In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Misplaced power.” If ever there was a phrase that describes the current state of affairs in the United States, it’s that! We have media companies that control and guide public discourse about almost every topic of any import. We have military contractors buying influence in the halls of our government, manipulating the needs of our military to their own financial benefit. And we have corporations not directly involved with government largesse actively advocating political positions that are antithetical to the concept of the corporation, which has always been for the financial benefit of it stockholders.
But at least most of them don’t actively consort with the enemy!
Raytheon, Bell Flight, and Boeing — three of the nation’s most prolific defense contractors — continue to maintain close relationships with firms that conduct business with the Chinese government. Fox News reported that Lockheed Martin has business interests in China.
Issac Stone Fish, the CEO and founder of Strategy Risks, a China risk consultancy company, warned that these defense contractors’ relationships with the Chinese government present severe risks for the U.S.
Fish said, “Doing a relatively significant amount of business in China changes the risk profile now more than ever for any U.S. company, whether for compliance, cyber, reputation, security or other risks.”
This is not a complex and nuanced issue. The Chinese are our enemies, as they have demonstrated over many years. They act contrary to our national interest in almost every situation, and have aggressively co-opted many of our institutions, including most troubling academic research in many sensitive scientific and engineering fields.
But the idea that they also have infiltrated our most important defense manufacturing corporations is shocking in its brazenness. But who is most brazen? The Chinese are doing what they have always done; they are looking out for themselves, which is understandable. But our senior leaders in government and industry? You know…those hyper-intelligent, wonderfully educated, sophisticated folks who live on the coasts and look down on the rubes in the middle? They are actively supporting our enemies, and no amount of obfuscation will make that charge go away. Their honor and loyalty was for sale, and China was the highest bidder.
They will claim that the civilian market is separate from the military products that run our military, and that the security of our country is of paramount importance. But one look at China’s tentacles that extend deep into congress and the administration will demonstrate the silliness of that defense. And the universities are even worse. So forgive me if I don’t accept the premise that there is no danger to America’s security as a result of these corporate relationships with our only global enemy!
Imagine what Eisenhower would say today. He warned of a dangerous alliance between American corporations and the American government. Could he have even imagined the current scenario?