The EU’s Military Buildup, or the Great Reset by Other Means
On the basis of Russia’s alleged threat to the Western world as a whole, NATO member countries have announced substantial increases in military expenditures. On the most spectacular end of the range, the extra defense spending in Germany will amount this year to twice the size of the annual national defense budget, a €100 billion increase, while the Italian government plans to increase by 50% (€12 billion) its military expenditures this year. Altogether, it is estimated that America’s European allies could spend an extra €300-plus billion.
This is an impressive amount of money. The question is what the actual benefit will be, and when. Particularly in Germany, there is a huge backlog in the maintenance of military hardware, that has been heavily looted to avoid investments. New military equipment only exists on the drawing boards of engineers, while their development and testing will take years.
Therefore, contrary to what official announcements suggest, the EU’s defense capabilities are unlikely to improve much before the end of this decade. If some military hardware is needed right away, those countries will have to purchase it from the United States. And indeed, it seems that the Americans will get some €15 billion of what Germany intends to spend to pay for F-35 jets. One can assume that a good deal of the added expenditures in other European countries will also benefit the infamous military-industrial-financial complex in the U.S.. Those sums will also feed the giant bubble of unproductive investments, while boosting the planned “shifting of trillions” of dollars into the Green Deal.
That is emphatically also the case for the EU, which is being pressured to include military spending in its taxonomy of “sustainable” investments. To quote Bloomberg News of March 13 on the issue: “Russia’s war on Ukraine has given birth to a once unthinkable idea as the defense industry – long frowned on by sustainable investors — is recast by some as a tool for preserving democracy. SEB AB, one of Sweden’s biggest banks and a pioneer in the field of green bonds, recently said it was updating its sustainable investing policy to make room for weapons. And Commerzbank AG has said its doors are wide open to Germany’s arms manufacturers, many of whom said earlier this year they struggled to get funding.”
The Bloomberg article further notes that arms industry lobbyists are urging EU policy makers to include weapons in a so-called social taxonomy, and “there are signs some EU decision makers are listening.”
At the same time, Europe’s populations are told to expect deep cuts in living standards, under the cynical pretext of “living with less to protect freedom and democracy”. A front page lead editorial in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on March 16 is indicative of the media campaign: under the headline “The Hour of Truth”, the editorial board wrote that the extra €100 billion for defense spending must not by financed by loans, but by taking an ax to the “excessive” social budgets.
And the ugly word “rationing” is being heard again in Europe. From Italy, the former president of the BCE, Prime Minister Mario Draghi, stated unabashedly on March 18 that “if things get worse, we should enter a logic of rationing”.