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Thread: The Military–Industrial complex

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    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    The Military–Industrial complex

    Hard to know where to put this topic. So apologises if I got it wrong But seeing As Eisenhower was a US President and military leader ....

    In President Eisenhower's last speech he said,

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

    I was interested in what your thoughts were on that comment. Which it has to be said came from a man that witnessed and was in part instrumental in the birth of America as a military super power.

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    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    He had a cogent point. We have to be careful to strike the right balance with military spending and acquisition programs.

    When looking at acquisition programs for complex things like submarines or aircraft, you have to strike the appropriate balance in the number and rate that they are acquired. If you don't buy enough or leave too big a gap in purchases, the industry that can supply them will dry up and you will lose decades of institutional knowledge and experience. If this happens, when you need new submarines again in 30 years you'll have to spend a ton of time and money to rebuild the industry before they can even start producing submarines again, then you'll have to deal with all the mistakes and defects that happen as a result of inexperience.

    On the other hand, you don't want to buy to buy 15,000 tanks that will never be used just to keep a senator with a tank factory in his district happy with low unemployment rates. Resources allocated to the military above and beyond what is really required are detrimental because those are resources that can't be used more efficiently on domestic programs that will provide more benefit to the nation.

    So you have to strike the right balance of buying enough tanks that the factory stays in the tank making business instead of switching to tractors, but without buying so many that you don't know what to do with them. You'll see several tricks to try to accomplish this balance, such as buying submarines at a rate of 2 per year for the next 20 years. We might really prefer to buy 40 submarines over the next 5 years and then not buy them again for a few decades but that would force the only shipyards capable of producing them to move on to making other things instead.

    It is wasteful to buy equipment this way, but less so than rebuilding industry every few decades. It also provides insurance against quickly deteriorating political situations. If you suddenly need as many submarines as you can build and as quickly as possible due to a war, it's far easier to expand existing production facilities with experienced personnel that can train new hires.

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    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    He had a cogent point. We have to be careful to strike the right balance with military spending and acquisition programs.

    When looking at acquisition programs for complex things like submarines or aircraft, you have to strike the appropriate balance in the number and rate that they are acquired. If you don't buy enough or leave too big a gap in purchases, the industry that can supply them will dry up and you will lose decades of institutional knowledge and experience. If this happens, when you need new submarines again in 30 years you'll have to spend a ton of time and money to rebuild the industry before they can even start producing submarines again, then you'll have to deal with all the mistakes and defects that happen as a result of inexperience.

    On the other hand, you don't want to buy to buy 15,000 tanks that will never be used just to keep a senator with a tank factory in his district happy with low unemployment rates. Resources allocated to the military above and beyond what is really required are detrimental because those are resources that can't be used more efficiently on domestic programs that will provide more benefit to the nation.

    So you have to strike the right balance of buying enough tanks that the factory stays in the tank making business instead of switching to tractors, but without buying so many that you don't know what to do with them. You'll see several tricks to try to accomplish this balance, such as buying submarines at a rate of 2 per year for the next 20 years. We might really prefer to buy 40 submarines over the next 5 years and then not buy them again for a few decades but that would force the only shipyards capable of producing them to move on to making other things instead.
    Heavy lies the crown!

    It is wasteful to buy equipment this way, but less so than rebuilding industry every few decades. It also provides insurance against quickly deteriorating political situations. If you suddenly need as many submarines as you can build and as quickly as possible due to a war, it's far easier to expand existing production facilities with experienced personnel that can train new hires.
    As a proud Brit, I deeply apologise for the weaponising of American industry and all its consequences. Unfortunately we had no choice, as we were dealing at the time with a Tyrant. Regardless of what anybody says...Germans / Japanese fight just as bravely as any Russian, Brit, American, Indian etc the deciding factor in our war against Germany was production and logistics. Unfortunately in Piling the entire wealth of the British empire into arms production we collectively unleashed an unparalleled power. Which to this day has been ill at ease with its own might.... How do you say sorry and thank you at the same time?

