Joe Biden wouldn’t be President without his corporate special interest backers.
Now they’re looking for a return on their investment.
And one scandalous gift that Biden gave to a top donor is creating a firestorm.
Raytheon is one of the largest defense contractors in the world. As of February 2021, their market cap is valued at $112.84 billion.
The company makes a profit off of the United States’ military budget, supplying the government with weapons, including missiles and drones, to engage in many overseas activities.
With an overwhelming majority of its work coming from the Federal government, Raytheon makes many political donations.
However, the biggest recipient of their money in 2020, according to OpenSecrets.com, was none other than Joe Biden. He received over $500,000 in donations.
This didn’t come as a surprise. Joe Biden has been a staunch supporter of nearly every war the United States has fought overseas since his days in the Senate, and in fact played a crucial role in drumming up support among Democrats for the Iraq War in 2003.
But what has even the most cynical of political observers absolutely stunned, is how quickly President Biden moved to reward Raytheon for their patronage.
First, Biden appointed a member of the Raytheon Board of Directors, Lloyd Austin, as his new Secretary of Defense. This made it clear that under a Biden administration, Raytheon would essentially be acting as an arm of the Federal government.
Then, no sooner had Austin assumed his position than Raytheon got approved for a brand new $85 million dollar weapons contract with the Chilean government.
According to DefenseNews.com, “Chile was approved to purchase up to 16 Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IIIA missiles, along with support equipment and contractor assistance, with an estimated price tag of $85 million. The anti-air weapons are slated to be used aboard two recently transferred former Adelaide-class frigates to the Chilean Navy. Work would be performed by Raytheon Missiles and Defense in Tucson, Ariz.”
Of course, these types of deals don’t get approved by Congress, only by executive fiat. Which means Biden and his Raytheon crony Lloyd Austin can have free reign to reward Raytheon as much as they want for their patronage.
Defense contractors buying out politicians has been going on for quite some time. It is the system that President Dwight Eisenhower famously labeled the “military industrial complex.”
It creates an endless, self-reinforcing cycle where the United States fights wars, which require more weapons, which they buy from these well-connected defense contractors, enriching them, and giving them even more money to lobby for more wars.
This is part of the reason why American troops have spent two decades in Afghanistan and Iraq for nearly 20 years.
But lobbying from the military industrial complex to politicians like Biden is nothing new. In 2018, defense contractors combined to donate over $24 million to various politicians.
They expect a significant return on investment for that money, and that does not involve working towards peace or bringing the troops home, which made up two key foreign policy goals of the Trump administration.
The military industrial complex is alive and well, and we can expect to see lots of wars and weapon contracts during the Biden administration.