MINNEAPOLIS— Last week, Taiwan issued a rare public comment announcing its plans to continue buying U.S.-made weapons, stating that the purchases are helping to boost the U.S. economy. The Taiwanese government elaborated, stating that its military purchases “have boosted the local economy” of several states, but particularly benefited the U.S.’ largest arms manufacturers: Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Taiwan’s recent comments parallel those of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who stated last February that Japan needs to import more U.S. defense equipment in order to help create more jobs in the U.S. – a peculiar comment, given the dire state of Japan’s own economy. Like Taiwan, Japan has long been a loyal customer for the U.S. defense industry, especially since Abe came to power in 2012.
Japan’s militarization efforts are set to benefit U.S. arms corporations like never before, with plans to purchase an unknown number of Tomahawk cruise missiles from Raytheon. The missiles are valued at over $1 million each. Japan’s alleged motivation for the purchases is said to differ from Taiwan’s, as Japan insists that increasing its military strength is necessary given its strained relations with North Korea.
U.S. weapon manufacturers have been big winners due to the ongoing tensions surrounding the Korean Peninsula. Lockheed Martin’s stock prices received a noticeable boost after the U.S. deployed a THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) missile system in South Korea in late April, a system manufactured by Lockheed.
Raytheon has also seen its stock soar since tensions reached fresh highs in the beginning of this month, jumping nearly $7 per share just in the first two weeks of May. Only Boeing has seen its stock fall in recent weeks. However, this owes to a problem with its commercial products and not its military endeavors.
Some thought the military-industrial gravy train would be derailed by the election of South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-In, who vowed to take a diplomatic approach to his nation’s northern neighbor. But during a Wednesday phone call, Moon told U.S. President Donald Trump about his plans to closely cooperate in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program. Moon also has yet to call for the removal of the THAAD system, which he criticized during his campaign.
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It has long been known that U.S. defense purchases are deeply tied to diplomacy, creating a long-term partnership between the United States and the purchasing country.
As Andrew Shapiro, the former U.S. assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs told reporters in 2012: “When a country buys an advanced U.S. defense system through our foreign military sales, direct commercial sales or foreign military financing programs, they aren’t simply buying a product. They are also seeking a partnership with the United States. These programs both reinforce our diplomatic relations and establish a long-term security relationship.”
MintPress recently reported that the overarching goal behind the militarization of the U.S.’ Asian allies like Japan and Taiwan is not so much focused on those nations’ regional security as much as U.S. desire to “engage and contain” Beijing. Many of the U.S.’ recent moves in the region that have ostensibly been targeted at Pyongyang have drawn harsh rebukes from China.
By increasing the number of arms held by U.S. allies surrounding China, these allies will accomplish the goals of U.S. war hawks like Hillary Clinton, who stated privately that the U.S. would “ring China with missile defense” if the Chinese government did nothing to curb North Korea’s nuclear program.
Despite casting himself as the antithesis to Clinton during the campaign, Trump’s foreign policy regarding China and the Korean Peninsula seem to be a carbon copy to that once voiced by the former Secretary of State, with the U.S. defense industry set to profit off of it all.
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