By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
This week, following the recent announcement of a new National Defense Strategy that focuses on conflicts with great powers and a new arms race, the Pentagon announced an escalation of nuclear weapons development. The United States' military is spread across the world, including several dangerous conflict areas that could develop into an all-out war, possibly in conflict with China or Russia. This comes at a time when US empire is fading, something the Pentagon also recognizes and the US is falling behind China economically. This is not unexpected considering that one year ago President Trump sought an inaugural parade that put tanks and missiles on display.
New National Defense Strategy Means More War, More Spending
The new National Defense Strategy announced last week moves from the "war on terror" toward conflict with great powers. Michael Whitney, writing about the conflict in Syria, puts it in context:
"Washington's biggest problem is the absence of a coherent policy. While the recently released National Defense Strategy articulated a change in the way the imperial strategy would be implemented, (by jettisoning the 'war on terror' pretext to a 'great power' confrontation) the changes amount to nothing more than a tweaking of the public relations 'messaging.' Washington's global ambitions remain the same albeit with more emphasis on raw military power."
The move from military conflict against non-state actors, i.e., "terrorists," to great power conflict means more military hardware, massive spending on weapons and a new arms race. Andrew Bacevich writes in American Conservative that war profiteers are popping open the champagne.
Bacevich writes the "new" strategy is placed in the false claim that the US is "emerging from a period of strategic atrophy." The claim is laughable as the US has been in never ending war with massive military spending throughout the century:
"Under Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump, U.S. forces have been constantly on the go. I'm prepared to argue that no nation in recorded history has ever deployed its troops to more places than has the United States since 2001. American bombs and missiles have rained down on a remarkable array of countries. We've killed an astonishing number of people."
The new strategy means more spending on weapons to prepare for conflict with Russia and China. Not bothering with reality, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis claimed, "Our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare -- air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. And it is continually eroding." He described the Pentagon's plans for "procurement and modernization," i.e., the arms race that includes nuclear, space and traditional weapons, cyber defense and more surveillance.
The Pentagon announced its Nuclear Posture Review on February 2, 2018. The review calls for updating and expanding the nuclear arsenal in order to respond to perceived threats, in particular by "great powers," e.g., Russia and China, as well North Korea and others. Peace Action described a review written by Dr. Strangeglove, adding "the expansion of our nuclear arsenal called for in the Nuclear Posture Review would cost the American taxpayers an estimated $1.7 trillion adjusted for inflation over the next three decades."
Bachevich concludes "Who will celebrate the National Defense Strategy? Only weapons manufacturers, defense contractors, lobbyists, and other fat cat beneficiaries of the military-industrial complex." To further the glee of weapons makers, Trump is urging the State Department to spend more time selling US weapons.
Escalating Conflicts Risk War Globally
In his first year as president, Donald Trump handed over decision-making power to "his generals" and as expected, this resulted in more "warfare, bombing and deaths" in his first year than the Obama era. There has been "an almost 50 percent increase of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria during Trump's first year in office, leading to a rise in civilian deaths by more than 200 percent compared with the year before." Trump has also broken the record for special forces, now deployed in 149 countries or 75 percent of the globe. So much for "America First."
Many areas risk escalation to full-scale war, including conflict with Russia and China:
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