Trump’s first trip to a foreign country as US President was anything but dull. During his time in Saudi Arabia, there was sword dancing, glowing orb madness and a whole other host of strange behaviour. In between all of this weirdness however, there was one thing that was entirely orthodox for a US President to do when in Arabia: agree to arm the Saudis to the teeth.
The US and Saudi Arabia sealed the largest arms deal in US history during Trump’s visit, a deal worth approximately $350 billion over the next decade, although Senator Rand Paul is expected to try and block a portion of the deal. Trump’s slimeball son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was heavily involved in the negotiations, reportedly helping to get the Saudis a better deal.
This agreement once again reveals that Trump will serve the military-industrial complex well during his reign in office, as the share price of the giant war contractors soared after news of the deal broke. In the words of the former US congressman and host of the Liberty Report, Ron Paul, the military-industrial complex was the special interest that gained the most from Trump’s Saudi visit:
This trip I would consider not a diplomatic trip. This was well-staged to serve a few special interests; and I would say the most powerful special interest that the President has kowtowed to would be the military-industrial complex. It’s up to 350 billion dollars over the next 10 years and who knows what, and Trump is just excited about this (from 3:55 into the show).
The US-Saudi arms deal comes a month and a half after Trump launched 59 Raytheon-made Tomahawk cruise missiles at a military base controlled by the Syrian government, one of the main powers fighting against ISIS and associated ‘moderate rebels.’ The illegal military action led to an immediate surge in the value of Raytheon shares, as well as in the stocks of other war contractors whose technology was also used in the missile launch.
Since Trump’s inauguration on the 20th of January, the former real estate mogul has clearly shown a prominent militaristic side, a side which elates the military-industrial complex. In fact, some of the giants of the military-industrial complex contributed to Trump’s record-breaking inaugural fund, with both Boeing and Lockheed Martin donating $1 million each, according to a US filing.
Trump’s first proposed budget – for the fiscal year that begins on the 1st of October – is yet more confirmation that we can expect a continuation of the perennial wars under the ‘anti-interventionist’ commander-in-chief. The budget includes a 10% increase for the Pentagon (yes, the same Pentagon that couldn’t account for $6.5 trillion during the 2015 fiscal year), which will put the national security budget at over $600 billion if it is approved.
To put that in perspective, Russia’s defence budget has been well under $100 billion for years, with the 2017 budget slashing defence spending to around $50 billion. Trump’s proposed budget also includes 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles from Raytheon, helping to replenish the ones used to strike a sovereign country that is at the forefront of the real war on terrorism.
As I warned in an article published all the way back in August 2016, the idea peddled by Trump’s zealot supporters during the election campaign that Trump was somehow an anti-war, anti-interventionist candidate, was, and still is, total nonsense. Trump will continue the long tradition of US Presidents who pursued policies that enriched the military-industrial complex at the expense of an infinite number of human lives.
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning over half a century ago could not have been more prescient, as the military-industrial complex is one of most powerful special interests that rules the US today. Unfortunately, Americans did not heed Eisenhower’s warning, which he expressed in his 1961 farewell address:
This conjunction, of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry, is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government. We recognise the imperative need for this development, yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications… In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”, where this article first appeared.