Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dude, Where’s My Peace Dividend?

In the 1970s and 1980s, Americans were conditioned with the idea that the extraordinary growth in military expenditure for the U.S. to “win the arms race” with the USSR would somehow lead to a “peace dividend.”  That’s what the elected officials of the United States and its NATO allies called it.  Eventually the Soviet Union did collapse under the weight of its own economic dysfunction and hyper-militaristic bureaucracy.  When the Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989, compelled by massive nonviolent noncooperation with the dictatorial regime, it seemed that the leaders of the world might finally declare the peace dividend we had all been expecting.  Mankind as a whole seemed to have hope that the specter of nuclear war had vanished and that a constitutional democracy could operate as a benevolent superpower.

It wasn’t long before President Bush Sr. replaced the old war with a new one.  The New York Times disclosed official transcripts of a conversation between US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, and Saddam Hussein where she said, “We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts like your border disagreement with Kuwait.  James Baker (Secretary of State) has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction.”

Soon after, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and America’s action toward war was swift.  King Hussein of Jordan, one of America’s strongest allies in the region (and whose wife was American), told the New York Times that the day of the invasion, Bush gave him 48 hours to negotiate a withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

The Jordanian king secured a promise from Saddam to withdraw all of his forces within a week to avert war.  King Hussein could not understand why the deal was undermined by the Bush Administration.  The US and its Allies proceeded to annihilate the Iraqi army it had supported for 10 years during the Iran-Iraq War which ended in 1988.  George Bush had been able to maintain diplomatic relations with Saddam when Saddam was waging war against Iran, but not when he was offering to withdraw from Kuwait.  Thus began the Gulf War in 1991 and a process of political destabilization in the Middle East that has been a pretense for ongoing military intervention to this day.

Harvard public policy professor Linda Bilmes published a study in 2013 estimating that the true cost of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will run between $4 trillion and $6 trillion, including ongoing healthcare for veterans and interest on the war debt.  A similar study by Brown University put the price tag at $4 trillion, but both of these studies preceded the rise of ISIS and do not account for rising tensions with Iran and Syria, or Russia in the Ukraine.

Where’s the peace dividend we were promised throughout the Cold War, that payback for defeating the evil superpower that prevented America from spreading peace and democracy by way of its “benevolent hegemony?”  Where’s our $4 trillion?  The war hawks and politicians in Washington D.C. will tell you it is being reinvested to defeat terror and secure American interests abroad; that the elusive dividend payment is just another war or two away.  In an October 2014 interview with USA Today to promote his book Worthy Fights, President Obama’s former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, Leon Panetta, stated that “we can expect kind of a 30-year war” that would need to include Nigeria, Yemen, Libya and other threats.   Those who profit from the military-industrial complex will continue to recognize a return on their investments.  The American people will only realize a peace dividend when their government begins to practice peace instead of war as a means to foreign policy.

Robert Ted Hinds is an activist, journalist, and professional analyst.  He holds a Master of Business Administration from Washington State University and Bachelor of Science degrees in Psychology and Finance from the University of Oregon.

More articles by:
October 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Middle East, Not Russia, Will Prove Trump’s Downfall
Ipek S. Burnett
The Assault on The New Colossus: Trump’s Threat to Close the U.S.-Mexican Border
Mary Troy Johnston
The War on Terror is the Reign of Terror
Maximilian Werner
The Rhetoric and Reality of Death by Grizzly
David Macaray
Teamsters, Hells Angels, and Self-Determination
Jeffrey Sommers
“No People, Big Problem”: Democracy and Its Discontents In Latvia
Dean Baker
Looking for the Next Crisis: the Not Very Scary World of CLOs
Binoy Kampmark
Leaking for Change: ASIO, Jakarta, and Australia’s Jerusalem Problem
Chris Wright
The Necessity of “Lesser-Evil” Voting
Muhammad Othman
Daunting Challenge for Activists: The Cook Customer “Connection”
Don Fitz
A Debate for Auditor: What the Papers Wouldn’t Say
October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Suyapa Portillo Villeda
An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail