There is ongoing discussion in Italy on the budget deficit, but there is total silence on the fact that the nation spends billions every year for military purposes
Markets and the European Union in alarm, the political opposition goes on the attack, the President of the Republic appeals to the Constitution, because the announced financial manoeuvre by the Italian government would result in a deficit of around 27 billion euros ($31.3 billion).
Absolute silence, however, both in the government and in the opposition, on the fact that Italy spends a similar amount in one year for military purposes. The 2018 figure is around 25 billion euros, plus other military items, bringing it to over 27 billion. It is more than 70 million euros ($81 million) a day, increasing as Italy has committed itself in NATO to bringing it up to around 100 million ($116 million) a day.
Why does no politician question the growing disbursement of public money for weapons, armed forces and military interventions? Because it would mean going against the United States, the "privileged ally" (i.e. the dominant imperialist state), which requires Italy to continuously increase military spending.
For the fiscal year 2019 (which began on Oct 1, 2018), the U.S. arms expenditure exceeds $700 billion, plus other military items, including almost $200 billion for retired soldiers. Total U.S. military spending thus rises to over $1 trillion per year, or a quarter of federal spending.
A growing investment in war allows the United States according to the 2018 National Defense Strategy Summary, to meet its goal to “remain the preeminent military power in the world, ensure the balances of power remain in our favor, and advance an international order that is most conducive to our security and prosperity.”
However, military expenditure will cause a deficit of almost $1 trillion in the federal budget in fiscal year 2019. This will further increase the U.S. federal government's debt, which has risen to around $21.5 trillion.
This debt is countered domestically by cuts in social spending and, abroad, by printing dollars, which is used as the main currency of the world's currency reserves and commodity prices.
But there are those who grow wealthy from the growing military expenditure. They are the giants of the war industry. Among the world's ten largest arms manufacturers, six are based in the United States: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon Company, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, L3 Technologies. Followed by the British BAE Systems, the French-Dutch Airbus, the Italian Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica), which climbed to ninth place, and the French Thales.
They are not just individual giant arms companies. They form the military-industrial complex, closely integrated with institutions and parties, in a wide and deep interweaving of interests. This creates a true arms establishment, whose profits and powers increase as tension and wars increase.
Leonardo, which derives 85 percent of its revenues from the sale of arms, is integrated in the American military-industrial complex; it supplies products and services not only to the Armed Forces and the companies of the Pentagon, but also to the intelligence agencies, while in Italy it manages the plant in Cameri making Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters.
In September, the Leonardo was chosen by the Pentagon, with Boeing as the first contractor, to supply the U.S. Air Force with the AW139 attack helicopter.
In August, Fincantieri (controlled by the finance company of the Ministry of Economy and Finance) with Lockheed Martin delivered to the U.S. Navy two additional Coast Guard ships.
All this must be kept in mind when one wonders why, in the Italian parliamentary and institutional bodies, there is an overwhelming consensus among many of the parties not to cut but to increase military spending.