This year global military spending has reached the highest point of history, outranking even the highest years of the Cold War.
Global military spending this year is estimated to reach US$1,059bn, outstripping the highest figure reached during the Cold War in real terms, and roughly fifteen times current international aid expenditure. This growth in military budgets has caused a boom for the arms industry, with the top 100 arms companies seeing their sales increase by almost 60 per cent, from US$157bn in 2000 to US$268bn in 2004.
One has to ask oneself if Bill Clinton or Al Gore were in power would this be happening… The answer is no. The US economy would be growing in the direction of services and international consumer goods.
American influence would be expanding as its products and its businessmen took over whole markets and could even control huge sections of the media sector via their advertising.
I know how the system of control and domination of foreign markets works, from my experience as head of televison in Russia for two of the world’s largest ad agencies with, in both cases, P&G as our principal client.
Of course, some American expansion into new markets carries on anyway, despite the animosity of the Cheney years. There is a great deal of momentum in world trade which takes years and decades to succumb fully to inertia and negative forces. But the Americans would be having a lot more success stories and a lot less bloodshed, had they not played the imperial card and instead carried on with Bill Clinton’s friendship hand.
Had the Israel-Palestinian issue been resolved instead of launching the foolish (and deadly) Iraq crusade, there would have been little standing in the way of a mass PR and business benefit to American business throughout the world.
And we would be in a much better position to take on issues like world hunger. Not solve them, but make them a lot better.
If we could alleviate world hunger even a little bit it would be a wonderful thing. Each statistical percentage points is the difference between hundreds of thousands starving. Conversely, each billion dollars of military spending ends up costing tens of thousands loss of life and limb.
Statistics like this should make us angry, not depressed. This is how our money and how our efforts are being spent – on arms and not on helping our fellow man.
Vote, protest and educate.