Lend-Lease Law Strengthens Executive Authority at Home and U.S. Control over Europe
President Biden on May 9 signed into law an updated Lend-Lease Act. It gives the President authority to bypass existing laws concerning weapons sales and to more rapidly send even more lethal military weaponry and supplies to Ukraine and Eastern European countries. As with the use of lend-lease during World War II, the program enriches the moneylenders and those narrow private interests engaged in war production while also strengthening the power of the U.S. Presidency at home to by-pass Congress and increase its control over Europe. (It was not until 2006, for example, that Britain fully repaid its lend-lease debts to the United States from World War II.)
The House passed the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 on a 417-to-10 vote while the Senate passed it unanimously. Its passage was followed by Congress approving another $40 billion in aid to Ukraine, bringing the funding given in the past four months to $53 billion, most of it for military purposes. Ukraine now surpasses both Israel and Saudi Arabia as the largest recipient of U.S. military aid. The $53 billion is more than Germany or Japan's military budgets for all of 2021.
As the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) put it: "The act authorizes the administration, through fiscal year 2023, to lend or lease military equipment to Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. The act would exempt the administration from certain provisions of law that govern the loan or lease of military equipment to foreign countries, such as the five-year limit on the duration of the loan or the requirement that receiving countries pay all costs incurred by the United States in leasing the defence equipment."
The President can decide terms of the leases and repayment. "Payments received under leasing agreements with foreign countries are deposited in the Treasury Department," DoD says. Longer leases mean more funds for the financiers.
When signing the law, Biden covered up who it favours by saying it is to fight aggression. "The cost of the fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is even more costly. That's why we're staying in this," he said. What he is in fact saying is that the U.S. will continue to extend and foment the Ukraine conflict. To turn truth on its head, Biden signed the law on May 9, the day the Russians commemorate all those who sacrificed their lives to defeat Nazi-fascism in World War II. Biden claimed the law reaffirms "the enduring commitment to the future grounded in democracy, human rights, and peaceful resolution to disagreements." Yet the armed forces the U.S. is funding and equipping are under the control of neo-Nazis whose aim has nothing to do with democracy, human rights or a peaceful resolution to disagreements.
The euphoria promoted forgets to mention that to pay for the leases, the countries involved will need to borrow from the global financiers, who directly benefit. As well, Biden's executive authority and the additional $40 billion means yet billions more in public funds for the war profiteers. Ukraine will also be able to purchase new weapons, which Biden can now demand from Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, etc. Indeed, in late April, anticipating passage of the Lend-Lease Act, Biden and the Pentagon met with these oligarchs to demand increased production.
The U.S./NATO express the hope that the increase in aid and military equipment will be a game-changer for Ukraine and decide the outcome of the conflict in their favour. By prolonging the conflict with more funds, weapons, training and intelligence data, the U.S./NATO countries seem to think Ukraine can win the war. Their stand presupposes that weapons decide the outcome of wars and that Russia will now throw more of its own into the conflict as well. They are also banking on sanctions crushing the Russian economy -- something that has failed to date.
This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 6 - June 5, 2022
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