During the last few days I have come twice across the claim that the USA have since 2001 been spending 32 mio $ PER HOUR on its wars, and if one calculates this a bit, one arrives at a bit less than 300 milliard per year, which does not sound wildly wrong.
Together with other details from the US society (rather widespread poverty, homelessness, the recent cuts in social spending) one is indeed feeling reminded of a few aspects from Orwell’s “1984”. There, the state is described as being permanently at war against changing opponents, with the war effort absorbing most of the productivity of the population. And this seems also to quite some degree to be true for the USA (although – quite remarkably – even without any “Ministry of Truth” or constant supervision via a televisor; the effect of the private-owned media plus the brainwash going on in the schools seem to be quite enough).
The question comes to mind how things could possibly have developed this way and so far, and my preliminary answer is that the situation is the quite logical consequence of unrestrained Capitalist market economy. Marx had expected that the imperialist Capitalist states would sooner or later fight wars against each other for the purpose of (among others) securing markets for themselves. The Military-Industrial Complex of at least the USA has, though, meanwile discovered that the best market of all is war itself. One just has to produce weapons, also to come every now and then up with “new models”, better also to cultivate good relations to the Secret Service (so that it will come up every now and then with helpful claims, e.g. concerning a “rocket gap” or similar), and then will come not only one’s own but also foreign governments and spend willingly huge amounts of tax money on all these fascinating products, with nationalist-minded citizens (and often large sections of the media) enthusiastically applauding. The next necessary step is then that somebody either skilfully builds up a threatening-looking “enemy” or starts a real war, or of course both (as has happened in the USA). Both an arms race and a real war are absolutely wonderful occasions for the sale of arms and also of the replacements for the arms which have been used up in the process or (during the arms race) “have become obsolete”. And when looking at the USA’s ongoing “war on terror”, the only thing which the armament industry really has to fear is a clear victory (because that might end war). It is the present state which is near ideal: huge amounts of expensive material are used up, the losses of American lives are very moderate (and anyway mostly concern so-called “white trash”), losses of non-American lives do simply not interest, and the profits are rolling in.
Less nationalist-minded people may call this “madness”. After all the method is reducing whole societies to rubble, killing large numbers of (admittedly non-American) people and anyway using up astronomical amounts of money which could be used for MUCH better purposes. But what to do? What has, so far, come to my mind is that one should (a) publicly analyze all that usual war propaganda (what EVIDENCE does Theresa May REALLY have for her so very loud accusations against the Russian government?), (b) spread the above analysis of “war as a market” (preferably WITH a reference to “1984”) as fast and as far as possible, and (c) promote the idea of discouraging the US Military-Industrial Complex by BOYCOTTING it as far as ever possible; admittedly also European (and presumably also Russian and Chinese) producers of weapons will dream of war as a market, but in the societies in which (or the governments under which) they work the idea that the money could well be used for better purposes is still rather much alive, so that there is much less of a danger that the idea of war as a market might outgrow any other consideration.