Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Business of War: Defense Sales Keep Economies Of Manufacturing Nations Afloat

Orwell knew a thing or two about human nature (Image source)

Tens of thousands have been killed and millions displaced due to 'humanitarian' interventions by the developed nations (led by the USA, France and the UKm the FUKUS axis) in the domestic politics of third world nation. Usually these interventions are justified by citing the urgent need to depose a tyrannical dictator who a bit nasty to those opposed to his regime, but who is getting in the way of achieving western geopolitical goals. War is good business of course so often the interventions support rebel groups who if they came to power would be far more oppressive and brutal regime than the one they replaced.

Assad was a fairly benign dictator, sure, he eliminated his opponents with ruthless efficiency but there are plenty of tyrants around the world who have killed far more of their own people (Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe for example) so why is it imperative to get rid of Assad? And why did Gadaffi have to go in Libya yet the regimes in Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic Of Congo, Mali, Mayanmar, Indonesia, Pakistan, Kazakstan and Uzbekistan to name but a few (without naming the one supported by the western powers whose ruler likes to have his critics boiled alive) all have abysmal rrecords of human rights abuses and yet are supported by the west and the United Nations.

The case is war is good for business, and now that Quantitative Easing (printing money) has failed to restart stagnant economies and negative interest rates (you pay the bank interest on your savings) looking likely to be as popular as a smelly fart in a small lift, war looks like the only remaining option to save the global economy from another collapse. British defense company BAE systems has seemingly anticipated the upturn in demand for missiles, guns, helicopters, tanks etc. and cashed in on the conflict, posting a sharp rise in revenue due to the sale of products mainly to Saudi Arabia, one of the top human rights abusing regimes in the world that has been busy bombing Yemen and sending weapons to ISIS for several years.

BAE's armaments and defence equipment sales sales rose by 7.6 percent in the past year to US$25.7 billion (£17.9bn), while the company's share price eclipsed earlier forecasts. The company, which specializes in selling air and naval military products, as well as munitions and warfare systems, had for years been making job cuts and a scaling down of production due to a lack of demand.

However, the increase in fighting in Syria and Yemen has seemingly boosted demand and subsequently the company's sales over the past three years. BAE confirmed it had increased aircraft deliveries to Saudi Arabia and struck a deal to supply the Gulf kingdom with 22 more "Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer" aircraft, along with additional ground equipment training aids.

The announcement of increased profits comes at a time of high debate about arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with many campaigners concerned about reports of alleged Saudi war crimes and breaches and international law associated with Riyadh's bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Other defence equipment makers doing well include United Technologies with military equipment sales of $11 billion out of a total revenue of $58 billion, Rayethon, whose military sales of $22 billion make up 90% of its total revenue, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), based in the Netherlands, with armaments sales of $17billion. Arms sales comprised just 24% of the company's revenue; Italian company Finmeccanica makes a wide range of arms, including helicopters and security electronics, nearly 60% of the company's sales in 2011 were in arms. Finmeccanica lost $3.2 billion in 2011 but since the escalation of hostilities has returned to profit.

Those are just a random sample, some major players, a couple of smaller ones. More European operations can be found HERE and the American Top 25 HERE A full list would be very long and that is without adding military contractors. Yes,war has always been good for business and that is why we seem set on an irreversible course to global conflict. You see even if the shooting war does not kick off, increased tensions will ensure bigger defence budgets for several decades.

I suppose I should be proud that British company BAE systems are world No. 1 but I cannot honestly say that I am. It would please me far more if we were top in one of the other areas in which we excel.


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