For the military-industrial complex, business is booming during the Trump administration. Trump’s deescalation of tensions in Syria is apparently an outlier, as Trump has continued or ramped up the militaristic policies of his predecessor on every other front–most notably, North Korea. These policies have defense giants such as Lockheed Martin swimming in profits.
“The level of dialogue around missile defense is now at the prime minister and minister of defense level,” Tim Cahill, who serves as vice president of Lockheed’s Air and Missile Defense division, said to Reuters during an interview.
Trump’s declaration that North Korea would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” coincided with the dictatorship threatening an attack against Guam this week. Tensions continue to worsen, show no signs of slowing down, and everyone is on the edge not knowing what to expect next. This global turmoil, as usual, helps the bottom line of Lockheed and other weapons manufacturers.
According to Reuters, “Shares of Lockheed are up nearly 8 percent, to $300.10, since North Korea’s first long-range missile test on July 4. The stock is up 20 percent year-to-date.”
Concerns about the effectiveness of missile defense technology have waned as panic has set in. It was reported in April that top scientists doubt the effectiveness of the United States missile defense system that allegedly can stop nuclear-armed ballistic missile strikes from countries such as Iran or North Korea.
“[The military-industrial complex] is leading political leaders to believe that they have a military capability that they don’t, in fact, have,” physicist David Wright said. He is co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and has been studying the technology for many years.
Trump’s ethos of making America great again apparently involves enriching the entrenched special interests that were largely responsible for the decline of America in the first place. This obvious conflict of interest exposes a fatal flaw in Trump’s philosophy, as Antiwar.com analyst Jason Ditz explains.
“This is potentially a problem for those in the administration pushing for diplomacy with North Korea, as President Trump is clearly enamored with stock performance as his ultimate measure of economic progress, and all this war hysteria is driving Lockheed’s stock to new highs that might be endangered by peace,” Ditz said.
Trump will have to realize that higher stock numbers and GDP growth are not sustainable ways to make America great again, at least if those metrics are boosted by corporate welfare and defense spending.