By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
President Trump has ordered the NATO countries to increase their arms spending. The reasons for his insistence on doing so are becoming increasingly clear. It has nothing to do with any defense logic. After all, the Secretary-General of the US-NATO military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, has admitted that “we do not see any imminent threat against a NATO ally”. Also, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute recorded in its 2018 World Report that “at $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20% lower than in 2016”.
Radio Free Europe, the US government’s anti-Russian station, reports repeatedly that Russia has reduced its defense spending.
It has been proven that Russia poses no threat to any NATO country. But even this is considered irrelevant in the context that US arms sales are flourishing and those who carry it out are being encouraged to increase and multiply their business.
On July 12, the second and final day of the recent meeting between the United States and NATO, the British news agency Reuters issued a categorical statement with a clear promotional orientation from Trump: “The United States produces by far the best military equipment in the world: the best planes, the best missiles, the best weapons, the best of all.”
The president then listed by name the major U.S. arms manufacturers: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman.
Trump proudly stated at the NATO conference that the United States has many rich countries as customers, “but we also have some not-so-rich countries and they ask me if they can buy US military equipment and if we can help them, and we tell them that we will help them a little. He added that “poorer countries that want to buy U.S. arms may not have to put cash into their purchases.
That single statement raised the prices of the shares of the three arms manufacturers named by Donald Trump and referred to in the previous paragraph by more than ten dollars.
The State Department, to boost the bonanza, made every effort to facilitate further U.S. arms sales by allowing arms manufacturers to bypass their checks and balances. These had been established to hamper the purchase of weapons from the United States by regimes considered to be of ill-repute in the world who want to buy weapons from the United States to put a fig leaf over some if some of its legal, moral and economic restrictions.
In fact, these regulations no longer apply. On July 13, the State Department announced new measures to “accelerate government approval of proposals from aerospace and defense companies,
Within European NATO, the biggest buyers of US arms are Poland, Romania, Great Britain and Greece, and the quantities involved are colossal.
The message to European NATO is that the US is making every effort to sell weapons and wants to make them see that there is scope to buy more of the “best jets, the best missiles, the best weapons” that Trump has to offer.
As journalist Brian Cloughley defined it on July 30th on the Counterpunch and Strategic-Culture websites, “NATO’s gold mine is there to be exploited and, following Trump’s enthusiastic encouragement of the manufacturers of its weapons, it looks like the extraction will be effective. The U.S. Military Industrial Complex will benefit greatly from its President’s campaign to increase the number of weapons in the world.
Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, Director of the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told the Farnborough International Air Show on July 18 that “defense exports are good for our national security, good for our foreign policy… and good for our economic security. He then proposed that his agency reduce the transportation fees charged to foreign military customers, which would be an important stimulus to the sales of “the best jets, the best missiles, the best weapons” so highly valued by Mr. Trump.
This officer, obviously a devoted follower of his President, followed his line of action with dedication, reminding the media that as they have said “administration and our leadership, economic security is national security.”
August 2, 2018.