankruptcy it may have to be put on governmental life-support.
Time to ramp up a languishing East-West weapons race
That’s always worked in the past, no matter Eisenhower’s warning that these weapons dudes were out of control. As WWII wound down, the weaponry sector turned its attention toward Korea And just in time, I must say. With Russia worn down to a threadbare reflection of its former self, where else could a reasonably viable threat of communism’s rush to world dominance be found? Shortly after we settled for ‘Two Koreas’ because we couldn’t win, Vietnam came to the rescue.
Any chance to fail is okay, as long as the weapons keep flowing
Vietnam was really a French problem, but they couldn’t handle it, so we stepped in to save the French any untoward embarrassment and make a few bucks on the side. Well, shit. We couldn’t win that one either.
But winning wasn’t ever the goal. Arms sales was
Presidents, generals and admirals never really understood that and still don’t today. We sold weaponry to Egypt and Saudi Arabia and then armed Israel to even out the score.
Eisenhower understood it very well but, what the hell, he was just a peacetime president and a guy who knew the terrible cost of wars from his own personal experience. His contribution (aside from winning the European side of WWII) was to get us out of Korea and keep us out of the Egypt’s nonsense in Suez.
Then came 9-11 and we were off to the races
Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t about containment or even retribution. Those were the excuses for control of Middle East oil and dominance in an area of the world in which Russia had strategic interests. But the armaments flew out of American factories and we’d found a way to lose interminable wars without killing quite so many young American soldiers.
But then no good thing lasts forever
Joe Biden is getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan in September and seems disinterested in military confrontation. Joe’s the first president since Eisenhower who appears to think that restoring American power has more to do with jobs and infrastructure than military misadventures. There’s also an environment he hopes to save.
Something better happen quick and China is the nominee
The saber-rattlers in both Congress and the Lockheed-Martin-Boeing crowd have suddenly seized upon our recent trading-partner as the fall-guy in the Threat of the Year Competition. China seeks world domination (rattle, rattle) and is building a huge military presence (rattle, rattle). Actually, with the long-term exception of Taiwan, unless I’m mistaken China has invaded no other country, unsettled no political alliances and bombed no one with napalm, Agent Orange or cluster-bombs.
What they have done is made huge financial investments in their sphere of interest, including Africa. If those investments bring political power with them, at least it’s not at the end of a gun. So far, the list of destroyed nation-states I can quickly recall is America five, China zero.
And just a side-note in closing
We are still China’s major export destination and they remain our largest buyer of agricultural surpluses. China has one aircraft carrier at sea compared to the United States Navy, which has 11 large nuclear-powered fleet carriers—carrying around 80 fighters each—the largest carriers in the world; the total combined deck space is over twice that of all other nations combined (Wikipedia). In December BYD (a Chinese e-bus manufacturer based in Lancaster, California) passed its 400th electric bus delivery, with the fulfillment of a 20-bus order to the Los Angeles World Airports; they’ll be used for travel between terminals and gates at LAX. Now there's a threat to be taken seriously.