War Profits Soar as Diplomacy Sinks

W.J. Astore

I came across a remarkable stat while reading William Hartung’s latest article, “The Profits of War,” at TomDispatch.com. The giant military contractor, Lockheed Martin, received $77 billion in federal funds in FY2020 (Lockheed Martin builds the F-35 fighter jet), almost double the entire budget for the U.S. State Department (roughly $44 billion). So as President Biden gives speeches about favoring diplomacy over military action, he might want to consider how the Pentagon’s budget (and related spending on weaponry, including new nuclear weapons) is roughly 20 times that of the State Department. Biden once said, show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value. Looks like weaponry and war remains number one and job one. USA! USA!

I had to laugh when I saw this headline from the New York Times in my email this morning: “At U.N., Biden calls for diplomacy, not conflict, but some are skeptical.” Readers, I can’t fathom any skepticism about U.S. intentions, can you? We are a peace-loving nation. We just choose to show it by constantly building new weapons in a febrile quest for “full-spectrum dominance” as we showcase our global reach and global power with assassin drones and endless wars. Does any other country in the world have 750 overseas military bases in 80 countries? Does any other country in the world slice and dice the map into regional commands (Africa Command, Central Command, and so on) led by four-star generals and admirals? Proving the world is not enough, America now seeks to dominate space with our “Space Force” and virtual worlds like cyberspace.

Time to practice some “diplomacy” in space.

Remember how Teddy Roosevelt said to speak softly but also to carry a big stick? That needs to be amended. The U.S. policy for decades has been: Shout loudly and swing a big stick. And that “big stick” is the U.S. military, which routinely gobbles up more than half of the federal discretionary budget.

Let me know when the State Department’s budget soars to $750 billion and the Pentagon’s budget plunges to $44 billion and maybe I’ll believe Joe Biden’s words about the new importance of diplomacy in America.

13 thoughts on “War Profits Soar as Diplomacy Sinks

  1. onward and upward, all the way to the empyreal outreaches of our solar system, eh? it is the MIC’s wet dream and every empire’s dream in between… war-by-war, until that wannabe empire is no more, and a new empire rises from sphinx’s ashes to assume yet again the mantle of overreach.


    1. Before there was a Space Force, Jeanie, I recall an Air Force commercial that talked about projecting power to the shining stars — and beyond. And it got me to thinking — what’s beyond the shining stars? Talk about overreach!


  2. America is the people, and even if they are poorly educated, continuously distracted, debt-financed automatons, they are still “my people”.

    UncleG&TheProfligateSpenders is TheBeast behind the curtain, or more appropriately, the flag. It might keep a few tentacles after tens of millions of Americans realize the difference, but the State overplayed it’s hand dealing with TheOrangeMenace, and even people who need TheBeast are starting to question the value, cost & implication of it’s reach.

    In a few years, after the DemocraticParty collapses leaving liberals & progressives without a home [Libertarians & Greens could use more members] the GOP breaks into OldRight, NeoCon & Constitutionalist, at least, TheBeast won’t be able to dole out empty promises to address it’s manufactured fears.

    Then my girlfriend will show the world who she really is, we can all get a little more friendly and a lot less scared.


  3. Thanks for sharing William Hartung’s article.

    Congress has every incentive to maintain or increase the defense budget since a portion of those funds likely benefit each member’s district or state. If constituents lose jobs, the prospect of that politician being reelected decreases significantly. Not surprisingly, Pentagon budgets always enjoy bipartisan support.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Senator Patty Murray – the Democratic Senator for WA State.
      We call her the Senator for Boeing!
      Been a Senator for 29-years!
      Never seen a military spending plan she does not approve.
      Reelected over and over and over.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. When I saw Don Henley back at Boston Common “The Hub of the Universe” in the Eighties “Building the Perfect Beast” Tour was his own personal Prophecy Crusade on US…!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Show me your budget and I’ll show you what you value” did Biden really say that?? Astonishing, if he did. Does the man have no core beliefs or ethos, and only says what he thinks people want to hear? I see now that Biden was a perfect match for Obama; they both know how to fill the air with perfect heartwarming soundbites we all yearn for and yet not mean a word of it. Thanks for reminding us of the Hartung article which was an excellent recap of the last 20 years and a strong warning about our going forward with more of the same.


    1. Yes. The exact quote:“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

      OK, Joe!


  6. They say that patriotism is the last refuge
    To which a scoundrel clings
    Steal a little and they throw you in jail
    Steal a lot and they make you king

    What are the citizens of America
    Doing in a military factory like this?


  7. This seems like as good a time as any to throw in this quote from Aldous Huxley:
    “A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in the calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sports and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those who would manipulate and control it.”

    This comes back to me pretty much every time I read or hear an appeal to the “better angels” and “nobility of character” that are supposed to exist just beneath the skin of the American people and which are expected to come to the fore when the balloon goes up, the deal goes down, and push finally comes to shove.
    Dream on, folks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks. Ah, “defense.” What a word.

      Time to return to the War budget. Or maybe the war, weapons, and killing budget. Even then, it would pass handily in Congress.


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