The military industrial complex will be careful not to existentially threaten the nation by antagonizing nuclear powers like Russia or China, since it derives its income from the nation, but third world countries that do not have significant military capabilities are fair game.
The proof of this racket is in the pudding: annual spending on federal contracts to private companies increased by $175 billion between 2000 and 2005, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Like a mafia, the military-industrial complex can always manufacture a threat if it doesn't receive its protection money. A mafia will send one of its affiliates to break a few windows if it doesn't get paid, but the military industrial need only to have its representatives in the government provoke foreign hostility to get the same effect. This can be seen in the administration's policies towards Iraq and Iran over the last decade, which, rather than diffuse the situation, have only ever escalated it.