    Heavy lies the crown!
    Last edited by Toby; 10 Mar 17, at 23:09.

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    [Mod Edit: You don't need to post the same video in multiple threads. Thank you]
    Last edited by TopHatter; 12 Apr 17, at 16:39.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitaryMuseums View Post
    [Mod Edit: You don't need to post the same video in multiple threads. Thank you]
    Don't see why its an issue if the video is relevant to both threads....

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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitaryMuseums View Post
    Don't see why its an issue if the video is relevant to both threads....
    Before posting further, you might want to read here:

    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showthread.php?t=2232
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Hard to know where to put this topic. So apologises if I got it wrong But seeing As Eisenhower was a US President and military leader ....

    In President Eisenhower's last speech he said,

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

    I was interested in what your thoughts were on that comment. Which it has to be said came from a man that witnessed and was in part instrumental in the birth of America as a military super power.
    Eisenhower was right, and ever-increasing degrees of unwarranted influence has been acquired in the decades since he made that statement.

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    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    Eisenhower was right, and ever-increasing degrees of unwarranted influence has been acquired in the decades since he made that statement.
    He seems to have had a real insight into the workings of industry. I think we saw this happen in Germany also. That didn't go well either.

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    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    He seems to have had a real insight into the workings of industry. I think we saw this happen in Germany also. That didn't go well either.
    Well, he was the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. A politician-general and top-level coordinator, really, quite unlike Patton, for example. He had broad situational awareness of all aspects of war, the military, politics, and the military industry even back in the 1940s.

    What Eisenhower witnessed was a failure of the industry to re-trench itself back into a role of simply being a simple manufacturer that fulfilled orders, that was more or less the case pre-war - instead the industry leveraged itself post-war into having a high degree of political influence.

    Today, the DC metro system, for example, especially in proximity to the Pentagon, is completely plastered with all types of Lockheed/Boeing/BAE/Raytheon etc. advertisements - I'm just going to call it what it is - propaganda posters. The defense employees making purchasing decisions get a healthy dose of propaganda each day on their way to and from work - from the companies they're purchasing from. Usually there's something in the posters about how patriotic these companies are, interspersed with such things as sleek looking pictures of their products, depictions of US service members in front of/handling their products, etc. There's almost always an American flag in the posters as well.

    The 1st Amendment technically allows these type of posters - but it is what it is. Things like this are a very uncomfortable truth.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 20 Apr 17, at 08:06.

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    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Unfortunately in Piling the entire wealth of the British empire into arms production we collectively unleashed an unparalleled power. Which to this day has been ill at ease with its own might.... How do you say sorry and thank you at the same time?

    Heavy lies the crown!
    The United States had the potential to exceed the British Empire in power by the dawn of the 1890s. Even in the 1865 the United States could have kicked the British out of North America if it had wished - with ease. I am saying this, because I think you are overstating/misstating both the relevance and the degree to which the British were a factor in certain matters.

    The United States had a visceral avoidance with regards to acting like European nations for the most part - Europe being a continent constantly at war with various degrees of despotism, monarchy, etc. The US was cognizant of European history, and decided to simply inwardly focus for the most part on developing its own economy, agriculture, infrastructure, growth, etc. - basically establishing itself as an alternate, anti-Europe, recreating a New Europe, in a new continent, hoping to do so with none of the bad things and all of the good things.

    Britain didn't weaponize the United States - the United States simply made a calculation that if the rest of the world were lost to the Nazis and Imperial Japanese - it would not be in a good position. It was in our self-interest to aid Britain and even the Soviet Union because if they fell, 80% of the world would be dominated by forces diametrically opposed to American ideals. It wouldn't then be long before the 80% - the Old World conquered by Germany and Japan - prevailed against the remaining 20% - the New World.

    Even the idea of a special relationship with Britain, language and historical-based kinship, and even "Uncle Joe" in Russia was simply to make our aid and eventual entry into the war palatable to an American population that still had visceral tendencies toward avoidance of Old World affairs from the 1770s-1940s.

