- The Great American Perpetual Motion War Machine -
Of all the major actions taken by presidents since 1945, it is surely President Harry Truman's decision to sign off on the 1947 National Security Act (NSA)--thereby 'nodding' the National Security State, the so-called 'military-industrial complex' (MIC)--that has triggered the most unremitting, far-reaching and profound blowback for America, its allies and the rest of the world.
Few would argue that in order to expand and perpetuate its monolithic existence, there's much to show for the investment of blood and treasure the "complex" has extracted from the rest of humanity. This to say little of the propaganda, lies, corruption, debasement of the public good, and 'divide, conquer 'n rule' abuse of power and privilege that have long sustained it, or the social, cultural, environmental and economic destruction, geopolitical instability, abject futility and all too human suffering, tragedy and farce that's been its hallmark. As an exemplar for the Law of Unintended Consequences hard at work, this decision doesn't simply tick all the boxes; seventy years later, the 'gift' keeps on giving.
The inescapable reality from all this is that there are some extraordinarily powerful folks the like of which insist to this day this is the way it should be, with some doubtless seeing it very much how it was always meant to be. Barack Obama's tenure was ample evidence of this prevailing, depressing reality. They will resist by any and all means open to them, attempts by anyone to question or challenge the status quo, much less any serious efforts to reverse the course. Which is to say, no one should expect any divestment by the power elites in the machinery of war after January 20, 2017.
Notwithstanding what freshly minted POTUS Donald Trump said on the campaign trail about scaling back America's commitment to foreign wars, defusing the tensions between Moscow and Washington, developing better relations with key international partners, and curbing the 'coups and colour revolutions' crowd, there is much to be concerned at how foreign and national security policy and military doctrine will play out under his administration. Regardless of what Trump does or says from this point onwards, such is the collective 'psychopathology' of the Great American War Machine, it retains a perpetual momentum all of its own that will proceed inexorably with or without his cooperation, and/or he and/or any of his team even knowing about it. We might even say, with or without him at all!
For William Engdahl, there's "no good side" to what we will experience under Trump, and he seems to take this view not necessarily because of who Trump is, what his intentions are, and/or what he might or might not do. Engdahl isn't buying the feverish talk of elements of the national security state pulling out all stops to thwart his presidency or even prevent his inauguration. Even if he doesn't know it himself, 'Trump was put into office to prepare America for war', albeit one he says, 'Wall Street and the military industrial complex' aren't presently in a position to win. For Engdahl,
'[T]rump's job will be to reposition the U.S....[so as] to reverse the trend to disintegration of American global hegemony, to, as the Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz Project for the New American Century (PNAC) put it in their 2000 report, "rebuild America's defenses."'
Seemingly pursuing like themes, Finian Cunningham suggests Trump is being (White?) 'house-trained' as it were . His view is that the ruling elite is using 'media orchestration and dirty tricks' to ensure its desired election result prevails, which is 'a hostile policy toward Russia, China and the rest of the world', serving of course U.S. corporate interests.
After observing the 'shift' by Trump and his people toward a 'more frosty stance' on all things Russia, Iran and China (clear in secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson's confirmation hearing testimony and that of his fellow nominee for defense James "Mad Dog" Mattis), Cunningham suggests a 'coercive taming process' is in play within the Beltway, with, he notes unnervingly, 'sinister implications for...U.S. democracy'. He had this to say:
'[I]t's a truism US presidents are determined by elite corporate power, the Deep State military-intelligence apparatus, and their controlled news media...In Trump's case, the outcome appeared to be an exception. So now [he's] being ''processed'' to produce the desired 'result.''
From Harry Truman to Donald Trump at least then, if not before, well might we say, [that] falling into line with the powers that be whilst preparing America for war has been part of the presidential job description. No sooner for example had Truman stopped one war with two very large bombs, he then set in motion another that went on for 45 years, the very one for which the national security state was ostensibly established to fight. The rest we might say is "history" except it is not, with most presidents viewing their lasting legacy through the prism of warlike enterprise.