Lee Fang / The Intercept & Precious Valerie / Morning News USA – 2016-08-26 13:25:18
US Defense Contractors Tell Investors Russian Threat Is Great for Business
Lee Fang / The Intercept
(August 19, 2016) — The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the US presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries.
Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget.
In particular, the arms industry — both directly and through its arsenal of hired-gun, think-tank experts and lobbyists — is actively pressuring NATO member nations to hike defense spending in line with the NATO goal for member states to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.
Retired Army Gen. Richard Cody, a vice president at L-3 Communications, the seventh largest US defense contractor, explained to shareholders in December that the industry was faced with a historic opportunity.
Following the end of the Cold War, Cody said, peace had “pretty much broken out all over the world,” with Russia in decline and NATO nations celebrating. “The Wall came down,” he said, and “all defense budgets went south.”
Now, Cody argued, Russia “is resurgent” around the world, putting pressure on US allies. “Nations that belong to NATO are supposed to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “We know that uptick is coming and so we postured ourselves for it.”
Speaking to investors at a conference hosted by Credit Suisse in June, Stuart Bradie, the chief executive of KBR, a military contractor, discussed “opportunities in Europe,” highlighting the increase in defense spending by NATO countries in response to “what’s happening with Russia and the Ukraine.”
The National Defense Industrial Association, a lobby group for the industry, has called on Congress to make it easier for US contractors to sell arms abroad to allies in response to the threat from Russia. Recent articles in National Defense, NDIA’s magazine, discuss the need for NATO allies to boost maritime military spending, spending on Arctic systems, and missile defense, to counter Russia.
Many experts are unconvinced that Russia poses a direct military threat. The Soviet Union’s military once stood at over 4 million soldiers, but today Russia has less than 1 million. NATO’s combined military budget vastly outranks Russia’s — with the US alone outspending Russia on its military by $609 billion to less than $85 billion.
And yet, the Aerospace Industries Association, a lobby group for Lockheed Martin, Textron, Raytheon, and other defense contractors, argued in February that the Pentagon is not spending enough to counter “Russian aggression on NATO’s doorstep.”
Think tanks with major funding from defense contractors, including the Lexington Institute and the Atlantic Council, have similarly demanded higher defense spending to counter Russia.
Stephen Hadley, the former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush now serving on the board of Raytheon, a firm competing for major NATO military contracts, has argued forcefully for hiking defense budgets and providing lethal aid to Ukraine. Hadley said in a speech last summer that the US must “raise the cost for what Russia is doing in Ukraine,” adding that “even President Putin is sensitive to body bags.”
The business press has noticed the development. The Washington Business Journal noted that “if anyone is benefiting from the unease between Russia and the rest of the world, it would have to be Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp,” noting that the firm won a major contract from Poland, which is revamping its military in response to Russia.
Roman Schweizer, an analyst for the defense industry with Guggenheim Securities, predicted last year that US arms sales would continue to rise, particularly because “eastern NATO countries will increase procurements in the wake of continued Russian activity in Ukraine.”
At the Defence Security Exposition International, an arms dealer conference held in London last fall, contractors were quick to use Russia and rising defense budgets to hawk their products. “The tank threat is . . . much, much more closer to you today because Putin is doing something” in eastern Ukraine, a shoulder-fired-rocket touting representative from Saab told Defense One.
“Companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing have pledged to increase the share of exports in their overall revenues, and they have been seeking major deals in East and Central Europe since the 1990s, when NATO expansion began,” said William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy. Hartung noted that as some nations ramp up spending, US firms will be “knocking at the door, looking to sell everything from fighter planes to missile defense systems.”
“Russian saber-rattling has additional benefits for weapons makers because it has become a standard part of the argument for higher Pentagon spending — even though the Pentagon already has more than enough money to address any actual threat to the United States,” he said.
World Cannot Avoid Nuclear War As
Russia, US & China Go Against Each Other?
Precious Valerie / Morning News USA
(July 29, 2016) — Many analysts agree that the world has not been as tensed as it once was. That is, until now. Russia, US and China are the forefront of political tensions, with all the parties showing no signs they would let things be.
Nuclear War Brewing
“Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger,” Global Research previously quoted William J. Perry, US Secretary Of Defense.
The quote is now as fitting, given what is happening on the world stage. The lack of clear lines with the situation is what makes things so dangerous.
The world is tiptoeing with every plan, military decision, and words that come from the parties, including NATO. The United States is now working on long-range missiles, but so do Russia and China. The missiles will be capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Some argue that if there is no war coming, why are countries constantly developing their targeting capabilities and are seemingly against each other? However, it is more dangerous to think that the United States and NATO are trying to promote destabilizing concepts to justify military actions.
