WHO is winning the war in Ukraine, now in its seventh month of what has been described as Europe’s darkest hour since World War II?

Not Russia, which began the invasion in February, and certainly not Ukraine. It is the defense contractors – otherwise known as the military-industrial complex – who are winning this war, India’s main TV news channel WION said.

The global arms bazaar is controlled by a handful of actors. From 2016 to 2020, the United States, France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, Germany exported 80% of the world’s weapons. With the exception of China, all the countries on this list are directly involved in the Ukrainian conflict.

While Russia is the aggressor, the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany are all arming Ukraine, and of these six countries, five are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, said WION on his popular slot Gravitas. It reveals the truth behind America’s obsession with helping Ukraine defend itself against the invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The United States is a country that maintains a commanding presence in the global arms bazaar. It accounts for 37% of global exports, making the United States the largest exporter of major weapons.

Why does the United States dominate this market? Because it is home to the five largest manufacturers in the world. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. The five US companies together sold more than US$160 billion (RM737 billion) in weapons in 2019, as they say war is good for business.

When Russia’s war in Ukraine began, the stock prices of US defense companies soared. Raytheon shares soar 8%; General dynamics, 12%; Lockheed Martin, 18%; and Northrop Grumman, a whopping 22%.

The weapons of many of these companies, including lethal equipment such as switchblade drones, armored tactical vehicles, howitzers, javelin missiles and thousands of rifles, pistols, machine guns and shotguns, are now found on Ukrainian battlefields.

Since the start of the war, the United States has committed more than $3 billion worth of weapons to Ukraine, but almost all of it comes from existing US government stockpiles.

Although the market has seen some corrections in the stock prices of defense companies, but make no mistake, arms contractors will emerge as the big winners in this war, the channel added.

He revealed that in April a classified meeting was held at the Pentagon, where a US department called in its top defense contractors. Eight CEOs attended the meeting, as well as the US Undersecretary of Defense.

What was on the program? Three goals were listed: providing critical capabilities to Ukraine, improving American readiness, and supporting Allies and partners. Basically, it was the US government telling these contractors, “we’re going to need more guns.”

The American stock is not unlimited after all. It will have to be replenished, and US lawmakers plan to invest a lot of money in it. Feed the military-industrial complex that can produce more weapons.

Two programs are planned to finance this market. One is the Pentagon’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, the other is the US State Department’s Foreign Military Funding Program. They have budgets that run into the billions of dollars.

The Pentagon received $3.5 billion to replenish stocks, which is $1.75 billion more than US President Joe Biden requested.

The US State Department’s program has been bolstered with an additional $150 million, which was recently allocated for the war in Ukraine, but Biden is not happy. He asked Congress for an additional US$33 billion in aid to Ukraine, but of that, US$20 billion is to be earmarked for arms only.

The news channel said that all of this money will go into the pockets of defense contractors, American defense contractors, and they make no apologies for that.

He quoted Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes as saying in January: “Long before the war started in Ukraine, we see, I would say, international sales opportunities. Tensions in Eastern Europe, tensions in the South China Sea, all of those things are putting pressure on some defense spending there, so I expect we will benefit from that.

Three months after that statement, Hayes said he would not apologize for profiting from the war in Ukraine. Here’s what he told the Harvard Business Review: “So I don’t apologize for that. I think again, recognizing that we are here to defend democracy, and the fact is that we will eventually see some benefits in the business over time. Well, that’s their defense. We stand for democracy, they say, and we make money while we’re at it.

But WION asked, “Are US arms transfers really about defending democracy? Who buys American weapons? Let’s look at the deals made by the Biden administration. »

Mere weeks after Biden’s inauguration as President of the United States, sales of surface-to-air missiles to Egypt were approved. Over the following months, the United States sold missiles to Chile, aircraft and F-16 missiles to the Philippines, javelins to Thailand, air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia; none of whom have a stellar human rights record. But the United States sells them all billions of dollars worth of weapons, and American defense contractors profit from these agreements.

Former US President Dwight Eisenhower’s worst fears are coming true, the military-industrial complex is getting richer from the war in Ukraine.

“We are not saying that Ukraine should not receive weapons. There is no denying the fact that Ukraine needs help. But does Ukraine really need all these weapons that are dumped in the country? What about America’s arming of autocrats? The exit from Afghanistan was supposed to put the brakes on the American war machine. But, he just changed gears and turned to Ukraine because for defense companies to make money, the war has to go on.

And WION asked the million dollar question, “Who wants the war to end?”

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