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Botswana and the military industrial complex

War is a failure of diplomacy and one of the darkest sides of the human race, something we as a people should be avoiding at all costs. Unfortunately this world has a system that allows some companies to amass huge profits off the US and European foreign policy, which gives these companies a vested interest in creating, continuing and escalating conflict around the world.

This industry of profit through military might is called the Military Industrial Complex. This is a phrase coined by former US president Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell address to the US people in 1961 when he warned of a close relationship between government and the defense industry.

This relationship can produce obvious benefits for both sides with war planners receiving the tools necessary for waging war while also furthering political interests abroad.

On the other hand defense companies become the recipient of lucrative multi-billion dollar deals. In more simple terms it can be said that the business of war is profitable.

Those who traffic in military procurement usually have a vested interest in an unstable international environment. Advocates of huge arms expenditures use all available means of shaping public attitudes and government behavior to perpetuate an illusion of great international danger emanating particularly from the ‘adversary” bloc of nations. Developing countries are said to be the primary focus of foreign arms sales activity by weapons suppliers though most arms are supplied by a few major suppliers. 

The business of war is a very lucrative as one hundred largest arms producers and military service contractors recorded $395 billion in arms sales in 2012. These war merchants according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute have benefitted tremendously from the growth of military spending in the US which by far has the largest military budget in the world.

Weapons producers generate massive profits from arms sales. The US and European companies continue to dominate the top ten global companies in terms of arms deals.

Lockheed Martin which as the largest arms seller alone accounted for $36billion in such sales in 2012. This company is the largest war profiteer since the beginning of wars in the Middle East and their profit margins increased by 516% from year 2010 through 2008.  As Lockheed Martin makes a lot of money, this might just seem like capitalism in play for ordinary people, but the horrifying truth is that this industry directly benefits off the cruel spilling of the blood of human beings.

While perpetual war ensionconflict constitutes perpetual losses for families, and ever expanding budgets, it also represents perpetual profits for a new and larger complex of business of military contractors like Lockheed Martin. It is interesting to note that top politicians, presidents and prime ministers as Perlo Freeman has observed, are very often directly involved in promoting major arms deals on

behalf of the domestic industry.

Furthermore many defense companies or contractors are looking overseas to make up for any potential slowing sales in the US and Europe. They are especially keen on Latin America, Asia and Africa. Coming to Africa, there was a huge debate in Botswana as the country is said to preparing to purchase fighter jets and surveillance equipment worth billions of pulas.

The reason from the defense ministry is that Botswana should jealously guard its airspace from any possible acts of aggression from foreign enemies. This traditional view of security thinking will probably benefit some overseas security contractors who are more than willing to sell this military hardware to Botswana despite the fact that there is an impossibility of any interstate conflict within the region in the near future.

The military contractors will be very happy to profit from this nonexistent security threat. What the military contractors will be gingerly waiting for is the arms race that might follow as a result of Botswana having bought such hugely expensive military hardware.

The possibility of arms raise is a welcome scenario for the Military Industrial Complex as more profits will fill their coffers as some countries within the region might be compelled to buy military hardware to counter balance Botswana. The tension this might bring to the region is a suitable environment for the arms contractors as tensions and conflict between countries ensure that they make huge profits.

The fact that Southern Africa has been relatively calm over the last two decades has been bad business for military Industrial Complex in the region as war/conflict to them is business and peace is an unaffordable luxury that bring losses to their business.  What Botswana is doing is very welcome to the contractors. In fact the Military Industrial Complex deeply wants the region to descend into Libyan or Iraqi style chaos as that would provide a suitable environment for them to make profits out of the misery and destruction of human lives.

The more Botswana continues to buy weapons from these death merchants the more the country will receive accolades from western leaders as a beacon of “democracy” and a political sweetheart to be emulated by other countries.

The democracy mantra will be nothing but a smokescreen that hide the excitement of earning profits from military hardware that has a potential to destabilize Southern Africa for their own war for profit interests.

Global Politics



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