F-35 Sales Are America’s Belt and Road

Source:Foreign Policy Date:13Jul2019

A very interesting take on why the F-35 fighter jet program.  “The United States uses the fighter jet program to further its own influence while leaving allies dependent”, argue the authors.


Imagine a globe-spanning economic and security project—with a cost of over a trillion dollars and whose members encompass 46 percent of the global economy—designed to advance the interests and influence of the lead state, even as it binds the smaller ones into an asymmetric interdependence. Recipients get large economic rewards for participating, but they will find it even more expensive to extract themselves from the network in the long run.

Perhaps one day, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which by the most generous definition of membership encompasses 40 percent of the world economy in its sprawling infrastructure initiatives, will live up to this description. But the United States’ Joint Strike Fighter program, peddling the F-35 fighter jet, already does, something the recent brinkmanship between Turkey and the United States makes clearer than ever.