In 2015, during his speech at the Brookings Institution (a US research group that conducts studies and education on economics and politics), the former Chair of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke talked about whether a victorious war and an active preparation to one could become the best means for bringing the US economy from the looming crisis, especially since it is the military spending of war times that helps reap the most benefits (in terms of employment, flow of funds in national financial system, trade competitiveness and, therefore, GDP).
In this context, it is important to remember that the US became a world power in part because of its arms trade during the First and Second World Wars. The US supplied weapons to Great Britain, France, the USSR and other allied powers. US gold reserves increased during both the wars as allies, at times, paid for the supplies they needed in gold and many countries wanted to store their reserves in a safe location. The Bretton Woods agreement of 1944 allowed the world to slowly transition from a gold standard to a US dollar standard, which, undoubtedly, boosted the US economy.
Unfortunately, reaping the benefits of war has, in recent years, started to play an ever increasing role in policies of the current US administration. And such an approach appears to have become even more relevant nowadays in light of the current economic crisis in the US and the decline in its hegemony in various parts of the world.
At present, Washington is benefitting from armed conflicts (that the United States often plays an active role in) in the Middle East, which not only generate revenue for the US military industrial complex but also have a negative impact on USA’s rivals, i.e. Europe, China and Asian nations — the biggest consumers of oil from this volatile region. At present, the EU is part of the US war machine on account of the way NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is structured. Europeans, therefore, rely on their American allies in battle, since European armies, for example, have no early warning and control aircraft or satellite-borne surveillance and navigation systems of their own. In addition, whenever tensions arise, the EU tends to increase arms purchases from the United States.