On the evening of January 17, 1961, President Dwight David Eisenhower concluded his term with a historical farewell address to the nation. In that address, Eisenhower made reference to a concept known as the Military Industrial Complex and its “grave consequences”, warning the American people to be vigilant in this regard.
In short, the Military Industrial Complex is a triangular construct which exercises undue influence within foreign policy. The three components of this construct include the military, corporate entities and the government.
Arguably, a case can be made that the symbolic conception of the Military Industrial Complex occurred during a fateful week in August 1945 when the United States of America became the first and only nation thus far to utilize atomic armaments in warfare. President Truman’s decision to utilize the bomb in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not the only option of ending our conflict with Imperialist Japan, but was the one option wherein we could make a clear and concise statement about our strength as a Super Power.
The conventional Super Powers took on their defining shapes throughout the Second World War and even more so through the Yalta Conference and subsequent discord between the U.S.-Soviet over postwar European issues. Arguably, it was the growing Soviet question that weighed heavily into Truman’s decision to utilize the atomic bomb.
Consequently, the Cold War era began, giving birth to the Military Industrial Complex wherein armaments research, development and production fueled its own economy. The passion, the motive for this growing concept was a preservation of our way of life, and a means to combat the evils of communism.
In 1991, the weight of the arms race caused, in part, the implosion of the Soviet Union which some term the “New Rome”; so termed because both suffered a similar fate. In the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States lost a worthy and commendable adversary and, more importantly, that which fueled the Military Industrial Complex.
Over a decade, we confined our global military involvement to mostly UN backed skirmishes wherein human rights violations and crimes against humanity were being committed. This relatively quiet period was the adolescence of this growing entity known as the Military Industrial Complex just as the previous era was its childhood.
The childhood stage was a time wherein it was fed, nurtured and given delicate care. Within its adolescent stage, the Military Industrial Complex, as an entity, strove for independence, seeking policies and systems that would eventually make it self-sustaining.
When the new “Axis of Evil” was discovered, it ushered in the “War on Terror”. The “War on Terror” is the Cold War reinvented. It was tailored to fit the new century and the global dynamics of this era.
We have not been vigilant as Eisenhower strongly admonished in his prophetic outlook some 46 years ago. We have sat back and watched the unimpeded development, from birth to adulthood, of the Military Industrial Complex. It has become inculcated into our governmental policies and political practices. It is now self-sustaining and requires no nurturing or care. The ubiquitous and nebulous nature of our “War on Terror” has given it an unlimited fueling source.
As the “War on Terror” and the Military Industrial Complex consume vital resources, we, as a nation, place ourselves at risk of implosion. Implosion occurs when resources are taken from vital domestic programs and used elsewhere. It occurs when a nation decays, internally, through neglect of vital domestic programs and its people. The strength of a nation is predicated on a delicate balance between the external and the internal; the latter and former being of equal importance.