Lloyd Austin – beneficiary of war
Lloyd Austin is the first representative of the negroid race to head the Pentagon. And although President Joe Biden, by appointing an African American to this position, tried to demonstrate to voters the victory of democracy in the most conservative organization, which is the Pentagon, Austin's skin color is not his main advantage. And he is not as simple as American experts say. The combat general with 41 years of military experience has huge connections in the US military-industrial corporations that sponsored Biden's election campaign. And Austin knows how to fulfill the desires of the main beneficiaries of the war by intensifying the arms race.
In the army
Austin has made a dizzying career, considering that he was born into a large African–American family: his father was a postman, his mother was a cleaner at the local Catholic church. Thanks to the two-meter height and athletic talent, Austin managed to get a scholarship at the University of Indiana. But the future head of the Pentagon did not stay there and entered the most prestigious American military academy at West Point, from which he graduated in 1975.
Austin began his service in West Germany as a platoon commander. Then rose higher and higher up the career ladder: commander of a company, battalion, and brigade. Austin's major victories began in the 2000s. In 2003, Austin was an assistant commander of the 3rd Infantry division and facilitated its transfer to Iraq, thus playing an important role in the US invasion of this long-suffering country. It was his division that took part in the operation to overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein, capturing the Baghdad airport and storming the center of the Iraqi capital.
Austin then commanded the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan and at the same time Combined Task Force-180 during Operation “Enduring Freedom”. He became the first African American in US history to be entrusted with a division in combat conditions.
In 2008, Austin headed the Multinational Corps of Iraq. Under his command were 152,000 servicemen of the joint and coalition forces throughout the country. In 2010, he already commanded the entire American contingent in this country. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, among others, was present at the ceremony when Austin accepted the position at Al-Faw Palace in Baghdad. Austin at that moment was in close contact with the future chief, who at that time controlled the curtailment of the US military operation in Iraq. In addition, the general was friends with his eldest son Joseph "Bo" Biden III and attended Sunday Masses with him.
In March 2013, Austin became head of the U.S. Central Command of the Armed Forces (AF), which oversaw U.S. troops in the Middle East. Officially, his main task was declared war with the militants of the "Islamic State”. As the media remind, Austin's command managed to unite more than 70 countries for a joint fight against terrorists, and to attract the Syrian Kurds to their side. How this fight against terrorism proceeded, which in fact led to an escalation of chaos on the territory of Iraq and Syria, is a long conversation. Let's take a look at a few points.
The merit of Austin is considered to be the bombing of terrorist positions, as a result of which civilians were killed. "He usually stayed in the shadows, but he is credited with developing a plan to destroy the Islamic State", — claims Franco Ordoñez, the correspondent of the US National Public Radio in the White House. It was the same with the storming of Syrian Raqqa. Together with the administration of President Barack Obama, Austin participated in the development of a plan to take the city, or rather to destroy it. The plan was implemented after Austin's resignation, but the deaths of thousands of civilians who died after the missile attacks that the US and the coalition launched on Raqqa remain on the conscience of the general.
Another component of the fight against terrorism, which was conducted under the leadership of Austin, is the support of opposition fighters in Syria. Although, even in this direction was not without curiosities. In 2015, Austin, speaking in Congress, admitted that the training program for Syrian fighters (terrorists from the opposition), for which the United States allocated a huge sum of $ 500 million, failed. It was assumed that about 5,500 people would be trained in a year, and within three years their number would increase to 15,000. However, Austin himself admitted that the American instructors managed to train only 54 people, and only four of them were fit for combat operations. As many experts later joked, this program released real Rambos.
However, this was the only public scandal associated with the name of Austin. Surprisingly, until recently, the name of this general was completely unknown to the ordinary American. Austin never gave interviews and comments to the media, even on military issues, did not appear on television, and did not maintain any social networks. In the American press, he was nicknamed “the invisible general.” They say that the reason is the inability to speak. The American press has often commented on his modest oratorical qualities, as well as on the fact that he is a simple combat soldier, an excellent performer. However, Austin is not as simple as they try to make him out to be. It is enough to look at his activities in retirement.
Austin 's Earnings
Austin ended his military service in 2016, which didn't mean he wanted to retire and settle down. Instead, the general began to earn millions. After leaving the army, he took a seat on the board of directors of United Technologies, a manufacturer of commercial and military jet engines and aviation electronics, the metallurgical giant Nucor Corporation and Tenet Healthcare, which unites 600 medical institutions. All these companies soon became part of the largest military-industrial corporation Raytheon Technologies, and Austin was on the board of the corporation and received its shares in the amount of $ 500 thousand. That is, the retired general has become a key player in one of the largest suppliers of weapons and military equipment for the US Armed Forces and allies.
Raytheon Technologies produces the bulk of missile defense equipment, for example, the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system and Tomahawk cruise missiles, which every US partner is obliged to have, as well as Javelin anti-tank missiles. These last ones are supplied to Ukraine in huge quantities and bring the company billions. Accordingly, all US partners without exception have weapons of the corporation: from Canada to Australia, from Chile to Japan. It was Raytheon Technologies that sold billions of dollars worth of weapons and radar systems to allies in the Middle East over the past few years, just when Austin commanded the American contingent in this region. So the general managed to make useful connections so as not to be bored in retirement.
