With persistence of Russia-Ukraine war, the world wearily wonders whether the continuing war will deliver fresh economic shocks, even as economies are yet to recover from shocks delivered last year. Millions across countries have seen prices go up and real incomes drop, energy and food becoming more expensive and bank credit get dearer. Ukraine has suffered terribly, and Russia, despite its leadership’s bravado, has suffered too. But every day of the war is Christmas Day for global arms manufacturers.
Since the beginning of the conflict last February, defence companies have seen their stocks rise as the West rushed military aid to Kyiv. Many of these weapons came from reserve stockpiles of Western countries, requiring these systems to be replenished through fresh contracts to arms makers. And while Europe has upped its contribution in recent months, the US still remains the largest individual contributor towards weapons for Ukraine, committing $18.5 billion till November 20. In December, Washington announced another $1.85 billion in military aid for Kyiv, which included the Patriot air defence system.
The US defence budget will hit a record $858 billion—bigger than Switzerland’s GDP—this year out of which at least $800 million will go towards security assistance to Ukraine. The defence bill authorizes specific purchases from arms companies like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics whose systems have already marked their presence on the Ukrainian frontline. In fact, the American Himars rocket launcher used by the Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk strike was probably of Lockheed Martin make. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that American defence companies are having a good time. Lockheed Martin’s share price over the past year grew by 11%, Northrop Grumman by 23%, and AeroVironment by 21%.
This once again proves that imperialism, as great Lenin said, ‘‘generates an annexationist, predatory, plunderous war… for the division of the world,…spheres of influence of finance capital,…’’ (Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, SW Vol. 1, Part 2, Moscow edition)
Secondly, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, an outstanding Marxist thinker of the era and worthy continuer of great Lenin-Stalin-Mao Zedong had shown way back in 1962 that ‘‘…the imperialists …are making desperate attempts to get out of the burning pyre… by having recourse to frantic rearmament and militarization of industry…
True, it is much like a drowning man catching at a straw. Nevertheless, the imperialists are doing all this to stave off the crisis and maintain the boom of the capitalist market, at least temporarily, by artificial stimulation of increased military consumption… The imperialists have, in fact, gone the whole hog in their preparation for war, breaking all their past records of arms race…more acute will be the crisis of economy, the ruling class … (will) proceed with arms race.’’ (Call of the Hour, SW Vol. II)
How prophetically correct were they because of their grasp over Marxist methodology of analysis.