Must-read text on the business of war
Leigh Arnold in Britain's Morning Star reviews Military- Industrial Complex: Costing the Earth, by Brian Denny and published by the Campaign Against Euro-Federalism. British Aerospace (BAe) sacked a whopping 2,200 people from its Harrier factory in Surrey even as the war against Yugoslavia was beginning. Such a wholesale jobs massacre might seem difficult to understand as it came just one week after workers at the same plant were told to put in overtime to prepare jets for NATO's war. Behind this seeming paradox, however, lies an explanation: the developing power of the US and European military-industrial complex. Brian Denny exposes the nature of their growth in this pamphlet, offering an invaluable tool for anyone wanting to understand the late 20th century business in war. After the end of the Cold War, the European arms industry was only about 60 percent the size of Washington's, despite having many more operations. Seeing the need to cut out wasteful competition and duplication, EU arms traders embarked on a series of multi-billion dollar mergers. After more than 20 takeovers, a small group of leaner arms monopolies emerged by cutting employment in the industry from 3.9 million in 1987 to 2.1 million. BAe recently bought the GEC defence division Marconi Electronic Systems and set to consolidating — hence the job losses in Surrey. However, this process is about more than just profits and shrinking world markets. The long-term aim is to bring all of Europe's giant arms traders together into one huge, unaccountable mega-business to pump out weapons for a growing European imperialism. The whole plan is written into various of the treaties which are driving hapless Europeans toward closer integration and war. The Amsterdam Treaty calls for "co-operation in the fields of armaments". The reason for the introduction of a common foreign and security policy [throughout Europe] is thus self-evident. The aim, as Denny says, is to equip Europe with the firepower to fight resource wars with the US in the next century. If there are must-read texts on imperialism, this is one, and what better time than as the Western allies set about dividing Kosovo up. Military-Industrial Complex: Costing the Earth is available for $2 (plus $1 p&p) from SPA Books. Ph: (02) 212 6855; Fax: (02) 281 5795, 65 Campbell St, Surry Hills, NSW, 2010.