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Ukraine war: the business with death

by Frank Haubold Thursday, Sep. 07, 2023 at 11:29 PM

State-sponsored arms shipments cause corporate profits to skyrocket. That warlike conflicts boost the business of arms corporations is a well-known fact, but never in recent history have Western arms firms and corporations been able to enrich themselves so shamelessly from human suffering as in the Ukraine conflict.

Ukraine war: the business with death

by Frank Haubold

[This article posted on 9/6/2023 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

State-sponsored arms shipments cause corporate profits to skyrocket. That warlike conflicts boost the business of arms corporations is a well-known fact, but never in recent history have Western arms firms and corporations been able to enrich themselves so shamelessly from human suffering as in the Ukraine conflict. By Dr. Frank Haubold[*].

What is sold to the public as an act of solidarity and charity, namely the delivery of weapons to a war zone, is in reality a huge economic stimulus package for the arms industry and the corporations behind it.

One example of this is the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine, which was heavily promoted by politicians and the media. No relevant military benefit of the alleged "gamechanger" has been discernible so far (shots of shot-up examples of the tank are now flooding the Internet), but the share price of the manufacturer Rheinmetall has risen from around 85 euros in 2021 to almost 250 euros in the meantime, i.e. it has tripled as a result of the Ukraine conflict.

"Well, fine," some will now object. "First, Ukraine needs weapons to defend itself, and second, it's good for the German economy when companies generate profits." The fact that these profits are tax-financed, because Ukraine will not be able to pay for even one tank in the foreseeable future, is the first point that speaks against it; the second is no less explosive, because the profits flow directly into the pockets of the shareholders, and most of them are not based in Germany. In the case of Rheinmetall, the main shareholders are Wellington Management Co. LLP (based in Boston, USA), Capital Research & Management Co. (based in Los Angeles, USA), Fidelity Management & Research Co. LLC (based in Boston, USA) and so it goes on. Thus, German taxpayers' money flows directly into the pockets of the U.S. financial industry via the rising share prices of local defense companies!

The situation is similar with the big players in the arms business, for example Lockheed Martin with a stock market value of 104 billion euros (Rheinmetall: 10.8 billion euros), the manufacturer of the HIMARS missile launchers and Javelin anti-tank missiles supplied to Ukraine. In the wake of the Ukraine conflict, the share price here rose from around 300 to 415 euros (+38 percent). The shareholders include all the big players in the financial business, from State Street Corp. and the Vanguard Group to Mr. Merz's former employer BlackRock.

Where there is a lot of money to be made from arms supplies, the United Kingdom is naturally not to be left out. Here, the arms company BAE Systems dominates, supplying Ukraine with massive numbers of M777 howitzers, almost as many of which are destroyed by the Russians on a daily basis. This boosts business, so that the company's share price rose from just under 7 euros in 2021 to 12 euros in the meantime (+71 percent). Relevant shareholders here also include Capital Research & Management Co. (see above), the Vanguard Group and BlackRock.

These are just three examples of defense companies whose profits are predominantly diverted to U.S. corporations, which also explains why the U.K. and the U.S. have no interest whatsoever in a negotiated solution to the Ukraine conflict. Every day that the fighting continues in Ukraine, with rockets and shells being fired and soldiers being killed, puts tens of millions of dollars into the pockets of the shareholders. Why should they do without, especially since they can be sure of the support of politicians and the media, who successfully convince the public that this conflict is about democracy, self-determination and human rights?

In his song "Masters of War," the young Bob Dylan drew an apt portrait of the actors in the background. But unlike in Vietnam, today it is no longer one's own people who are fighting for oneself, but, as in this case, the Ukrainians, whose fate is not even remotely interested in the corporate world.

"But Russia invaded Ukraine," you might object, and that is true under international law. But this war has a history that, unfortunately, hardly anyone is interested in. The U.S. invested billions in the preparation of a regime change in Ukraine, which was then accomplished in 2012 with the storming of the parliament by right-wing nationalist militias. Mr. Steinmeier, who today advocates the delivery of outlawed cluster munitions to Ukraine, had at the time (like the foreign ministers of France and Poland) been a patron of an agreement between the elected Yanukovych government and the Ukrainian opposition that was simply thrown in the wastebasket after the violent storming of parliament. This (apparently planned) breach of word by the Europeans, along with U.S. influence, was the source of all evil, because the anti-Russian policies of the nationalists in Kiev were bound to break the fragile multi-ethnic Ukraine sooner and later.

In the meantime, the U.S. (and China as an observer) are holding their stomachs in laughter as they watch the Europeans, and Germany in particular, permanently ruin relations with Russia, drive their own economy (with the exception of the arms industry) and energy supply against the wall, and transfer billions of euros in taxpayers' money to Kiev, where it not infrequently seeps away into dark channels. Appropriately, it is arms lobbyists like Ms. Strack-Zimmermann and Russophobic agitators like Roderich Kiesewetter who dominate the public debate in this country and not the negotiation proposal of ex-NATO General Harald Kujat and security expert Horst Teltschik. The "Masters of War" can only be pleased.

["*] Dr. Frank Haubold was born in 1955 in Frankenberg/Saxony. After graduating from high school and completing his military service, he studied information technology at the Technical University of Dresden and earned his doctorate at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He worked for 35 years in various positions in the health care sector. Since 1989 he has been writing novels and stories of various genres and is also active as a journalist.

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