War and Peace – Who benefits from a War?
“I sit on a man’s back choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that i am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all means possible….except by getting off his back.”
— Leo Tolstoy
The greatest of all paradoxes is the riddle of human nature. We humans are capable of immense love and sensitivity but we have also been capable of greed, hatred, brutality, rape, murder and war. This duality of what has historically been referred to as ‘good’ and ‘evil’ has troubled the human mind since we first became fully conscious, thinking beings: are humans essentially ‘good’ and, if so, what is the cause of our ‘evil’, destructive, insensitive and cruel side?
The eternal question has been why ‘evil’? In metaphysical religious terms, what is ‘the origin of sin’? More generally, if the universally accepted ideals are to be cooperative, loving and selfless—ideals that have been accepted by modern civilizations as the foundations for constitutions and laws and by the founders of all the great religions as the basis of their teachings—then why are humans competitive, aggressive and selfish?
Must we prepare for another global conflict or can we choose instead the lasting peace?
Who benefits from a war ?
Any war is extremely costly. In case of financing any war, the transactions are handled by governments. The money comes from taxpayers.
But who benefits from a war.
And who Controls all of our money?
Governments are not abstract entities; they are composed of small number of people who make decisions affecting life of millions of other people. Often decision of one dictator or president result in death of millions of people.
Note: the “military industrial complex” is not an abstract entity – there are specific people who in the end increase their personal fortunes.
Example: Iraq War profiteers
One of the top profiteers from the Iraq War was oil field services corporation, Halliburton.
Halliburton gained $39.5 billion in “federal contracts related to the Iraq war”.
Many individuals have asserted that there were profit motives for the Bush-Cheney administration to invade Iraq in 2003.
The population of U.S. in 2020 was 331,002,651, a 0.59% increase from 2019.
Military budget of the United States
For Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021), the Department of Defense’s discretionary budget authority is approximately $705.39 billion ($705,390,000,000).
Mandatory spending of $10.77 billion, the Department of Energy and defense-related spending of $37.335 billion added up to
the total FY 2021 Defense budget of $753.5 billion.
$753.5 billion = $753,5000,000,000
How much tax money U.S. government spent for military purpose per person in 2021?
Imagine potential progress and prosperity if each year 750 billion dollars were spent on making life of US citizens better ( housing, education, jobs, infrastructure, health etc. )
Spending for Peace vs Spending for War
“There is a large gap between what countries are prepared to allocate for military means to provide security and maintain their global and regional power status, on the one hand, and to alleviate poverty and promote economic development, on the other.” –SIPRI
While the UN is not perfect and has many internal issues that need addressing, it is revealing that the world can spend so much on their military but contribute so little to the goals of global security, international cooperation and peace. Indeed, compare the military spending with the entire budget of the United Nations:
The United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $30 billion each year, or about $4 for each of the world’s inhabitants. This is a very small sum compared to most government budgets and it is less than 3% of the world’s military spending. — , Global Policy Forum (accessed July 7, 2010)
World military expenditure is estimated to have been US$1981 billion in 2020. Total spending was 2.6 per cent higher than in 2019 and 9.3 per cent higher than in 2011.
The global military burden—world military expenditure as a share of world gross domestic product (GDP)—rose by 0.2 percentage points in 2020, to 2.4 per cent. This was the biggest increase in military burden since the global financial and economic crisis in 2009.
Military spending increased in at least four of the world’s five regions: by 5.1 per cent in Africa, 4.0 per cent in Europe, 3.9 per cent in the Americas and 2.5 per cent in Asia and Oceania. For the sixth successive year SIPRI cannot provide an estimate of total spending in the Middle East.
The largest military spenders in 2020 The growth in total spending in 2020 was largely influenced by expenditure patterns in the United States and China. The USA increased its military spending for the third straight year to reach $778 billion in 2020, a 4.4 per cent increase since 2019 but a 10 percent decrease since 2011. Budget items that contributed to this recent growth include research and development, upgrading of the US nuclear arsenal and large-scale arms acquisitions.
China’s military expenditure is estimated at $252 billion in 2020, representing an increase of 1.9 per cent since 2019 and 76 per cent since 2011. Chinese spending has risen for 26 consecutive years—the longest streak of uninterrupted increases by any country in the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database. Since the Chinese economy managed to rebound fairly quickly from pandemic-related restrictions, the
country is likely to be one of the few that is able to fund a continued increase in military spending without an increase in its military burden.
India’s spending of $72.9 billion, an increase of 2.1 per cent in 2020, ranked it as the third highest spender in the world.
Russia’s total military spending was $61.7 billion. This was 2.5 per cent higher than in 2019, but 6.6 per cent lower than the initial budget for 2020, reflecting the far-reaching economic consequences of Covid-19. The gap in spending included a shortfall of around $1 billion probably linked to the State Armament Programme.
The fifth biggest spender, the United Kingdom, raised its military expenditure by 2.9 per cent in 2020. This was the UK’s second highest annual growth rate in the period 2011–20, a decade that until 2017 was characterized by military spending cuts
Since 1942, every American president has used military force without a declaration of war
Since WWII there were at least 40 U.S. military involvements without declaration of war.
Notice that none of these wars involved the USA territory. – Source: wikipedia
PS The Ukraine War
Is it possible to have Peace on Earth?
There is no fire like greed, No crime like hatred, No sorrow like separation, No sickness like hunger of heart, And no joy like the joy of freedom. Health, contentment and trust are your greatest possessions, and freedom your greatest joy. Look within. Be still. Free from fear and attachment, Know the sweet joy of living in the way. – Buddha
If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself.
The more prohibitions you have,
the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
the less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
the less self-reliant people will be.
Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes common as grass.
– Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching
translation by S. Mitchell