    Britain simply exhausted itself during World War II, and could no longer maintain its Empire. France was defeated in 1940, and post-war attempted to re-assert a degree of control, experiencing failure in Syria, Lebanon, Indochina, and Algeria, but success in West Africa. The United States never saw eye to eye with Britain and France regarding imperialism, but could not allow a vacuum to be created that would be potentially filled by unsavory actors such as the Soviets.

    That brings us to where we are today. The United States with its foreign policy is still trying to fill the various pieces of vacuum that exists to this very day, that started with the fall of the British and French Empires, with varying degrees of success and failure. Sometimes the United States happens to "whoops, I broke it" and creates a new vacuum.

    It is not a case of Britain "weaponizing" America - it's a case of Britain and France experiencing failure of Empire and the vacuum that was created. Only the Soviets truly had capability of alternately filling this vacuum for much of post-war history. A race emerged between Soviets and the US to fill the vacuum - now China, Putinine Russia, and the EU (both collectively and individually) have emerged as the major actors competing over the vacuum.

    The US defers to various European countries regarding filling the vacuum in certain areas - especially with regards to the French in West Africa. The US has filled the vacuum left by the British in the Gulf - successfully except that Iran was lost in 1979. Iraq and Syria are British/French vacuum that were filled with pro-Soviet dictatorships - and are now vacuum again. Libya was Italian vacuum filled with another pro-Soviet dictatorship, now it's a vacuum again. Vietnam was French vacuum that we attempted to fill, it ended up filling itself with a Communist regime - but now with the old Soviet Union gone and China becoming a geopolitical adversary, Vietnam is aligning closer to a pro-US, pro-East Asian democracy foreign policy.

    So, again, this isn't a case of Britain unleashing a weaponized America on the world. America has acted in the ways it has due to the failures of the British and French Empires, and the worse alternatives that would fill the vacuum of these Empires, sometimes making mistakes along the way. I will say though - the United States is the unintentional successor state to the British Empire, and the successor in the Great Game that was waged between the Russians and British for two hundred years. It is really more of an accident of history than anything else.

    The United States never asked for or sought this role, it simply had no choice. If the United States did not act to fill the vacuum that emerged after World War II - the Soviets would have filled all of it. The US and Europe sought to democratize and stabilize Russia as a member of the group of liberal democracies in the 1990s - but Russian economic failures, the failures of Western advice and aid, and the "poaching" of former Russian subject/satellite states alienated Russia and led to the rise of Putin. So, the Great Game is back, with China being a wild card.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 20 Apr 17, at 09:02.

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    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Well answered. I don't believe we did weaponize the US, but it was a good way to trigger a response (eventually) ;-) .

    We did however convince various American factories to switch to arms production prior to the the US entering the war.

    The British empire was built on trade. It was a corporate/maritime empire built on the same lines as the Venetian one, Primarily kick started by the East India company.
    Over the course of two world wars we basically exhausted our resources and bankrupted ourselves. The US was a beneficiary of this wealth as it was the only nation to end the second world war richer than it entered it.

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    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    We did however convince various American factories to switch to arms production prior to the the US entering the war.
    Well - it doesn't take much convincing. As long as the US government legally signs off on arms exports - US companies will manufacture anything you want - profit motive, capitalism. This has always been the case in the United States - from the 1780s through the 1930s/40s through today. "Show me the money."

    If the US government signed off on it - which it never will - I'm sure US manufacturers would even gladly export nuclear warheads to any pre-authorized buyer.

    The British empire was built on trade. It was a corporate/maritime empire built on the same lines as the Venetian one, Primarily kick started by the East India company.
    True.

    Over the course of two world wars we basically exhausted our resources and bankrupted ourselves. The US was a beneficiary of this wealth as it was the only nation to end the second world war richer than it entered it.
    The problem with the British Empire is that the metropole (Britain) made an enormous mistake that was several hundred years in the making - becoming completely dependent on imports of raw materials and food from the Empire, and exporting manufactured goods to the Empire and to anybody else who would buy them.

