‘UK's main growth industry: Brutalizing world’s poorest with hi-tech military equipment’

‘UK's main growth industry: Brutalizing world’s poorest with hi-tech military equipment’
The UK is investing in F-35 fighter jets, part of a massive £160 billion program to re-equip the British military. It comes in the midst of painful austerity when there is no money for anything else, says political analyst Dan Glazebrook.

The UK's plan to purchase F-35 fighter jets has MPs debating the increasing costs. They say the controversial £150 billion warplane program is falling on the taxpayers.

UK Defence Select Committee chair Julian Lewis said he would be pushing for a special investigation into the acquisition and demanded full disclosure of the hidden costs associated with the deal.

RT:  Why does the UK remain committed to this deal given the soaring costs and technical flaws?

Dan Glazebrook: There are a couple of reasons. A part of it is Brexit. The UK is desperate to maintain and hopefully to increase Lockheed Martin’s investment in the UK, that’s the manufacturer on the F-35. They already have manufacturing plants in the UK making parts for some of the UK tanks and so on. They have spoken of wanting to increase their involvement here or at least dangling the prospect of increasing their investment here after Brexit. And obviously, the UK government is utterly desperate over the Brexit fiasco about keeping and maintaining foreign investment. So they want to maintain relations and keep relations as cozy as possible. Basically, they are desperate not to offend Lockheed Martin in any way. Pulling out of this contract at this stage would potentially risk further investment as a counter to that.

That is part of the story. But the bigger picture is this really shows how the UK is committed to dealing with these economic problems and with a very likely coming economic crisis, which is through militarism. The UK is in the middle of the F-35 investment. This is just one part of a massive £160 billion program of re-equipping the British military forces. This comes in the middle of austerity when there is no money for anything else; no money for famine relief for countries on the brink of famine. The UN has put out an appeal $4.4 billion to prevent 20 million people being pushed into starvation.

Now Britain, as one of the actual causes of the famines, as much as it’s been responsible for conflicts that have affected all four of those countries that have pushed them to the brink of famine. You might think Britain, as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, might want to help the UN meet that target. In fact, that appeal was put out in February of this year, and today just barely a third of that money has been received by the UN.

So this shows the UK is committed to piling whatever resources it has into militarism. We’re seeing the results of this – it’s using its military. It is involved in seven covert wars right now. It is involved in the punishing blockade and blitzkrieg against Yemen, which is, I would call it, genocide because you’ve got seven million people on the brink of starvation. Like 80 percent of the population dependent on food aid as the result of the actions of Britain and its allies in Yemen. So this is a devastating indictment of Britain today. This is the only thing they want to prioritize, this is the only growth industry, if you like, brutalizing some of the world’s poorest people with some of the most high-tech equipment on the planet.

RT:  Do you think this will perhaps damage America’s reputation, as a country that can produce arms that people can buy reliably?

DG: Yes, that is a good point. But then if you look at the markets for US military products – places like Britain, places like Saudi Arabia – what do they need these things for? They are not going up against hi-tech capable, powerful enemies. They are using them to bomb women and children, to bomb hospitals, to bomb grain distribution centers, funerals, weddings, to bomb impoverished, starving people. I mean how much capability do they need to do that? The F-35, in whatever status it is delivered, will do that job just fine.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.