To a critical but scarcely exclusive sense, the Pentagon’s penchant for military toys makes an ambitious, aggressive foreign policy essential. Without enemies and conflicts, real or potential, there is no reason to spend money, and this reality often colored its definition of Soviet goals after 1947 – despite the objections of senior CIA analysts. But the Defense Department, and national security establishments in general, are immense and all kinds of constituencies exist in them: there are procurement experts who draw up budgets and go after equipment mindlessly, people who have always dominated its actions, but thinkers too. Each does their own thing and they are often very different. It has always had these contradictions.
But that those who run military establishment have technological illusions, which many ordinary people share in this and other domains of human existence, keeps immense sums of money flowing to arms manufacturers and their minions. There is a very profound consensus between the two parties on arms spending, which began under the Democrats a half-century ago and it will not go away – no matter how neglected the bridges and infrastructure, health, or the like. Arms lobbies are not only very powerful in Washington but create crucial jobs in most states and military spending keeps the economy afloat. Weapons producers make money regardless of whether the Pentagon wins or loses its wars – and making money is their only objective. It is surely a key causal factor even if it is far from being the sole explanation of why the U.S. intervenes where it shouldn’t. More here.