‘Merchants of Death’ Could Make a Lot of Money Off a War in Ukraine
William Greider, thenation.com, May 13, 2014 – 3:57 PM ET
If you’re wondering why some US politicians are so hot for war in the Ukraine, think “merchants of death.” At the height of the antiwar movement, that was nasty label some of us applied to Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other major manufacturers of high-tech war-fighting equipment—planes, tanks, missiles, whatever does the job. When the drums of war are sounding in some distant land, these the weapons makers naturally smell sales opportunities.
Trouble in Ukraine has aroused the same ambitions and hawkish politicians have picked up the ball and are running with it. They are demanding that the US government send military stuff to Kiev to hold off threatening Russians (our favorite bad guys). The hawks are portraying President Obama as a wimp who’s insufficiently bellicose. But the president is so far playing a cool hand. He has been getting us out of two wars. He’s pretty sure the people don’t want another one.
In fact, neutral historians may someday conclude that it was the United States who stirred up the trouble in the Ukraine, inadvertently if not intentionally, and that US arms makers played an important supporting role. When the Cold War ended in 1991, these companies saw a promising new market opening for their stuff—the newly liberated Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe. Let’s expand NATO! The manufacturers lobbied policy makers in Washington and courted governments of post-Soviet nations as potential customers.
Bill Clinton decided to do it, cheered on by the arms merchants. Why is nobody talking about that? Because It might sound unpatriotic. And the media love bang-bang, even if the cause is stupid.
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