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Why NATO Weapons Are Way Overpriced.

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Date: Saturday, 15 June 2024

Why NATO Weapons Are Way Overpriced

Eric Zuesse (blogs at

The war in Ukraine is being fought on NATO’s (the U.S.) side with NATO weapons and ammunition, and on Russia’s side with Russian weapons and ammunition. The majority of commentators say that, thus far, Russia has the advantage. No one is blaming Ukraine’s soldiers for this. On the NATO side, there is silence about whether its weaponry and ammunition are performing less effectively than Russia’s weaponry and ammunition — which cost far less.

The U.S. Government alone spends annually over $1.5 trillion on its military but hides much of that spending by paying for it in other federal Departments than the “Defense Department” so that the public won’t know that over half of all spending that the U.S. Government (President and Congress) authorize each year goes actually to its military — only less than half of it goes to pay for education, healthcare, and the other necessary goods and services to the benefit of the nation’s domestic population, America’s citizenry. It is a military operation, even more than it is an operation to serve the citizenry. That’s a fact, not an opinion, about the U.S. Government — but it is a hidden fact (as that link above documents to be true).

The official U.S. Government spending on its military is only what is being paid out of its Defense Department, which is now around $900 billion per year (vastly more than any other nation’s). However, over $600 billion more per year is spent, each year, on America’s military, that’s not being counted in the official ‘defense’ (actually aggression) figure (over and above that $900B amount). No other country except possibly China now (in order to prepare for war with the U.S. so as to prevent a U.S. take-over of China’s Taiwan Province) hides its excessive military spending this way, because none needs to — none is so fat with sheer corruption in its military. Even America’s colonies, such as England, Germany, France, Italy and the rest of NATO, aren’t that corrupt.

The U.S. population are gifted with a perfect national-security situation of more than 3,000 miles of ocean separating them from potential attack by a foreign power, plus only two bordering nations, both of which (Mexico and Canada) are on friendly terms with the U.S. Government. On any rational consideration, therefore, America’s need for national-security expenditures isn’t $1.5T per year but at most only $100B ($100 billion) per year. All the rest, above that sum, is imperial expense, in order to control the entire world for the benefit of its billionaires who control international corporations and who own controlling interests in the giant ‘defense’ firms (which receive the profits from this $1.5T+ of governmental spending each year. Plus, they control the media. So: they also control -- (provide most of the political-campaign ‘donations’ (investments) -- in order to dominate in the funding of political campaigns. Winning in American politics is simply getting the most money from the billionaires to fool the voters to vote for you.) They call that ‘democracy’. And the most profitable side of it, after the Soviet Union ended in 1991 and there was no longer any real need for it, is the massive armaments industry. Consequently, America’s approximately $1.4T excess military spending per year has now built up a $35T federal debt, which will have to be paid off by future generations of U.S. ‘citizens’ (subjects). But, for the billionaires, it’s enormously profitable, and so it keeps on building.

A look at the world’s “TOP 100 Defense Companies” shows that 6 of the top 10 are in U.S (Lockheed, RTX Raytheon, Northrop, Boeing, General Dynamics, and L3Harris), 3 are in China, and 1 is in England. 43 of the remaining 90 are also in U.S. Therefore, 49 of the top 100 are in America. This is what comes from being a country that spends over $1.5 trillion annually on its military.

How exceptional is this? Astoundingly: The SIPRI or Stockholm International Peace Research Institute annual military-expense rankings, show U.S. as #1 in 2023 spending, at $916 billion (SIPRI ignores the U.S. military spending that’s outside of the official Defense Department), and then #2 China at “[296]” where the brackets mean “estimated” and so that it’s $296B ‘estimated’; and they show #3 Russia at “[109]” or estimated $109B/year. Those dollar-figures are “US dollars, at current prices and exchange rates” and are NOT at Purchasing Power Parity, which would have indicated far more accurately for international comparison purposes. However, nonetheless, China’s GDP (without any adjustment for PPP) “was 126,058.2 billion yuan in 2023”; and if China that year spent on its military $296B that year, when China’s GDP was around $17.75T, then that $296B would have been one-sixtieth, 1/60, times China’s GDP that year; it would have been 1.7% of the nation’s total output. By contrast, America’s (actual) at least $1.5T military spending is the military portion from a U.S. GDP of $27.36T, or 5.5% of U.S. total output during 2023. (Though China has higher GDP PPP per year than America, it still has lower unadjusted GDP per year than America.) America’s 5.5% that goes to its military is almost entirely wasted since the country’s appropriate military expenses would be only around $100B/year, but China’s estimated 1.7% of its national output that goes toward its military when the U.S. is trying to grab from China its Taiwan Province, might be far short of being what is actually needed.

