Europe is only beginning to understand, albeit rather late in the day, the consequences of outsourcing its security to a war industry with such interests, given that the AMIC now appears to have seen an opportunity to prolong the conflict in Ukraine and serve its interests.
The AMIC poses an existential threat to world peace because it has partially captured the political economy of the most powerful country on the planet.
Five of the nation’s biggest defence contractors spent a combined US$60 million to lobby the US government in 2020. The media worships military people – who have investments in defence stocks – and have them on their payroll. Many politicians have stakes in the military industrial complex, and the tech and finance industries are embedded in it.
For this reason, the US is believed to be one of the biggest threats to world peace. The military industrial complex has become so large that it does not care about winnable wars. It simply needs wars, period.
Overcoming the challenge presented by the AMIC can be compared with the task of decarbonising the world through a move towards more non-fossil fuel energy sources. It will be a long march, but the world did not start by asking the fossil fuel industry to come up with solutions, and nor does the world ever expect the sector to be fully supportive.
Instead, new frameworks and doctrines have been created for a new major transformation of our energy future. We need the same to tackle the AMIC and its natural penchant for war.
This is a massive industry with tentacles everywhere in the US, including among lawmakers, media groups and the tech and financial industry. Overseas it is omnipresent, with an unknown number of subsidiaries around the world, aided by corrupt governments who are clients.
It is no secret that defence budgets in most developing countries are where large-scale corruption is most prevalent. It is a money spinner just like the fossil fuel industry, and taming it will require bold new approaches about shaping the future of the world.
It will need to start with a revolution of the mind among Asian leaders, including the complete rejection of their subservience to the US and its Western alliance. Asian leaders should recognise that by curbing their need to emulate or seek guidance or legitimacy from America in foreign policy affairs, they will reduce opportunities to feed the AMIC and thereby sow the seeds for a less risky future based on regional self-determination.
This is the first step towards rebuffing the confrontational ideologies of the USA and it Western allies and for building a new framework that will once and for all toss the tensions of the past into the dustbin of history, which have been so expertly used by Western powers to continue to divide the nations of Asia.
This will allow for regional heavyweights like China, Japan, Korea, India, Indonesia to come together and map a new future for the region rather than continue to be actors in a divide and rule, neocolonial geopolitical theatre marshalled by the US.
It will compel a rising power like China to honour its commitment to a peaceful rise as the demilitarisation of the AMIC becomes an enabling doctrine for a new regional peace and security pact. This outcome is not a far-fetched undertaking, as the example of Asean has proven.
While far from perfect, Asean has slowly and surely built a doctrine of its own that has allowed for peaceful coexistence in a way that also works to improve the livelihoods of its people. It has, most importantly, avoided war despite the presence of the AMIC.
The behaviour of the Korean and Japanese leaders during the visit of the US president was awkward to watch and not befitting of these two great nations and their cultures and seemed to belong to a bygone era. Imagine a peace and security treaty involving China, Japan and Korea that does not involve current day security guarantees by the US and its Western allies, which to date have only served to divide and heighten tensions.
Asian leaders need to realise that a post-Western world is being born, and that means drawing new lines of alliances and steering a new course, which will be a departure from the highly dangerous drivers of US and Western intentions in the region, rooted in preserving an old archaic and even imperial order.
Ideally, Europe will be a willing partner, but it now seems unlikely as the war in Ukraine and the billions of dollars of US military aid flowing in is only going to make Europe behave like client states of the US, Nato and the AMIC.