The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Stepped-up U.S. Military Spending:
Preparing for Generalized Wars

Apr 11, 2022

President Biden proposed a whopping ten percent increase in the U.S. Pentagon budget for next year, for a total of 773 billion dollars. This proposal is 40 billion dollars more than the Pentagon budget was under Trump, and 30 billion dollars more than it was under Obama, when the U.S. was still fully engaged in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

This stepped-up spending is not just a reflection of monumental waste and the drive for profits by the biggest military contractors, as many liberal critics often point out. Of course, military contractors are enormous beneficiaries of the military build-up. During the first months of this year alone, the stock prices for two of the biggest military contractors, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, increased by 25 and 30% respectively—obviously on Wall Street, speculators expect that those company profits will mushroom with all of the big increases in military spending.

But the main point for the increased military spending is the rising tensions and risk of war between the U.S. and its two biggest rivals, China and Russia. The war in Ukraine, which top Pentagon general Mark Milley has told Congress will go on for many long years, is fueling a big U.S. military build-up throughout Eastern Europe. At the same time, the U.S. is also building up its military forces in Asia in heightened military confrontations with China. That means more ships, jets and military vehicles.

As an added threat, the Pentagon is completely modernizing its nuclear weapons programs, everything from intercontinental missiles and naval submarines to nuclear warheads, with stepped-up spending increases already built in to the military budget through the next eight years, at least.

The Pentagon is also requesting roughly 40% more money for the Space Force in the coming year. Thus, the Pentagon is not only militarizing the land and the sea, but outer space.

As it is, the sheer size of the Pentagon budget is monumental. The U.S. spends more on the military than the next ten largest countries combined. As a comparison, the U.S. spends about 12 times as much on the military as Russia, one of its two main rivals. In fact, the Pentagon hands out more in military contracts every year to one company, Lockheed Martin, than all of the money the Russian government spends on its entire military.

But what else can one expect from the dominant super power in the world? To impose this domination, the U.S. maintains about 750 military bases in over 80 countries. The U.S. military also controls a significant number of small ports, repair complexes, warehouses, fueling stations, and surveillance facilities. And—last but not least—the U.S. government directly pays for fifty bases for the militaries of other countries.

And for what? The monstrous militaristic apparatus of death and destruction is nothing more than the extension, the tool, of the biggest U.S. capitalist groups, which are the biggest and richest in the world. These military forces are meant to defend the U.S. imperialist world order, against all rivals in their competition to grab the most profits and wealth, a competition that is quickly degenerating into a generalized war that threatens to engulf the entire world.