The situation in Russia is even more-extreme underspending as compared to America’s (corruption-laden) $1.5T/year military expenditure. SIPRI’s $109B/year estimate would be out of a much smaller national economy than China’s, Russia’s. To estimate this, one might refer to the “World Economics” site, which specializes in getting around the U.S. empire’s too-often-rigged economic journalism about countries that the U.S. empire treats as enemies. The World Economics article “Russia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP)” goes straight to GDP PPP and says that “World Economics has developed a database presenting GDP in Purchasing Power Parity terms with added estimates for the size of the informal economy and adjustments for out-of-date GDP base year data. World Economics estimates Russia's GDP to be $8.008 trillion - 38% larger than official estimates.” They rate the reliability of U.S.-and-allied nations’ economic numbers about their own country “A: As good as it gets” but believe to be unreliable and rate both Russia’s and China’s, as being “C: Use with caution,” but not because they overstate their performance, but instead because they systematically understate it. (China might be doing that in order not to alarm their public about the recent sharp increases in its military spending.) 

However that may be, there can be no question about the U.S. Government’s, and SIPRI’s, systematic and gross understatement of America’s annual military expenses: the most trustworthy person who reports on America’s annual military expenses is Winslow T. Wheeler, and he has expained in detail from the U.S. Government’s own basic numbers, how much America spends each year on its military.

Further as regards SIPRI’s number of a $109B/year estimate for Russia: if that is out of Russia’s reported $2T/year GDP, it is 5.45% of GDP, but if it is out of a Russian GDP PPP of 8T/year, it is 1.36% of that. I can hardly believe that Russia, which is fighting against almost the entire U.S. empire (NATO) in Ukraine, can be spending only 1.36% of its national outut on its military; so, for this, at least, I would accept that it is 5.45% out of a $2T GDP.

Given how much waste (corruption, basically) there is in America’s military spending, it seems quite feasible that Russia might beat almost the entire U.S. empire in the battlefields of Ukraine by spending only $109B/year to do that. Thus far, it’s been happening.

As regards China: The Texas National Security Review headlined in its Summer 2024 issue, “Estimating China’s Defense Spending: How to Get It Wrong (and Right)” and argued that, “According to our calculation, China will spend an estimated $471 billion on defense in 2024, or around 36 percent of comparable U.S. defense spending of about $1.3 trillion in 2024.” Also, their footnote 3 says “The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, estimates [China’s] spending for 2022 to be 27 percent higher than the official figures for that year, while the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), The Military Balance 2022, puts the figure for 2021 at 33 percent higher than the official figure.” It is true that SIPRI and IISS, which ignore the annual American $600B+ of military spending that’s being paid out from other federal Departments than the Defense Department, try to inflate both China’s and Russia’s annual military spendings, so as to hide the intense corruptness of the U.S. empire’s Government’s military and be able to accuse China’s and Russia’s Governments of being corrupt. The article cites many neoconservatives, especially in the U.S. Government (which is almost 100% that) to support its argument, basically, that America needs to become even more wasteful than it already is on ‘defense’.

There is one overriding reason why Russia’s (and maybe even China’s) military, costs less than a tenth of America’s (which hardly even needs any “standing army” or large military, at all — and certainly none of America’s 900 foreign military bases — the wastage is massive), and each of the two is a “peer competitor” that might be superior to America’s on the fields of battle; and this overriding reason for America’s astounding military wastefulness is:

Because in both Russia and China the manufacturers for the military — the firms whose only (or nearly only) market is their own Government — are majority-owned by that Government (whose top priority is the nation’s security — its ability to win against any invader) instead of by outside investors (whose sole priority is to produce maximum profits to themselves), they’re not designed for corruption (getting more than they should — ripping-off the public) as the U.S.-and-allied militaries are. The U.S.-and-‘allied’ system (equating ‘free market capitalism’ with ‘democracy’ by lying about both) is designed to yet further enrich the rich, at the expense to the public (who are forced to pay for it, to the Government, which buys those weapons from the billionaires’ firms, and thereby produces those profits to them) — and this is not democracy, but aristocracy, by the super-rich, against everyone else.

All of NATO, and all of America’s other colonies, likewise have only privately funded (by private investors) armaments firms, not ones that are controlled by and majority-owned by the Government itself; and thus they are fascist-imperialist; and no fascist-imperialist Government is any good for its public, who are its subjects to be exploited, instead of (as such regimes claim) its citizens to be served. It’s merely a money-funnel, from the poor to the rich, and is based on lies — deceits against the public, instead of actually serving the public.

Alexander Mercouris’s 14 June 2024 commentary “Putin’s Kiev Ultimatum” provides in its first 40 minutes a good and thorough description of where things are at now in the war in Ukraine between the U.S. and Russia. His basic argument is that, and why, even though Putin has now made clear that he is willing to do a deal — which Putin on that day described publicly for the very first time (and the archived versions of it will be here, but maybe not shown complete until the next day), and which would greatly benefit all of NATO, and also Ukraine, and also Russia — it will almost certainly be rejected by America and therefore by all of its colonies (including by Ukraine’s government). This war can actually end now with a peaceful win-win-win result for all three, but Mercouris believes that the U.S. Government’s determination to defeat Russia will block that from happening. That peaceful win-win-win end would stop the most enormous gravy-train ever for America’s military-industrial complex (the owning and controlling billionaires); and Mercouris thinks that they and their President will therefore turn it down with contempt. Anyway, you can judge it for yourself.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s latest book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

ሓይልን ጽባቐን ኤርትራዊት ጓል ኣንስተይቲ - መንእሰያት ደቂ ኣንስትዮ ሳዋ | Walta EDF TV show for July 14, 2024 - ERi-TV

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