Okay, this post is not about President Trump and War Machine from Marvel. Instead, I am about to drift into insane conspiracy theory territory. Before I head down that path though, allow me to toss out a few caveats:
1) None of this provable, all speculation on my part
2) I am not an expert in anything, so I have no clue if my speculation is at all plausible
3) Like any good conspiracy theory, this needs you ignore some facts (I should probably make a video with ominous music–that would totally help sell this theory)
Now that I have those things out of the way…where to begin? I suppose the inauguration would be a good start. I noticed something odd during Trump’s inauguration speech:
For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own.
For people who support him, this was nothing new. He said about Japan and South Korea defending themselves. He has suggested dropping out of NATO. So none of this should come as a shock to anyone. He believes that we spend too much money protecting the borders of other countries instead of our own. I think he has said that maybe those countries should chip in for some of the military cost we incur by protecting them. One of the arguments that some people make about why socialism works in certain European countries is because they do not have to worry about spending tons of money on their military. They allow the United States to protect them and then use that savings to take care of their people, while people in America suffer.
If the United States pulls out of NATO and stops protecting allies around the world, what would that do? Well, I would imagine that many countries would have to build up their military strength. The EU may have to create a full-on military (causing each member nation to contribute more to the defense budget) or each nation will be forced to ramp up military production. The main question would be “who benefits?” And the obvious answer is Defense Contractors. And quite possibly…Donald Trump.
As you know, Trump will not release his tax returns, however he did fill out a financial disclosure for the Federal Election Commission, which is public. I realize this only tells us which companies he invests in and that tons of people would have similar investments. This is all we have, so I am trying to make some use of it. If you look at the top twenty-five defense contractors, Donald Trump has some sort of connection/investment with five of them: Boeing, BAE, Raytheon, United Technologies, and GE.
If world military spending increases, my guess is that these companies would see a nice increase in revenues. I mean, there are tons of defense companies, but only so many that build certain specialized equipment. And again, those five companies may not be the only ones Trump is tied to. His children could have investments with Lockheed, General Dynamics, Northrop Grummen, etc. And to be honest, would Trump need to list foreign investments on the disclosure? Does he have a connection to United Aircraft Corporation? He is pretty friendly with Putin. Obviously these are things I cannot answer.
However, if you believe that Donald Trump does things to benefit himself and his personal wealth, then it is not inconceivable to think he would find a way to cause nations around the world to help him raise the value of his defense investments. What if everything he has done regarding foreign policy was with this end goal? Threatening Mexico, pissing off Australia, the immigration ban, putting Iran on notice…these are all things that will cause leaders to spend a little more on defense for the next four years.
Now, before you freak out and decide to go out and boycott GE or something–it does not appear that these companies are in on the plan. I looked into their campaign contributions and none of their CEOs or PACs donated to Trump. Jeffrey Immelt of GE spent a ton of money on Lindsey Graham, but he seems to be the only one. Oddly, if you look at their PACs (each company has it’s own), they contribute to just about the same people. And most of those names are on the different defense committees. I know, very shocking.
I feel like this theory does not just end here though. You could probably apply this to healthcare (plenty of pharmaceutical companies and health related companies listed on his disclosure) or maybe a construction company like Halliburton (would they be the first choice for wall construction?). Trump has business interests all over the place and it would not be shocking to find a connection between all of his major talking points and some kind of money-making for himself.
The counter argument to this is that he is super-rich. His financial disclosure report would read like any other billionaire. He probably does not even know what companies he owns stock in, especially if he is investing in different funds. There is a reason those companies are probably put into every fund, they are solid earners every year. And if he was trying to make a quick buck, why would he publicly lambast Boeing, causing their stock price to drop?
Finally, you may realize that this theory sounds an awful lot like Professor Moriarty’s plan in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Everyone says Trump watches tons of television, maybe he saw it on FX one night and was like “oh my god, I know how we can make more money! Eric, Donnie, get in here quick! Call Steve–I HAVE A PLAN!”