American Dissatisfaction With Our Military Spending

Information has been circulating for some days in several media outlets that the U.S. government is dissatisfied with how the Czech Republic is fulfilling its obligation to spend 2% of its federal budget on defense. It was even reported that it could mean certain sanctions against our republic. That people in the United States are not satisfied is an open secret. Donald Trump has already declared many times that Europe should finally start shouldering a greater share of defense, and reportedly, that countries where American bases are located should also take on the financing of these bases. The Poles have plainly already been accommodating, as when they offered their territory for such a base, and essentially even pledged to the Americans that they would pay for their own defense.

I don’t know what sort of sanctions the U.S. will impose on us—if that story is true. But let’s leave that aside for the moment.

Trump has an election coming up. He will make all kinds of arguments in the campaign. There are reasons for Washington’s dissatisfaction with the fact that not only we, but also a whole array of other states, NATO members in Europe, are not fulfilling their 2% obligation. Most weapons to be bought with the earmarked money bear the label “Made in USA,” or if they have some other label, the company owners are powerful investment groups with headquarters overseas. The issue is employment for American workers, and if Trump guarantees orders for more weapons and military systems, an opposing candidate will have a hard time challenging him.

But the main thing is profits flowing to the U.S., profits for American stockholders, whose interests lie in the military industry, and those people are more important than “American workers.” Those who work in manufacturing are voters. Those who own the stocks will have influence throughout the entire election cycle that follows. The first group may be befuddled with speeches about the global grandeur of the United States and with nationalism, and then there will be no need to answer to them for another four years. The president will have to keep the second group satisfied for his entire term in office. Moreover, many of them are direct contributors to Trump’s campaign fund. For the sake of their interests, it is necessary to increase the amount of resources NATO member states devote to defense, and thus provide work for those in the United States who take part in weapons production, which is supposed to be gradually unified in all of NATO. Thus, competition would actually be eliminated, and what’s more, purchasing states would become even more subordinate.

Somehow this thinking seems to coincide with a purchase of helicopters for our army.*

*Translator’s note: This remark apparently refers to a $622 million deal with Bell, announced by the Czech Defense Ministry last August.

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