It's an open secret among U.S. military experts, corporate elites, and DC insiders that in the coming decades, the country is going to be faced with a war that causes unprecedented destabilization for the American empire--both externally and internally. This is to say it's quite likely that the military is going to have to fight a potential World War II-level series of conflicts abroad, and a class-based confrontation within U.S. borders that matches or surpasses the Civil War.
Clamping down on dissent to preemptively pacify the U.S. population
The basis for the military's expectations of such events comes from the findings of a 2017 Pentagon report, which drew upon a year-long research process involving consultation with key agencies across the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army. It concluded that American global power is "collapsing," and that the military must respond to this by investing in more surveillance, "strategic manipulation" of public sentiments through propaganda, and a "wider and more flexible" military. By extension, this effort to step up militarization applies to U.S. police forces, which have been gaining unprecedented amounts of Army equipment during the War on Terror while being trained in repressive tactics by Israel.
This importing of U.S. imperialism's foreign-occupation techniques has gone along with the 2013 legalization of CIA propaganda being covertly used in U.S. media, and with unprecedented expansions of the surveillance state in the Covid-19 era via the implementation of newly intrusive monitoring tools by Big Tech. The consequences of these power grabs during this last year or so have been the orchestration of a counterinsurgency against the Black Lives Matter movement, one that targets demonstrators with strategic demonizing propaganda, terrorizes rally attendees by sending unidentified federal agents to black-bag protesters and detain them in unmarked vehicles, and surveils protesters through social-media monitoring and drones.
Years before the disease outbreak, economic collapse, and unrest of the 2020s were even present, the U.S. national-security state was anticipating events in this vein and using them to preemptively self-justify such abuses against the population. As the report concludes, the nature of imperialism's crisis mandates that drastic measures be taken to maintain the current power structure:
States and traditional political authority structures are under increasing pressure from endogenous and exogenous forces... The fracturing of the post-Cold War global system is accompanied by the inÂ ternal fraying in the political, social, and economic fabric of practically all states... Wide uncontrolled access to technology that most now take for granted is rapidly undermining prior advantages of discrete, secret, or covert intentions, actions, or operations... In the end, senior defense leaders should assume that all defense-related activity from minor tactical movements to major military operations would occur completely in the open from this point forward... To date, U.S. strategists have been fixated on this trend in the greater Middle East. However, the same forces at work there are similarly eroding the reach and authority of governments worldwide... it would be unwise not to recognize that they will mutate, metastasize, and manifest differently over time...
The report's recommendations that U.S. intelligence leverage its internal-propaganda capabilities to try to retain the public's support in the event of destabilization, and that the national-security state make better use of its surveillance apparatus, pertain to the ways that these destabilizing factors have evolved since 2017. With Covid-19, the U.S. state has faced a type of threat that's ravaged the economy, further undermined public confidence in neoliberal capitalism, and sown distrust of the government. Another Pentagon report from 2019 predicted that a pandemic was an inevitability due to the new virus risks created by climatic changes, but even amid this prior ability to recognize that outbreaks like this one were coming, the U.S. military has had to grapple for new ways to try to maintain internal order amid this unprecedented shock to the system. What it's settled on is a campaign to try to stamp out all facets of revolutionary thinking, similarly to how Colombia's neo-colonial government is treating all participants in the pro-worker and indigenous movements as terrorists.
In response to the pandemic, the military has been learning to make communications between its ranks more efficient and centralized. As action officer with the Commander's Initiatives Group at NORTHCOM Matt Strohmeyer has said about this project, "Achieving superiority against an adversary is all about making decisions faster than them. The way that we make decisions is by getting the most accurate and aggregated data to that decision maker as quickly as possible so that they can achieve understanding of what's going on, then make a decision."
This approach that the military has adopted of trying to preemptively stamp out threats, of hastily prompting a response from the national-security state (whether that response is greater surveillance or tightened censorship or something more severe) extends to the state's recently embraced method for suppressing dissent. Using the Capitol Hill riot as an excuse, the Biden administration has implemented a counterterrorism doctrine that further chips away at civil liberties, stating that "a comprehensive understanding of the domestic terrorism threat landscape requires facilitating a systematic provision of information and data to the appropriate parts of the Federal Government from state, local, tribal, and territorial partners who often identify and disrupt manifestations of the domestic terrorism threat, even if they do not always use the same labels to describe it."
This "even if they do not always use the same labels to describe it" statement reveals the dictatorial nature of the campaign that our government aims to carry out in the coming years and decades. As part of its effort to stop the metastasizing "forces" that the 2017 Pentagon report worried about, the national-security state is establishing the precedent to persecute anyone who the government judges to be an "extremist." Since anti-imperialist commentators and Palestinian anti-Zionist voices have already born the brunt of social-media censorship in the aftermath of January 6th, Biden's counterterrorism doctrine is undoubtedly going to target liberation movements more than it will counter right-wing extremists.
This paradigm that our government is engineering, where privacy and freedom of expression get increasingly stamped out, is a transition into the environment that the military views as ideal for its expected task of fighting an all-consuming war within our generation. This is an environment where life under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government is no longer governed by the country's already flimsy settler-colonial constitution, but by the kinds of brutal military laws that rule areas like Israeli-occupied Palestine. Where anyone who writes, speaks, demonstrates, politically assembles, votes, or interacts on social media in a way that ideologically opposes the occupier state's agenda gets treated as an enemy combatant.
Washington's repressive tactics throughout the War on Terror, where U.S. citizens suspected of terrorist involvement have been extrajudicially assassinated by drone strikes, where individuals (including Americans) have been indefinitely detained at Guantanamo despite not being convicted of any crimes, and where the Guantanamo detention center has effectively created a lawless zone in which prisoners can be tortured with impunity, have all foreshadowed this dystopian reality the government intends to create. This will be a reality where these most extreme instances of late-stage imperialist repression and violence get expanded into the entirety of U.S.-controlled territory.
Preparing for unprecedented conflicts & "the information war"
This war against dissent, and the current CIA propaganda campaign about Xinjiang that goes along with it, serve a practical military purpose: to pacify the U.S. population to the greatest possible extent in anticipation of what the military expects to be an unprecedented siege.
The 2017 Pentagon report was just one part in an ever-growing body of indications that the government expects such an event. We also know the military believes such a conflict will occur from looking at the 2016 U.S. Army War College document that urges the Army to prepare for "contemporary Stalingrads" within U.S. borders, where the government has to fight off lower-class uprisings after decades of deterioration in living standards. From looking at the Pentagon training video that predicts an "unavoidable" dystopian future where the military has to "drain the swamp of non-combatants" so that the rebels can be fought off amid military occupation of the largest U.S. cities. From looking at a 2018 Pentagon report that points to preparations for total war, with it recommending a redoubling of the high-tech sector so that the military can gain the industrial base for building up arms against China and Russia...
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