FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Enduring Nature of Budget Combat in Versailles on the Potomac

The U.S. Navy: Troubled Waters  is Part 1 of a three part series appearing in Time Magazine’s Battleland blog, written by my good friend Winslow Wheeler.  It shows the US Navy is up to its old tricks to impregnate Mr. Obama’s defense budget  by front loading today’s budget to ensure irresistible pressure to grow its future budgets.  Think of this as an emerging right to life issue, because, for reasons explained by Winslow, abortion is out of the question, even when a miscarriage is inevitable.

Any one who doubts this, or thinks it is accidental, need only recall the braggadocio of Ronald Reagan’s chief navy stud, Navy Secretary John Lehman, when he told a seminar in January 1983 at the Brookings Institution, that it was “too late” to stop the buildup to a 600 ship navy. “We’ve already accomplished it,” he continued, “because we front-loaded (emphasis added) the budget.” Predictably, Lehman’ 600 ship navy subsequently miscarried in the 2nd half of the 1980s in terms of fleet size, if not money (Defense Power Games, pgs. 18-19).

Like a strutting peacock showing feathers in a sexual game to attract a mate, Lehman’s 600 ship Navy, and Mitt Romney’s 350 ship Navy (guess what? Lehman was a senior defense advisor to Romney), was simply fluff to hype its courtship with Congress, the media, and the taxpayers — a courtship aimed at ejaculating the flow of money into the coffers of the Navy faction of the MICC* via a front-loading penetration that would then be locked open by political engineers trained in the seductive arts of quickly spreading dollars, jobs, and profits to as many congressional districts as possible.  This kind of intercourse guarantees a pregnancy wherein unit costs always grow faster than budgets (or equivalently where some cells grow faster than the body), no matter how fast budgets grow, as they did in the 1980s and after 1997.  The relationship of cost growth > budget growth guarantees that combat forces shrink in size and weapons gets older (resulting in the inevitable miscarriage, as I explained here, and here). As Winslow shows  in Attachment 1, the impregnation is well under way as America approaches the fiscal cliff.

Anyone who thinks the Navy’s (really DoD’s) game ended when Romney predictably lost to Mr. Obama is whistling Dixie.

Mr “Change You Can Believe In” has signaled the defense budget is now off the butcher’s block in the emerging grand bargain on taxes and social spending that will heave what is left of the middle class off the fiscal cliff.  We must protect the Defense budget, Mr. Obama’s Pentagon says, because the rising threat posed by China requires us to to pivot strategically toward the Pacific and East Asia (think of this threat inflation as another display of “peacock feathers” in a courtship strategy).  Of course, the pivot really means the Pentagon’s big scoop shovel is being moved into position to dump money on the Navy and the AF, once again at the expense of the poor old Army.  If there is one thing we now know about Mr. Obama when it comes to the Pentagon, it is that he does what he is told to do by his defense advisors, who are card carrying members of the  MICC.*  Which brings us the to the writing of another good friend, Andrew Cockburn, who wonders in the LA Times, if the perks and peccadilloes of our generals will keep “we the people” distracted from the real game?

Such is the enduring nature of budget combat in Versailles on the Potomac, which always stays the same, even when the Soviet Union evaporates or when we liquidate Osama bin Laden.

Franklin “Chuck” Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. He be reached at chuck_spinney@mac.com

Notes.

* MICC = Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

More articles by:

Franklin “Chuck” Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. He be reached at chuck_spinney@mac.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
August 23, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Notes on Inauthenticity in a Creeping Fascist Nuthouse
Andrew Levine
Recession Now, Please
Rob Urie
Mr. Trump Goes to Kensington
Jeffrey St. Clair
Deep Time and the Green River, Floating
Robert Hunziker
Earth 4C Hotter
Kenneth Good
Congo’s Patrice Lumumba: The Winds of Reaction in Africa
Pete Dolack
The Realism and Unrealism of the Green New Deals
David Rosen
The White-Nationalist Great Fear
Kenn Orphan
The War on Indigenous People is a War on the Biosphere Itself
L. Michael Hager
What Netanyahu’s Travel Ban Has Revealed
Ramzy Baroud
Jewish Settlers Rule the Roost in Israel, But at What Price?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Is Environmental Protection Possible?
Josue De Luna Navarro
What It’s Like to Grow Up Hunted
Ralph Nader
They Don’t Make Republicans Like the Great Paul Findley Anymore!
Gary Olson
Whither the Resistance to our Capitalist Overlords?
Dean Baker
On Those Downward Jobs Revisions
Rev. William Alberts
Beware of the Gun-Lover-in-Chief
Helder F. do Vale
Brazil: From Global Leader to U.S. Lapdog
Laura Finley
Educators Actually Do “Work” in the Summer
Jim Goodman
Farmers Need a Bill of Rights
Tom Clifford
What China’s Leadership is Really Worried About: Rising Debt
Daphne Wysham
Saving the Planet Means Fighting Bipartisan Corruption
Tierra Curry
Amazon Fires Put the Planet at Risk
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Decentralize Power and Revive Regional Political Institutions
John W. Whitehead
American Apocalypse
George Wuerthner
How Agriculture and Ranching Subvert the Re-Wilding of America
Daniel Murphy
Capital in the 21st Century
Jessicah Pierre
400 Years After Slavery’s Start, No More Band-Aids
Kim C. Domenico
Finding the Comrades: Maintaining Precarious Sanity In Insane Times
Gary Leupp
“Based on the Fact She Won’t Sell Me Greenland, I’m Staying Home”
John Kendall Hawkins
The Chicago 8 Trial, Revisited
Rivera Sun
Tapping into People Power
Ted Rall
As Long as Enemies of the State Keep Dying Before Trial, No One Should Trust the State
Jesse Jackson
The Significance of the “1619 Project”
Thomas Knapp
“Nuance” in Politics and Public Policy? No Thanks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and Endangered Species, Wildlife and Human
Mel Gurtov
China’s Hong Kong Nightmare, and the US Response
Ron Forthofer
Sick of Being a Guinea Pig
Nicky Reid
Why I Stopped Being White (and You Should Too)
Jill Richardson
As the School Year Starts, I’m Grateful for the ADA
Seth Sandronsky
Rethinking the GDR
Adolf Alzuphar
Tears / Ayizan Velekete
Stephen Cooper
General Jah Mikey: “I Just Love That Microphone, Man”
Louis Proyect
Slaves to the Clock
David Yearsley
Moral Cantatas
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail