FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Good Beginning: Toward the End of US Empire

It seems that some who have the ears of U.S. elite decision-makers are at least shifting away from wishing to provoke wars with Russia and China.

In recent articles, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Thomas Graham, two architects of the U.S. cold war with Russia, have acknowledged that the era of uncontested U.S. global imperialism is coming to an end. Both analysts urge more cooperation with Russia and China to achieve traditional, still imperial, U.S. aims. Mr. Graham recommends a shifting mix of competition and cooperation, aiming toward a “confident management of ambiguity.” Mr. Brzezinski calls for deputizing other countries, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran to carry out the combined aims of the U.S., Russia and China so that this triumvirate could control other people’s land and resources.

It’s surely worthwhile to wonder what effect opinions such as Brzezinski’s and Graham’s might have upon how U.S. resources are allotted, whether to meet human needs or to further enlarge the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and further enrich the corporations that profit from U.S. investments in weapons technology.

If the U.S. might diminish offensive war preparations against Russia, when would DOD budget proposals begin to reflect this? As of April 15, 2016, the U.S. DOD was proposing that the U.S. Fiscal Year 2017 budget significantly increase funding for the “European Reassurance Initiative” (ERI) from $789.3 million the previous year to $3.4 billion. The document reads: “the expanded focus is a reflection of the United States’ strong and balanced approach to Russia in the wake of its aggression in Eastern Europe.” The requested funds will enable the U.S. “defense” establishment to expand purchases of ammunition, fuel, equipment, and combat vehicles. It will also enable the DOD to allocate money to airfields, training centers, and ranges, as well as finance at least “28 joint and multi-national exercises which annually train more than 18,000 U.S. personnel alongside 45,000 NATO Allies.” This is good news for major “defense” contractors.

In the past year, the National Guard of my home state of Illinois has participated in the DOD reserve component. 22 U.S. states matched up with 21 European countries to practice maneuvers designed to build up the ERI. The IL National Guard and the Polish Air Force have acquired “Joint Terminal Attack Controller” systems that enable them to practice coordinating airstrikes with Poland in support of ground forces combatting enemies in the region. Members of the IL National Guard were part of NATO’s July 2016 “Anakonda” exercises on the Russian border. As the state of Illinois spent an entire year without a budget for social services or higher education, millions of dollars were directed toward joint military maneuvers with Poland that ratcheted up tensions between the U.S. and Russia.

Many families in Illinois can relate to the impact of rising food prices in Russia while family income stays the same or decreases. People in both the U.S. and Russia would benefit from diversion of funds away from billion dollar weapons systems toward the creation of jobs and infrastructure that improve the lives of ordinary people.

But people are bombarded with war propaganda. Consider a recent piece of propaganda-lite, just under 5 minutes, which aired on ABC news, showing Martha Raddatz in the back seat of an F-15 U.S. fighter jet, flying over Estonia. “That was awesome,” Raddatz coos, as she witnesses war-games from the F-15’s open cockpit. She calls the American show of force a critical deterrent to Russian forces. The piece neglects to mention ordinary Russians on whose borders, in June 2016, 10 days of U.S. / NATO military exercises involving 31,000 troops took place.

In the high plateaus of Afghanistan, peasant women provide a striking example of risk-taking in order to literally plant new seeds. The New York Times recently reported on women in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province who have formed unions, risking ridicule and possible physical abuse to form cooperative groups. These women help one another acquire seeds for vegetables other than potatoes and also for new varieties of potatoes. They manage to feed their families and to pool resources so that they can spend less on delivering their crops to the market.

These women are acting with clarity and bravery, creating a new world within the shell of the old. We should be guided by such clarity as we insist that lasting peace can’t be founded on military power.

The end of U.S. empire would be a welcome end. I hope that policy makers will let themselves be guided by sanity and the courage to clarify the U.S.’ vast potential to make a positive difference in our world by asking themselves a simple, indispensable question: how can we learn to live together without killing one another? An indispensable follow-up is: When do we start?

More articles by:

KATHY KELLY co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence and has worked closely with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams published by CounterPunch / AK Press. She can be reached at: Kathy@vcnv.org 

January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail