While NATO member states have not deployed troops to Ukraine, they have provided artillery, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, armoured vehicles, reconnaissance and attack drones, helicopters, smalls arms including rifles, pistols and machine guns, ammunition, body armour and helmets.41 The US has also provided intelligence assistance with aircraft designed for this purpose positioned over Poland, Romania and the Black Sea.42
Since the invasion arms companies’ profits have soared. Between 23 February and 8 June, the share prices of Lockheed Martin rose by 14%, Northrop Grumman by 22.3%, BAE Systems by 31.9%, Thales by 39.4%, Leonardo by 67.8% and Rheinmetall by a colossal 123.9%.43 Within this context, states have published extensive shopping lists of sophisticated armaments that they plan to purchase in the coming years to replenish their armed forces.
Coupled with that, the EU intends to relax the criteria for arms exports44 and the European Defence Agency has begun promoting the notion that the arms industry is sustainable, boasting that ‘defence is going green’.45 There is a complete disconnect between the death, devastation, and destruction caused by the use of armaments, and the narratives peddled to justify their development, export, and use. This is even more perverse given that so many of the policies that permit the expanse of the arms industry are made precisely by those who will benefit directly from them.
At least 20 US federal legislators or their partners hold stocks in Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin,46 while in the UK, Tory peers Lord Glendonbrook, Viscount Eccles and Lord Sassoon, and unaffiliated peers Lord Lupton and Lord Gadhia, each own shares of at least £50,000 in BAE Systems.47 While legislators are not prohibited from sitting on committees, writing legislation, or voting on bills that might affect them financially, the optics might suggest otherwise. The fact that those in positions of power benefit hugely from militarism is a point that is often missed when analysing the structural drivers of war.