    Many times in British history - this strategy caused major economic devastation when peacetime ended and wartime began, or unforeseen factors emerged - the Grain Riots of the 1830s, the Irish potato famine, World War I, and World War II come immediately to mind.

    Not a bad strategy in peacetime - but there has been severe blowback many times in British history, and ultimately, terminal blowback after World War II that killed the Empire.

    An example post-war - the Royal Navy's decision to choose a strategy of near-absolute dependency on Persian oil became the motivation for the overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953 - which caused severe blowback in 1979, long after Britain receded from being a major player in the Middle East, and it was the United States as the successor of the British Empire that the blowback affected the most.

    Britain wanted a gas station in Persia at a middle point in what remained of its Empire in 1953 - very short-sighted as the eventual fall of the British Empire, the mothballing and breaking up of most the Royal Navy, the transition to nuclear powered naval ships and the coming obsolescence of oil, and the availability of limitless supplies of oil from other sources, quickly rendered the original "need" for a coup unnecessary within just a few years.

    Britain didn't need Persian oil - there were virtually infinite supplies available elsewhere - it was an irrational choice to force themselves into a state of dependency by choosing Persia as a gas station, pre-emptively choosing to deny themselves the flexibility to get oil available from many other sources. Blinders, horse.

    For want of a nail - the Persian gas station - ultimately led to the loss of a major non-NATO ally and CENTO. 1953 was a short-sighted, completely unnecessary tragedy - yes, hindsight is 20/20, but I'm sure the British politicians were delusional enough to think what was left of their Empire would last another 200 years even in 1953.

    These are hard, uncomfortable truths I'm speaking here - but I believe that they are nevertheless, true.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 20 Apr 17, at 22:08.

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    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    Well - it doesn't take much convincing. As long as the US government legally signs off on arms exports - US companies will manufacture anything you want - profit motive, capitalism. This has always been the case in the United States - from the 1780s through the 1930s/40s through today. "Show me the money."
    Ah so Nazi Germany received arms supply also?????

    If the US government signed off on it - which it never will - I'm sure US manufacturers would even gladly export nuclear warheads to any pre-authorized buyer.
    Doubt it

    The problem with the British Empire is that the metropole (Britain) made an enormous mistake that was several hundred years in the making
    If it was 700 years in the making it was hardly a mistake..lol

    -
    becoming completely dependent on imports of raw materials and food from the Empire,
    Incorrrect, we're a floating coal barge. The copper and Tin mines were also key to various aspects of building the Empire

    and exporting manufactured goods to the Empire and to anybody else who would buy them.
    Its called Trade...the precursor to Globalisation, something the US can claim credit for off our backs.

    Many times in British history - this strategy caused major economic devastation when peacetime ended and wartime began, or unforeseen factors emerged - the Grain Riots of the 1830s, the Irish potato famine, World War I, and World War II come immediately to mind.
    Still managed to come out on top though, all those trade links did pay off when the shit hit the fan.


    Not a bad strategy in peacetime - but there has been severe blowback many times in British history, and ultimately, terminal blowback after World War II that killed the Empire.
    'Killed' is a bad choice of words..I think you'll find it metamorphosed into a family of nations called the British commonwealth http://thecommonwealth.org/member-countries

    An example post-war - the Royal Navy's decision to choose a strategy of near-absolute dependency on Persian oil
    I In 1914, one month before the First World War, Churchill secured for the British Crown a 51 per cent controlling interest in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company for £2.2 million. His decisions were to assure British naval supremacy.

    became the motivation for the overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953 - which caused severe blowback in 1979, long after Britain receded from being a major player in the Middle East, and it was the United States as the successor of the British Empire that the blowback affected the most.
    Operation Ajax was a CIA operation carried out by President Theodore Roosevelt’s grandson, Kermit Roosevelt. You got blow back from your own meddling.

    Britain wanted a gas station in Persia at a middle point in what remained of its Empire in 1953
    We owned it...

