FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Prelude to World War?

by JOHN STANTON

On 24 February 2014 US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel held a press conference to announce some of the details of Pentagon’s 2015 budget.  Beyond the news of cuts in warfighting machinery and personnel–and the pox of “irresponsible” sequestration on the federal government–Hagel made a point of indicating that the world is becoming an increasingly volatile place. He also seemed to express a bit of disgust for nation building of the type attempted by the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those sentiments are directly at odds with the core element of US national and global security strategy in operation since the late 19th Century. Those strategies employ the USA’s considerable  instruments of national power to: 1) actively destabilize “elected” governments (Ukraine, Venezuela) through the use of NGO’s, intelligence agencies and proxy groups;  2) prop up brutal regimes (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt) through a US congressionally approved program, executed by the US military, called Foreign Internal Defense; 3) information operations conducted via the printed press, social media, radio, television and film that seek to shape the cognitive local to global environment in favor of US national interests.; and 4) existentially destroy foreign governments through direct military action in conjunction with the weaponry of finance capitalism to create new markets.

All of this is codified in one form or another in US political and military doctrine. Every American president from George Washington to Barack Obama has trumpeted in some fashion what President Obama and President Bush George W, Bush both proclaimed. The former indicated that the US will pursue its own interests no matter what any other nation on the planet thinks, even invoking God’s plan to put the care of the global environment in America’s hands. The latter put it more simply, “You are either with us or against us.” The heads of foreign governments—and their opponents– are well aware of US strategy, tactics and operations.

What Civilian Leadership?

In the middle of this sits the US Department of Defense and the military branches of the US government. While they certainly advocate for their budgetary interests, have their share of drunks, overstep the civil-military divide, and engage is occasional battlefield atrocities, the fact is that they take their guidance and instructions from American civilians who are elected and appointed to provide the guiding strategy—and funding–to which the military designs its own strategy, tactics and operations.

So as Chief Executive Officer of the DOD Chuck Hagel was announcing austerity measures for the DOD corporate dominion with the closure of unneeded facilities (think factories), personnel (think workers) and benefits (think pensions and health benefits cut for all but generals, admirals and senior government executives), the thought arises that in a dozen countries large and small around the planet, American civilian leadership is either agitating directly or indirectly for the destabilization of those foreign internal governments, or supporting brutal regimes for strategic ends. If these largely economic-based rebellions begin to spill over into neighboring countries–or cause neighboring country leaders to mobilize or put military troops on alert; as in Russia (who can blame them?), then why is American civilian leadership forcing the US Navy, Marine Corps and Army to shrink in size and cut costs?

And with the much ballyhooed pivot to Asia, how much sense does it make cut back US ground forces in the face of a potential adversary (China) that can field at least 300 million soldiers and insurgents? Additionally, and most importantly, why is the US civilian leadership destabilizing its own country by rapaciously cutting an array of federal social programs (food assistance programs and health benefits for example) for its own people, just as corporations hoard cash, pay little taxes and reap increased dividend payments?

Demonstrations the world over are underway not for some nebulous concept of freedom and democracy but rather because mercenary privatization IMF style and messy capitalism are ripping asunder their target societies as prices for water, rent and food skyrocket with no reasonable safety nets established. And when the populace is life-insecure, the nation’s stability is threatened. If it is not the capitalists then it’s the dictators and their minions who seek to fill their bank accounts with cash for the day they are booted out of power. And yet free market and expeditionary economic cheerleaders are the first ones to turn to the State when profits sink which means no one wants to buy what they are selling. Then there is that pesky violent history from the mid-19th to the 20th Century. If the idea of war is to create a better, long lasting peace, as someone once said, are we setting up for a third world war, the trifecta that ends all wars?

Toxic Civilian Combination

The combination of financiers, investors, technocrats and politicians is toxic. They run the world with formulas and a market ideology that has long since past its prime.  They simply write off as “bad debt” large swaths of world’s population—to include in the United States and European Union—as unemployable, uninsurable. Once they have jettisoned those millions from the official economic figures, the economy magically improves as investors get excited. They claim that taxes stifle corporate investment when, in fact, corporations pay very little taxes thanks to politicians. Incredulously, they seek a move to the free market in a time of growing poverty, inequality and unrest.

Ukraine, Thailand, Venezuela, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Libya, Mexico (?), Chile, Spain, Greece and Yemen are just a few of the countries with populations unhappy with economic conditions ranging from factory closings, low wages and high unemployment. A good lesson for Americans is the plight of one of their own, Detroit, Michigan.

As a placard in Bosnia Herzegovina put it, “I am hungry in three languages.” So when global rebellion comes in dozens of languages–based on the simple desire for the “right” to be secure in work, food, shelter and clothing–spills over to one country after another–to include the USA–the financiers, investors, technocrats and loathsome politicians will turn to the American national security apparatus to protect them, most likely by fighting in a foreign land already in the midst of a civil war or open rebellion.  Hagel should say No.

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer. Reach him at captainkong22@gmail.com

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer. Reach him at captainkong22@gmail.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail