17 April 2014

Who's glad its vlad?

Putin's sabre rattling in the Ukraine seems to be sending shudders through those parts of eastern Europe which once belonged solidly to the USSR. Clearly governments are beginning to wonder just how far Putin will go in his determined effort to reassert Russia's claim to once again being a global super-power. The annexation of the Crimea is probably only the start of Putin's project.

In the 1980s, Gorbachev introduced Glasnost and Perestroika and that period of transparency allowed him to face up to reality and accept that, at that time, the USSR could not out-spend the USA when it came to defence. He gave up the struggle and that led directly to the break up of the old Soviet Union.  Without command from the centre, elements of the USSR gravitated towards Europe, seeing better opportunities in an alignment with the west rather than with Moscow. At the same time, defence spending came under serious scrutiny because, without an obvious threat from the USSR, how could billions of dollars/pounds/euros be spent on defence?  As a consequence, we've had 20 years of inventing enemies (mainly terrorists of one sort or another) in order to keep our defence contractor's heads above water until, that is, the arrival of Putin and his sabre.

So who's 'glad its vlad'? Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Airbus Group, United Technologies Corporation, Finmeccanica and L-3 Communications would be a good start as these were the top 10 arms manufacturers in the world in 2012. Current events in the Ukraine may be worrying for some of us but they usher in a time of plenty for those businesses that thrive on conflict and instability.