At TomDispatch.com, Michael Klare has a fine article on the U.S. military’s “all-domain” warfare plans, including nuclear exchanges and big fleet carrier operations against China, among other hair-raising plans of “defense.” I had two thoughts while reading his article:
- Remember how, according to the Downing Street Memo, the intelligence was fixed around the policy, thereby justifying the Iraq War that Bush/Cheney wanted? It seems today that U.S. military strategy is being fixed around the weaponry that most profits the MICC (military-industrial-Congressional complex). Of course, strategy is supposed to drive choices in weaponry, but it seems the opposite is true today for the U.S. military. Put differently, the U.S. military is so awash with money, and so enamored with “all-domain” dominance, that virtually any weapons system can be justified in any realm of warfare. Cyber, COIN, fleet operations, nuclear, space, counter-terror, anywhere and everywhere.
- Is there such a thing as a true American isolationist? Even in Trumpland? Advocating for a reduction in the U.S. military’s imperial profile doesn’t (or shouldn’t) make you an isolationist. Saying you only want 400, or even 200, overseas bases instead of the 800 the U.S. military has doesn’t (or shouldn’t) make you a crank. Saying you want to wage no unnecessary wars doesn’t (or shouldn’t) make you an isolationist.
There are very few U.S. politicians today who advocate for significant reductions to the U.S. war/imperial budget. It is arguably the new “third rail” of American politics. Consider again the case of Tulsi Gabbard, a U.S. Congresswoman who enlisted in her state’s national guard unit, then became an officer, and currently serves as a major who deployed to the Iraq War. Merely for suggesting an end to disastrous regime-change wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, she was smeared by the mainstream media and by Hillary Clinton as a tool of Russia.
As Tom Engelhardt has noted, the U.S. National Security State, with all its branches and services and agencies, represents a “shadow government.” How could it not be so, when more than half of the federal government’s discretionary spending goes to that military/intelligence establishment? And when that “shadow government” feels threatened or challenged, it is more than ready to defend its prerogatives and perks.
Update: I should have mentioned that Congress just approved a “Defense” budget for 2021 of $740 billion. No problem with bipartisan support of nearly three quarters of a trillion dollars for wars and weapons! Speaking of weapons, for FY2020 the U.S. has generated $175 billion in authorized arms exports. Yes, the USA remains solidly #1 in both war spending and weapons exports!
Now, what about our response to Covid-19? The USA ranks #18 in that. Wouldn’t it be far better if we ranked #1 in responding to a deadly pandemic?