    - very short-sighted as the eventual fall of the British Empire, the mothballing and breaking up of most the Royal Navy, the transition to nuclear powered naval ships
    Apart from Submarines (for obvious reasons) we have never invested in Nuclear powered Warships, never needed to.


    and the coming obsolescence of oil, and the availability of limitless supplies of oil from other sources, quickly rendered the original "need" for a coup unnecessary within just a few years.
    Everybody is clever in hindsight, Still a CIA operation though

    Britain didn't need Persian oil - there were virtually infinite supplies available elsewhere - it was an irrational choice to force themselves into a state of dependency by choosing Persia as a gas station, pre-emptively choosing to deny themselves the flexibility to get oil available from many other sources. Blinders, horse.
    Look up the AIOC..it wasn't Iranian owned, in 1954 it became BP.
    For want of a nail - the Persian gas station - ultimately led to the loss of a major non-NATO ally and CENTO. 1953 was a short-sighted, completely unnecessary tragedy - yes, hindsight is 20/20, but I'm sure the British politicians were delusional enough to think what was left of their Empire would last another 200 years even in 1953.

    These are hard, uncomfortable truths I'm speaking here
    Sorry but many already saw the writing was on the wall, India had already gone at this point

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    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Toby - I'm not really interested in jingoism. I've got to run to the store - so I'll keep it brief.

    Operation Ajax was conducted for the same reason the US supplied the UK during the Falklands War - to support a major US ally and its interests. The CIA intervened primarily on behalf of Britain. American interests were only at stake by proxy - British interests were the ones most directly at stake. That an American Anglophile in a nation allied to Britain intervened on behalf of British interests should be readily apparent if you look in depth at the operation and the motives of the actors who carried out.

    This isn't the first time in history this sort of thing occurred, and it won't be the last. The occurrence of these types of events, in general, in one form or another, to some degree or another, has happened multiple times a day, every single day, throughout human history.

    I will give credit where credit is due - the world, on the balance, is a better place as a result of British imperialism, mercantilism, innovation, and legal/social/cultural exports. But that does not mean we cannot speak truths regarding the motives and interests that drove these things - the seeking power and economic gain, naked self-interest.

    It is serendipitous that on the balance, much good came out of these actions, but that does not mean we have carte blanche to be in denial about the... less than good outcomes. We have to accept both aspects/sides of these realities.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 20 Apr 17, at 23:34.

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    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    Toby - I'm not really interested in jingoism. I've got to run to the store - so I'll keep it brief.

    Operation Ajax was conducted for the same reason the US supplied the UK during the Falklands War - to support a major US ally and its interests. The CIA intervened primarily on behalf of Britain. American interests were only at stake by proxy - British interests were the ones most directly at stake. That an American Anglophile in a nation allied to Britain intervened on behalf of British interests should be readily apparent if you look in depth at the operation and the motives of the actors who carried out.

    This isn't the first time in history this sort of thing occurred, and it won't be the last. The occurrence of these types of events, in general, in one form or another, to some degree or another, has happened multiple times a day, every single day, throughout human history.

    I will give credit where credit is due - the world, on the balance, is a better place as a result of British imperialism, mercantilism, innovation, and legal/social/cultural exports. But that does not mean we cannot speak truths regarding the motives and interests that drove these things - the seeking power and economic gain, naked self-interest.

    It is serendipitous that on the balance, much good came out of these actions, but that does not mean we have carte blanche to be in denial about the... less than good outcomes. We have to accept both aspects/sides of these realities.
    I wasn't being jingoistic. I'm quite glad the British empire has given way to independent states. But if you think the CIA backed up the British by proxy...then you're having a laugh. The CIA were nervous about the Soviets becoming Iran's new best friend. Quite right too! You were doing the same else where to. I was slightly amused when you said the US filed the vacuum in Vietnam. You bombed them into oblivion.....lol. Anyway Churchill was right in 1914....clearly the world had changed by 1953 though.

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