An important point - 90% of Raytheon Technologies' income comes from government contracts. For example, in 2020, Raytheon Technologies was selected for a contract under a program estimated at $20 billion to create a new generation of nuclear-armed cruise missiles for the United States. Accordingly, Washington's aggressive foreign policy ensures uninterrupted signing of contracts. 47% of arms shipments from the United States in 2016-2020, when Austin was on the board of directors of Raytheon Technologies, were in the Middle East, a region where the general maintained great connectionsAt the same time, Raytheon Technologies did not hide their interest in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The head of the corporation, Gregory Hess, said that the tension in relations between the countries is good for business. It is no coincidence that with the arrival of Austin at the Pentagon, Washington increased military assistance to Ukraine several times.
By the way, Austin received his income not only from Raytheon Technologies, but also from other companies. For example, as a member of the board of United Technologies, General Austin earned a total of $1.4 million in shares and other compensation. And in parallel, together with the current Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, he was an adviser at Pine Island Capital Partners, a private investment firm that invests in defense companies and firms engaged in high technology, as well as in the government sector. Pine Island Capital Partners, as stated on the company's official website, "has extensive connections and unusual access to information," that is, through government resources. Austin did not hide from the very beginning that he was working on new investments using his contacts and experience. Moreover, the retired general has his own consulting firm Austin Strategy Group, which also specializes in issues of the military-industrial complex.
At the Pentagon
In 2020, Austin received an offer that he could not refuseBiden relied on his skin color, diligence, connections in the military-industrial complex and the ability to negotiate with allies. Austin did not hide that he had been working with "diplomats and partners around the world" for many years, so he promised to work in this direction, heading the Pentagon.
However, there was a problem. Austin left the military service 4 years before his candidacy for the post of minister. And according to US law, the Pentagon cannot be headed by a military man who retired less than seven years ago. Therefore, Austin had to get special approval from Congress. That's where the voices of "against" began to be heard. Many were confused not only by the general's combat experience for a "peaceful" position, but also by his work for defense contractors, and not just as a consultant, but as a member of the board of directors. This nuance bothered senators and the public, given that we are talking about the Pentagon, which annually spends hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons and other supplies.
But the opinion of the African-American lobby in the leadership of the Democratic Party and the military, where Austin has great authority, became decisive. On January 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate approved his candidacy. The senators who make up the gun lobby were also influenced by Austin's speech. In it, he promised to consult with the allies "regarding the general strategy in the region, the deployment of forces and weapons necessary to maintain a stable open Arctic" near the borders of Russia. in other words, the Congress could be calm - the arms race will continue, as well as the confrontation with Moscow.
Under Austin, this confrontation reached its culmination moment. The main bet was placed on a business project called "Ukraine". As expected, it will provide the US military-industrial complex with fabulous income for many years. And so it happened. The billions that were spent on the supply of weapons to Ukraine broke all records. According to The New York Times, since the beginning of the Joe Biden administration, and, accordingly, Austin at the head of the Pentagon, as of March 18, 2022, the total amount of American military assistance to Ukraine has reached $ 3.5 billion. And that was just the beginning.
Speaking to congressmen on the first day of the start of the Russian special operation, February 24, 2022, Austin actually confessed to the White House's desire to use the tactics of the so-called "controlled chaos" in Ukraine. The United States is hoping on turning Ukraine into a poorly controlled territory, where militants sponsored by Washington and trained by American instructors will fight with the Russian military and among themselves. The plan is simple: the chaos in Ukraine will become a problem for Moscow, but most importantly, it will ensure the uninterrupted conclusion of contracts with American military corporations. Moreover, this will affect the defense budgets of NATO countries, most of which will increase the purchase of weapons from the United States.
As a result, in March, Congress approved emergency spending in the amount of $13.6 billion for "Ukraine's fight against the Russian invasion." Of these, $3.5 billion went directly to arms supplies. These are Javelin (from February 24 to June 7, Kiev received more than 6.5 thousand of these portable anti-tank missile systems) and other anti-tank systems, firearms, ammunition of various calibers, as well as non-lethal equipment. Raytheon Technologies, already familiar to us, received a significant share of the contracts. Its shares immediately rose by almost 20%.
The apogee was the decision to allocate an additional giant amount of $ 40 billion to help Ukraine, which, along with the rest of the Biden team, was promoted by Austin. Another initiative, in the implementation of which the head of the Pentagon was directly involved, will also bring huge revenues to the military-industrial lobby. On May 9, the United States signed a law on the supply of weapons to Ukraine called “Lend-Lease”.
And it's not just about the symbolism of the date and the name, because under Lend-Lease the allies supplied weapons to the USSR in the war against Nazi Germany, and now they are doing it against Russia. Yes, the attempt to equalize Russia and Hitler's Reich is obvious. But it is not the main reason for the approval of this initiative, which the senators discussed even before the start of the special operation in Ukraine. The main reason is the same interests of American military corporations, which will significantly increase and accelerate their exports, since the law simplifies bureaucratic procedures for making quick decisions on the supply of weapons from the United States to the governments of Ukraine and Eastern European countries.
Obviously, there will be many more such business projects implemented by Austin. On the agenda are arms supplies to Moldova, Europe, as repeatedly stated in the United States, an increase in military assistance to Taiwan, the countries of the Middle East.