Do we need an arms industry?

Sep 3, 2023
Military lies and war crimes against humanity and deception as a group.

Australia needs an arms industry like it needs a hole in the head. It will only contribute to flooding the world with more weapons of destruction when we are already being killed by floods, fires and irresponsible politicians through human induced global warming.

My childhood years coincided with the last phase of British colonial rule in Malaysia. It should come as no surprise that I grew up with a steady diet of Beano and Dandy comic books. I am thankful that they have given me enough of a sense of humour to sustain me in an increasingly illogical world where many of the brightest in our society think that it is a good idea to earn a living making weapons of destruction (ref: Mark Beeson, P&I, 29/08/2023). Inasmuch as a distinction should be made between being bright and being wise, and the existential difficulty of defining intelligence, one could arguably say that the distortion of reality by extremely effective western propaganda has played a huge role in blurring the distinctions.

Propaganda is a double edged sword that cuts both ways. In this case, it has cut deeper into the population of the perpetrators than the targeted groups. There is ample evidence to indicate that the Global South, i.e. most of the world, have largely remained independent thinkers. On the other hand, many who think a weapons industry is the next best thing to winning a jackpot are victims of a propaganda-conjured idea that the next war is winnable. Hence they deem it responsible to prepare for it by an inordinate focus on weapons production and war. The avaricious ones perpetrate the propaganda to keep the world under the constant threat of war in order to turn a nice dollar.

Part of this distorted reasoning could have been derived from the two world wars won by the Allies. Using WWI and WWII as guides to the next world war is useful only in the psychological aspects of human impulses that lead to a major war, not in the conduct and outcome of the next war. Alex Ward writes; “A nuclear war would almost certainly affect hundreds of millions or billions of people not directly caught in the fighting. Its effects would reverberate, sometimes literally, around the planet.”

People who are preparing for war are also making the next war unwinnable. Weapons making is a vicious cycle. As the weapons they make to keep ahead of their adversary become more and more destructive with the passage of time, their motivations for war have not caught up with the reality of the conduct and outcome of the next war. The US and its allies cannot hope to overwhelm China in a conventional war without massive destruction to themselves. Nobody wins. The US understands this from the numerous war games conducted by the Pentagon and other agencies, although the outcomes should be taken for what they are – games. In an attempt to ameliorate tensions, the US has recently sent three of its leading figures, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to China. Yet its recent actions vis-a-vis China are still replete with contradictions and ambiguities. Any attempts to “thaw” relations are also seen as appeasements. Nikki Haley, a Republican candidate for president said in a recent piece in the Washington Post (16/06/2023) titled “Biden wants a ‘thaw’ with China. What would that take?”:

China should know that we’ll help Taiwan protect itself because it’s in our interest. For that matter, we need to tell China that we’ll continue to help Ukraine beat Russia, in a preview of what will happen with Taiwan.

Before one gets carried away by that kind of tough talk, heed must be taken of the fact that China has a huge army of about two million active soldiers; that it has the world’s largest navy and an arsenal of weapons that are almost on par with that of the US. The next war will be a very complex one fought not just with humans but sophisticated machines, unmanned weapons and artificial intelligence. In such a war, it would be impossible to predict the outcome. However, I must point out just two of the advantages that I believe will work in China’s favour. The first is that a major war depends on a continuous supply of weapons. Even in a war the scale of Ukraine, both sides to the conflict have been reported to have run out of munition. China has a big industrial base and a huge supply of skilled and disciplined labour that can be mobilised for weapons production.

Cognisance must also be taken of the character of the people involved. As the Vietnam War has illustrated, the Vietnamese people’s ability to endure a long war was to their advantage. The same could be said of the Afghans. The Chinese have a level of stoicism embedded in their culture that is reflected in their often-used expression: “eat bitter” 吃苦 (chīkǔ). If they decide that they have to endure a war, I can envisage the ordinary Chinese putting their heads down and carrying on doing what they are expected to do for as long as the war lasts. It is the same ability to “eat bitter” that enabled them to complete the trans-Canadian and trans-American railways, in the latter half of the 19th century, when all others failed to do so.

If the war were to last a long time, another plausible scenario will ensue. Because it cannot afford to lose, the US will at some stage resort to the use of nuclear weapons. Unlike the Chinese, the US has never disavowed the first use of nuclear weapons. It is also prudent to note that although the Chinese have a smaller arsenal of nuclear weapons than the US there are recent reports that they are concentrating on the effective delivery of their nuclear warheads. More nuclear weapons is good for grandstanding but may not be better in a real war. It will only take several scores of nuclear detonations to destroy the whole of humankind.

Effective propaganda compromises the ability of people, however intelligent, to make rational judgements. Unfortunately today we have a new cohort of people, with access to Asterisks and Obelisks comics, whose thinking is scrambled by the cacophony of their own propaganda.

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