Crossposted at World Socialist website
9 January 2012
"The tide of war is receding," President Barack Obama declared, not once, but twice on Thursday in his brief remarks at the Pentagon introducing a new defense guidance strategy that formally announces an aggressive US buildup toward military confrontation with China.
Perhaps the US president felt compelled to repeat the phrase because it is so belied by the contents of the document he unveiled. The strategy guidance, together with the remarks that have accompanied and followed its release, points to a further eruption of American militarism and the palpable threat of a third world war.
Obama based his rhetoric about a receding tide of war on the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, the modest drawdown of forces in Afghanistan--where over 90,000 US soldiers and Marines remain--and the proposal, mandated by a deficit reduction measure passed by Congress, to cut $487 billion from projected Pentagon spending over the next decade.
Yet the US president was at pains to deflect the inevitable criticism from his Republican opponents and from within America's military-industrial complex by stressing that the Pentagon's budget would remain at the record levels reached at the end of the Bush administration and would continue to grow, just not at the breakneck 80 percent rate recorded over the last decade.
Referring to the disastrous US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama declared the "end of long-term nation-building with large military footprints." Yet the strategy guidance insists that the US will continue pursuing its full range of interests in the oil-rich Persian Gulf and broader Middle East, adding that "to support these objectives, the United States will continue to place a premium on US and allied military presence in--and support of--partner nations in and around the region." (Emphasis in the original).