“There is no evidence that Russia contemplates an attack on the Baltic states or countries like Poland, and, given the enormous power of the US, such an undertaking would court national suicide,” argued the report.
“Moscow’s ‘aggression’ against Georgia and Ukraine was provoked. Georgia attacked Russia, not vice versa, and the Ukraine coup torpedoed a peace deal negotiated by the European Union, the US, and Russia.”
Russia and China as Friends
The destabilizing attempts of the United States may also push Russia and China together. The two countries are slated to conduct military exercises in the South China Sea region by September.
“This is a routine exercise between the two armed forces, aimed at strengthening the developing China-Russia strategic cooperative partnership,” Reuters quoted China’s defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun.
“The exercise is not directed against third parties.”
WW3 Alert: NATO Gives Go Signal To Attack Russia
Precious Valerie / Morning News USA
(July 11, 2016) — NATO and Russia are butting heads, with many believing that if the tensions continue, the Cold War-like scenario could turn into a hotter political crisis. Moscow has also been accused of demonizing Russia while ignoring threats from the South.
NATO Demonizing Russia?
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova fired back at NATO, saying that the alliance “exists in a political mirror-world” that focuses on a “mythical” threat from the East “demonizing” Russia. The relations between the two parties degraded following the annexation of Crimea and have since been followed by a series of tensed and exchanges.
“We’re currently analyzing the decisions made at the NATO summit that took place in Warsaw on July 8 and 9. But even a cursory look at the results of the meeting shows that NATO continues to exist in some political mirror-world,” RT quoted Zakharova.
The summit concluded this Saturday with a notable new agreement from the allies. Members signed the 139-chapter communiquÃ© detailing how to deal with security threats with special attention to “Russian aggression.”
NATO also said that Russia is guilty of “provocative military activities in the periphery of NATO territory” and “willingness to attain political goals by the threat and use of force.”
“Contrary to the aspirations of maintaining peace and stability in Europe, the Alliance focuses on ‘deterring’ a non-existent ‘threat from the East’,” said Zakharova.
“Attempts to ‘demonize’ Russia in order to justify the steps taken in the field of military construction, to divert public attention from the destructive role of the alliance and some of its allies, who provoke crises and [â€¦] hotbeds of tension in various parts of the world, has become increasingly tumid.”
NATO Pushes for War
Former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev has also fired back at NATO, saying that the alliance is escalating things further. The official noted that NATO has been working on “offensive operations” against Russia.
“All the rhetoric in Warsaw just yells of a desire almost to declare war on Russia. They only talk about defense, but actually they are preparing for offensive operations,” he said.
WW3 Alert: NATO Stands Up To Putin,
Russia Becomes Dangerous
Precious Valerie / Morning News USA
(August 25, 2016) — NATO is not letting Vladimir Putin have his way as the alliance seeks to stand up to the Russian threat through more aggressive actions. However, Russia is making a move of its own, which could create more tension across the European region. Is the world about to face the next world war?
Apart from previous efforts, NATO has reportedly been stacking troops across Europe as a response to the perceived aggressive actions of Russia. Despite claims that NATO and Russiaâ€™s communication lines remain open for peace, the recent efforts of both parties have been linked to one thing: in preparation for a war.
Tensions between NATO and Russia have risen throughout the years following the annexation of Crimea. Since Russia has been assembling troops once more near Ukraine, NATO has assured members and the world that it will be increasing its presence to deter Russian aggression. The move has also prompted Russia to act on its own and stack up military forces.
Nonetheless, Express reported that an alliance source reiterated that NATOâ€™s moves are only in light of defending its territories.
â€œWe do not seek confrontation with Russia, and will continue to strive for a more constructive relationship,â€ said the source. â€œNATO has a responsibility to ensure we are ready to defend our allies.
â€œWe are reinforcing our presence in the eastern part of the Alliance in response to Russiaâ€™s aggressive actions against Ukraine.â€
The source clarified that all activities are defensive in nature and in line with the organizationâ€™s international commitments and responsibilities. The source added that the alliance is keeping communication lines open.
Russia Becomes Dangerous
Nonetheless, Russia appears to be becoming more dangerous. According to Daily Star, Russia has been spotted loading dozens of vehicles to a ferry, sparking invasion fears.
According to the report, CCTV footage from the Kerch Strait ferry reveals that Russia is loading vehicles in what many believe to be parts of its efforts for a full-scale invasion. The strait crosses from Russia into occupied Crimea. There were also unmarked military trucks and armored personal carriers seen.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.