By Yurii Sheliazhenko, World BEYOND War, October 31, 2021
During seven decades after the second world war, leading nations of the world in an almost unanimous leap of insanity chose not to achieve social justice, brotherhood, and sisterhood of all humans, but to invest more in national war machines of brutal killing, destruction, and pollution of the environment.
According to the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, in 1949 the United States war budget was $14 billion. In 2020, the United States spent $722 billion dollars on the armed forces. The absurdity and immorality of such gigantic military spending, the biggest war budget on the planet, is even more obvious considering that the United States spends only 60 billion dollars on international affairs.
You can’t pretend your army is for defense, not for aggression, if you invest so much money in war and so little in peace. If you spend most of your time not making friends but practicing shooting, you will find that people around look like a lot of targets. The aggression may be hidden for a while, but it will be inevitably revealed.
Trying to explain why militarism gets 12 times more money than diplomacy, U.S. ambassador and decorated officer Charles Ray wrote that “military operations will always be more expensive than diplomatic activities — that’s just the nature of the beast.” He didn’t even consider the possibility of replacing some military operations with peacebuilding efforts, in other words, to behave more like a good person rather than a beast.
And this behavior is not an exclusive sin of the United States; you can see it in the European, African, Asian and Latin American countries, in the East as well as in the West, in South as well as in the North, in countries with different cultures and religious traditions. It is such a common flaw in public spending that nobody even measures it nor includes it in international peace indexes.
From the end of the cold war till today the total military expenditure of the world almost doubled, from one trillion to two trillion dollars; no wonder that many people describe the current state of international affairs as the new cold war.
Rising military spending exposes global political leaders as cynical liars; these liars are not one or two autocrats, but whole political classes officially representing their nation states.
Nine nations with nuclear weapons (Russia, USA, China, France, UK, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea) say many loud words in the international fora about peace, democracy, and rule of law; five of them are permanent members of the UN Security Council. And yet, their own citizens and the whole world can’t feel secure because they squeeze out of taxpayers to fuel the doomsday machine ignoring the nuclear ban treaty approved at the UN General Assembly by the majority of nations.
Some beasts from the U.S. pack are even hungrier than the Pentagon. For example, in Ukraine 2021 budget assignments of the Ministry of Defense exceed 24 times the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ budget.
In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky, elected after promising peace, stated that peace should be “on our terms” and silenced pro-Russian media in Ukraine, like his predecessor Poroshenko blocked Russian social networks and pushed an official language law forcibly excluding Russian from the public sphere. Zelensky’s party Servant of the People committed to increase military spending to 5% of GDP; it was 1.5% in 2013; now it is more than 3%.
The Ukrainian government contracted in the United States 16 Mark VI patrol boats for 600 million dollars, which is comparable with all Ukrainian public spending on culture, or one and half times Odessa’s city budget.
With a majority in the Ukrainian parliament, the presidential political machine concentrates political power in the Zelensky team’s hands and multiplies militarist laws, such as draconian punishments for evaders from conscription and the creation of new “national resistance” forces, increasing active personnel of armed forces by 11,000 (which already grew from 129,950 in 2013 to 209,000 in 2020), creating military units in local governments for mandatory military training of millions of people aimed to mobilize the whole population in case of war with Russia.
It seems that Atlanticist hawks are eager to drag the United States into the war. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv promising to provide military aid against Russian aggression. NATO supports plans to build two naval military bases in the Black Sea region, increasing tensions with Russia. Since 2014, the United States has spent 2 billions on military aid for Ukraine. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin profited a lot selling their Javelin anti-tank missiles, and Turkish merchants of death also made a fortune from war in Ukraine trading their Bayraktar drones.
Tens of thousands of people have already been killed and crippled in the seven-years Russia-Ukraine war, more than two millions displaced from their homes. There are mass graves on both sides of the frontline full of unidentified civilian victims of the war. Hostilities in Eastern Ukraine are escalating; in October 2021 the daily rate of violations of the ceasefire were doubled in comparison with the previous year. U.S.-backed Ukraine and Russia with pro-Russian separatists exchange accusations of aggression and non-negotiability. It seems the conflicting parties are unwilling to seek reconciliation, and the new cold war ignites an ugly conflict in Europe while the USA and Russia continue to threaten, insult, and harass each other’s diplomats.
“Can the military deliver peace when diplomacy is disempowered?” is a purely rhetorical question. All of history says it can’t. When they say it can, you can find less truth in these pops of propaganda war than powder in a used dummy bullet.
Militarists always promise they fight for you, and always break promises. They fight for profits and for power to abuse it for more profits. They rob taxpayers and deprive us of our hopes and our sacred right for a peaceful and happy future.
That’s why you should not believe promises of peace from politicians, unless they follow the excellent example of Costa Rica which abolished armed forces and prohibited the creation of a standing army by the Constitution, and – this is the best part! – Costa Rica reallocated all military spending to fund better education and medical care.
We should learn that lesson. Taxpayers can’t expect peace when they continue to pay bills sent by merchants of death. During all elections and budgeting procedures, politicians and other decision-makers should hear loud demands of people: stop feeding the beast!