FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Pentagon’s Useful Idiots

Photo by James N. Mattis | CC BY 2.0

Democrats and Republicans in Washington agree on one thing at least: the need to fight Russia. In their view, Vladimir Putin believes the US lacks the resolve to defend its allies; he is also trying to protect his authoritarian regime against democratic and liberal contagion. He has therefore chosen aggression against the West. But US politicians on both political sides, and the military, have decided to counter-attack.

In response to a White House request, the Pentagon recently completed a draft report that advocates a wider role for nuclear weapons (1). Since existing bombs are so destructive that using them is unimaginable, their deterrent role is undermined; so the report suggests it might be better to develop low-yield nuclear arms as part of a greater range of strategic threats. A range that would also include non-nuclear options: ‘chemical, biological, cyber, and large-scale conventional aggression.’

In 2016 candidate Trump, lacking the most basic understanding of nuclear deterrence, is said to have asked an adviser: ‘If we have them why can’t we use them? (2)’ The Pentagon report is a response of sorts: that the US, faced with what it claims are the geopolitical ambitions of Russia and China, and Moscow’s ‘willingness to use force to alter the map of Europe and impose its will upon its neighbours,’ must update its nuclear arsenal as soon as possible to ‘remain faithful sentinels of our nation’s security and freedom.’

You can’t put a price on such democratic self-sacrifice. Or perhaps you can: tripling the US military’s nuclear budget.

There might have been more opposition in the US to such geopolitical alarmism in pursuit of a new arms race if what passes for the American left had not spent the past year doing all it could to present Donald Trump as Moscow’s stooge (3).

This has forced him to supply arms to Ukraine (which President Obama refused to do) and toughen sanctions against Russia. Former vice-president Joe Biden’s stance is clear from the title of his recent article: ‘How to Stand up to the Kremlin: Defending Democracy against its Enemies’ (4).

In the same vein, Democrats on the Senate foreign relations committee have published a report analysing ‘Putin’s asymmetric assault on democracy in Russia and Europe’.

Rachel Maddow, who leads the anti-Trump ‘resistance’ on MSNBC, reported it immediately, with glee: ‘Not only is our president not leading us to do the kinds of things other countries have been trying to do to put out the fire, in some ways our government under this president has been pouring on gasoline and helping this thing burn.’

She can sleep easy now: the Pentagon is on her side.

 

More articles by:

Serge Halimi is president of Le Monde diplomatique

September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail