Military leader, council, assembly of the people are the organs of gentile society developed into military democracy – military, since war and organization for war have now become regular functions of national life. Their neighbors’ wealth excites the greed of peoples who already see in the acquisition of wealth one of the main aims of life. They are barbarians: they think it more easy and in fact more honorable to get riches by pillage than by work. War, formerly waged only in revenge for injuries or to extend territory that had grown too small, is now waged simply for plunder and becomes a regular industry. Not without reason the bristling battlements stand menacingly about the new fortified towns; in the moat at their foot yawns the grave of the gentile constitution, and already they rear their towers into civilization and similarly in the interior. The wars of plunder increase the power of the supreme military leader and the subordinate commanders…
— Frederick Engels, Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State
The label full spectrum dominance implies that US forces are able to conduct prompt, sustained,and synchronized operations with combinations of forces tailored to specific situations and with access to and freedom to operate in all domains—land, sea, air, space, and information. Additionally, given the global nature of our interests and obligations, the United States must maintain its overseas presence forces and the ability to rapidly project power worldwide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance. Achieving full spectrum dominance means the joint force will fulfill its primary purpose— victory in war—as well as achieving success across the full range of operations, but it does not mean that we will win without cost or difficulty.
— Joint Vision 2020, 2000
The United States must retain overmatch—the combination of capabilities in sufficient scale to prevent enemy success and to ensure that America’s sons and daughters will never be in a fair fight. Overmatch strengthens our diplomacy and permits us to shape the international environment to protect our interests. To retain military overmatch the United States must restore our ability to produce innovative capabilities, restore the readiness of our forces for major war, and grow the size of the force so that it is capable of operating at sufficient scale and for example duration to win across a range of scenarios.
So the United States wants to play hardball with China; and, naturally Russia, by resurfacing the Cold War era doctrine of Containment, along with Nuclear Triad upgrades, a 500 ship US Navy, new Long Range Bombers — and a replacement for the F-35 — hypersonic weapons and, of course, more bodies for the all-volunteer US military. That means more dollars have to be funneled to the Pentagon and its suppliers. But there is more: US military initiatives in Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Autonomous Combat Drones (undersea and air), Space Based Weapons, and Synthetic Biology all add to the truckloads of dollars needed to take on China and Russia, never mind North Korea and Iran.
The fiscal year 2021 defense budget comes in at a whopping $740.5 billion dollars. But there is more security to be had: The Department of Homeland Security will spend roughly $50 billion and the Department of Justice (houses the FBI) $30 billion. US intelligence agencies are expected to spend approximately $85 billion in 2021 with a new focus on China. That adds up to about $905 billion dollars.
Merchant of Death, For Real
The USA also maintains its status as the number one arms dealer in the world with distasteful customers including Saudi Arabia and Egypt. According to Forbes:
US bombs, aircraft, attack helicopters, and other military equipment have been used in [Yemen for] indiscriminate attacks that have killed thousands of civilians, enabled destruction of civilian infrastructure, and bolstered a blockade that has impeded the provision of vital humanitarian supplies. The result has been up to 100,000 unnecessary deaths and the placement of millions of Yemenis on the brink of famine. In Egypt, torture, unlawful confinement, and forced disappearances are now routine, under what many analysts view as the most repressive regime in the history of that nation. In addition, the Egyptian regime has engaged in forced displacement, strikes on civilians, and other abuses in its anti-terror campaign in the northern Sinai, all the while attempting to hide these abuses from the media and foreign governments, including major aid suppliers like the United States.
And the militarization of democracy and the world will continue unabated. No one dare speak against it or try to stop it: A fool’s errand, indeed.
According to the Project on Government Oversight, “Defense spending increased sharply in the Trump years and is now substantially higher than it was during the Korean or Vietnam War eras or during the massive military buildup President Ronald Reagan oversaw in the 1980s. Today, it consumes well over half of the nation’s discretionary budget, which just happens to also pay for a wide array of urgently needed priorities ranging from housing, job training, and alternative energy programs to public health and infrastructure building. At a time when pandemics, high unemployment, racial inequality, and climate change pose the greatest threats to our safety and security, this allocation of resources should be considered unsustainable. Unfortunately, the Pentagon and the arms industry have yet to get that memo. Defense company executives recently assured a Washington Post reporter that they are “unconcerned” about or consider unlikely the possibility that a Biden administration would significantly reduce Pentagon spending.
Add it all up and you are looking at billions in cash that has to be printed, or found, every year to sustain and enhance the massive US national security/defense machine even as the United States is getting hammered by the COVID-19 Pandemic which is, in turn, crippling its economy.
If that weren’t enough to be concerned about, there is the dicey constitutional matter of a sitting president (Donald Trump) who has contacted the governor of the US State of Georgia and the speaker of the state house in Pennsylvania in an unprecedented attempt at an “art of the deal” coup to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election that saw the defeat of Trump by Democrat Joe Biden. A defeat that Trump and many Republicans refuse to acknowledge going so far as to file baseless lawsuits seeking to overturn the election. What Trump and his supporters are doing to degrade representative democracy is as close to treason as is possible.
At any rate, what’s the point of the United States spending billions of dollars — some estimates as high as 1.2 trillion — on national security/defense when its healthcare system, critical infrastructure (bridges, sewage pipes, roads, etc.), small to mid-sized businesses, and social safety nets — even the constitutional order— are collapsing? Maybe it is all part of the plan.
How China Became an Evil Doer: Rabid Imperialist Running Dog, Peter Navarro
Why is China being led to the electric chair? Well, there’s America’s number one anti-Chinese imperialist running dog to thank for that, Peter Navarro, White House trade and manufacturing advisor to President Donald Trump. Navarro is a rabid, foam-at-the-mouth Chinese hate machine, a racist by any other name. His book Death By China borders on lunacy. According to Vox:
Navarro doesn’t only want to crackdown on China’s economic practices in order to boost the American economy. He also believes slowing China’s growth is essential to taming its military might and ambitions for global dominance. On this front, his views — which include calling for the US to colonize the moon with American-style capitalism before China turns it into a communist stronghold — become particularly difficult to follow. [He warns] the reader against ever purchasing Chinese products [and claims that] unscrupulous Chinese entrepreneurs are flooding world markets with a range of bone-crushing, cancer-causing, flammable, poisonous, and otherwise lethal products, foods, and drugs. At one point, Navarro asks the reader to engage in a cautionary thought experiment and — using a military phrase popularized during the Vietnam War — imagine that your best friend is fragged when the [Chinese-made] cell phone in his chest pocket explodes and sends bone shrapnel into his heart.
Navarro was a key figure in the development of Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) which laid the groundwork for the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy (NDS) and yet another doctrine with an acronym: Great Power Competition or GPC. Particular emphasis was placed on China: The alleged threatening commercial investments in Central and South America, claims on the South China Sea and remote islands, and the $178 to $225 billion they spent on their military in 2019. And Russia has been naughty too: It secured its strategic interests by taking back Crimea (prime Navy base there which the US was eyeing for itself), intervening to protect its interests in Georgia, and supporting rebels in Ukraine and the hapless regime in Syria (where Russia has interests in the form of military bases).
“It is just business,” as Michael Corleone said in the movie Godfather II. It was just that when the US invaded Iraq in 2003 (a failure by all accounts). But it’s just fine when the US makes moves on the geopolitical chessboard, not other nations. The attitude goes something like this: “How dare they try to mess with the post-WWII order created by the USA?”
GPC, No More GWOT
The NDS normally follows the president’s NSS as the Pentagon has to outline how it will meet the Commander in Chief’s vision. The NDS was also pushed out by the Pentagon in 2017 with then Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis being the lead cheerleader. He claimed that the era of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) was something that belonged in the dustbin of history. According to Defense One, “The National Defense Strategy declares a decisive shift in America’s security priorities, away from the age of ISIS-level terrorism and toward a return to great-power competition with regional giants China and Russia. This shift, Pentagon planners say, will require a ‘more lethal, resilient, and rapidly innovating’ military that can regain the overwhelming advantage the United States once held over those rivals and lesser adversaries such as Iran and North Korea.”
So the USA may stagger into a war with China thanks to a well placed anti-Chinese kook (Navarro) in the White House who was in on the development of both the NSS and NDS of 2017. The Pentagon and Defense Industrial base are for anything that’ll get them more dollars. So China is the #1 totalitarian monster of the day.
And they say one person can’t make a difference.
Maybe Boeing, Walmart and Apple — who invest heavily in Chinese supply chains and technical know-how — might have something to say about the GPC.
Anyway, let’s say that the US military suddenly vanished. What would America be then? It would be a Paramilitary and Carceral Democracy.
The USA is a Military Democracy that refuses to adequately take care of its people. Is that really worth fighting for?
This post was originally published on Radio Free.