UNITED NATIONS, December 06 (IPS) – The 21-month pandemic, which began with the deadly coronavirus outbreak again in March 2020, has devastated hundreds and thousands of businesses and industries resulting in widespread losses, shutdowns or bankruptcies.
But one of the few industries that survived and thrived in 2020 was the multi-billion dollar global arms industry led by the United States.
A new report released on December 6 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says sales of arms and military services by the industry’s 100 largest companies reached $531 billion in 2020 – an increase of 1.3 percent in real terms over the previous year. general.
Arms sales to the 100 largest arms companies in 2020 were 17 percent higher than in 2015 — the first year that SIPRI included data on Chinese companies. This marks the sixth consecutive year of growth in arms sales by the top 100 companies.
Arms sales increased even as the global economy contracted by 3.1 percent during the first year of the pandemic.
According to SIPRI, the United States once again hosted the largest number of companies ranked in the top 100.
Together, the 41 US companies’ arms sales totaled $285 billion — a 1.9 percent increase over 2019 — and accounted for 54 percent of total arms sales in the top 100 companies.
Since 2018, all of the top five companies in the ranking have been based in the United States.
“The[US]industry’s giants were largely protected by continued government demand for military goods and services,” said Alexandra Marksteiner, a researcher with the SIPRI Program on Military Expenditure and Arms Production.
“In many parts of the world, military spending has grown and some governments have even accelerated payments to the arms industry in order to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.”
However, the Stockholm Institute said, working in the military market does not guarantee immunity from the effects of the pandemic.
For example, French arms manufacturer Thales has attributed a 5.8 percent drop in arms sales to disruptions from the shutdown in the spring of 2020. Some companies have also reported supply chain disruptions and delivery delays.
Meanwhile, even as the deadliest Omicron virus threatens to shut down yet another, the Associated Press (AP) reported on December 3 a French multi-billion-euro deal to sell fighter jets and helicopters to the United Arab Emirates, “with the aim of strengthening the military. Cooperation with Its biggest ally in the Persian Gulf amid shared concerns about Iran.”
The United Arab Emirates agreed to buy 80 upgraded Rafale warplanes in a deal that the French Defense Ministry said was worth 16 billion euros ($18 billion) and represented the largest French arms export contract ever. It also announced a deal with the UAE to sell 12 Airbus combat helicopters.
The AP said the arms deal was a shot in the arm of the French defense industry after the collapse of a $66 billion contract Australia buys 12 French submarines It eventually went to the United States but the deals faced criticism from human rights groups concerned with the UAE’s involvement in the years-long war in Yemen.
The UAE contracts were signed while French President Emmanuel Macron visited the country on the first leg of a two-day visit to the Arabian Gulf. France and the Gulf states have long worried about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and influence across the region, particularly in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, according to the Associated Press.
Dr. Natalie Goldring, visiting professor of practice at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, told IPS that the SIPRI data once again shows that the military-industrial complex is severely decoupled from real-world needs. Even as the global economy grappled with the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic in 2020, global arms sales were on the rise.” “This disconnect between economic realities and the global arms trade is deeply troubling. Every dollar spent on arms sales is a dollar unavailable to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and meet basic human needs such as food, clothing, and housing.” Unfortunately, these statistics are not surprising. What we are seeing is business as usual.” Goldring, who is also the United Nations representative for the Abbreviations Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy for Conventional Arms and the Arms Trade, said. Although this data is for 2020, there is little evidence that the Biden administration is changing these patterns. During the election campaign, for example, candidate Biden said his administration would take Saudi Arabia’s consistent pattern of human rights abuses seriously.
But in reality, Dr. Goldring said, the Biden administration continues to ignore these abuses and propose arms transfers that will allow Saudi Arabia to perpetuate its own systematic patterns of abuse. The Biden administration has also described proposed arms sales as defensive in nature even when the weapons have both defensive and offensive capabilities.” The United States and other arms suppliers have an opportunity to learn from the COVID pandemic, reassess priorities, and reallocate resources to human needs. “We cannot afford business as usual,” she stated. “.
According to the SIPRI report, the US arms industry is undergoing a wave of mergers and acquisitions. To expand their product portfolios and thus gain a competitive advantage when bidding for contracts, many major US arms companies are choosing to merge or acquire promising projects.
“This trend is particularly evident in the space sector,” Marksteiner said. Northrop Grumman and KBR are among several that have acquired high-value companies specializing in space technology in recent years.
Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, told IPS that arms dealers’ insatiable appetite for bloated profits has continued to cause financial killings while killing many more people around the world — directly with guns and bombs and indirectly by dispensing with Things that are badly needed. Resources needed for human survival.
He said that many people in the world are in severe pain due to the deadly shortage of everything from medicine, drinking water and minimal food supplies to housing and health education. Solomon, who is also a director, said that large numbers of people suffer and die as powerful governments eagerly serve the institutional greed of the arms industries, RootsAction.org
“The United States’ continuing to lead the way in profiting from the technological tools of mass murder is a shameful and ongoing crime against humanity,” he added.
The synergy between government power and corporate military institutions is a global poison that embodies a downward spiral. In any year, this would have been a colossal betrayal of the slightest human decency. In a year that brought the world to life with the emergence of the Covid pandemic, he said, this record is nothing short of systematic mass murder. “The fact that the United States is the source of more than half of all arms sales in the world is a profound indictment of the role of the United States government on this planet. In one way or another, any government of a country that exports huge amounts of arms is a partner in this activity. I declare that the United States And other countries engaged in large-scale arms exports must be condemned firmly and unrelentingly.”
Meanwhile, the combined arms sales of the five Chinese companies, listed in the top 100, amounted to an estimated $66.8 billion in 2020, up 1.5 percent from 2019. Chinese companies accounted for 13 percent of the total of the top 100 arms sales in 2020, behind US companies and ahead of UK companies, which accounted for the third largest share.
“In recent years, Chinese arms companies have benefited from the country’s military modernization programs and focused on military-civilian integration,” said Dr. Nan Tian, a senior researcher at SIPRI. They have become one of the most advanced producers of military technology in the world. For example, NORINCO has been involved in the development of the BeiDou system for military and civilian navigation satellites and has deepened its involvement in emerging technologies.
The Chinese were followed by European arms companies, French companies, German and Russian companies – all among the top 100.
talifuddin He is a former Director of Foreign Military Markets at Defense Marketing Services. Senior Defense Analyst at Forecast International; Military Editor for Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group; He is a former United Nations correspondent for Jane’s Defense Weekly in London.
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service