The Business of War (II)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
Although since 2012 global military spending has declined as a result of the economic and financial crisis that is affecting the entire world today, it has not been in the purchase of weapons, but in staff cuts and reductions in pensions and salaries. In fact, the budget for the purchase of weapons in the EU went from 38 billion euros in 2006 to 42.9 in 2010, while staff cuts represented 98.7 billion euros during the same period.
In essence, the constant high military spending has created a surge in weapons companies and given a greater boost to weapons exports. In 2011 the hundred largest weapons companies in the world sold 318 billion euros, 51% more than in 2002.
The sales of these 100 companies have increased by 60% globally and are far from being affected by the financial crisis. The presidents of European countries have promoted the sale of weapons in Arab countries, thereby helping those corrupt dictatorial governments to repress their citizens.
That’s also the case of Spain, which in 2012 defended the sale of Leopard 2 war tanks to Saudi Arabia when its Defense Minister was director of two companies that supply guns and security to his country’s own armed forces. These were the Spanish subsidiary of the multinational company MBDA that produced missiles and Segur Ibérica that provides private security services.
The Minister of Defense was also an advisor and representative of the company Instalaza, S.A. that had been a manufacturer of cluster bombs (which release a large number of small bombs when opened) until 2008 when they were used in Libya against the civilian population, according to a report by The New York Times.
Even so, Spain is one of the countries in the European Union that spend the least on weapons. According to its Finance Minister, Spain spends 0.6% of its GDP, or about 6 billion euros, on weapons, although the official report from that ministry indicates that the Defense Ministry had at its disposal more than 9 billion euros, 50% more than expected.
Back to the world stage, there is no doubt that with Trump at the head of the US Government, the business of war will continue to grow at a great pace, even if it bankrupts almost all the major economies of the world, given that the possession of weapons of mass destruction is still the main item that controls the life of the world. To this basic item has gradually been added a dose of cruelty against the weakest people that has not stopped since the right to land ownership appeared on Planet Earth about 9,000 BC.