Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis, chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to be the new head of the Pentagon, is a model functionary of the Empire of Chaos.
His call sign is -- what else -- "chaos." The Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) even shared his regular accolade; "Saint Mattis of Quantico, Patron Saint of Chaos." The Saint in his pop incarnation comes fully equipped with a grenade and a knife.
Mad Dog may indeed be seen by the real world as, well, a mad dog; he was on the front line of the 2001 assault on Afghanistan; led the Marine assault on Baghdad during Shock and Awe in 2003; and masterminded the horrendous American destruction of Fallujah in late 2004. Widely hailed as a fine strategist, he retired as chief of CENTCOM in 2013.
William Hartung, at the Center for International Policy, A Pentagon Rising: Is a Trump Presidency Good News for the Military-Industrial Complex? notes how "Pentagon spending is one of the worst possible ways of creating jobs. Much of the money goes to service contractors, arms industry executives, and defense consultants (also known as 'Beltway bandits')." Moreover, "such spending is the definition of an economic dead end."
Criticizing Trumponomics as "Reaganomics on steroids" -- and that includes vast military spending -- Hartung stresses that if Donald Trump really wants to create jobs, "he should obviously pursue infrastructure investment rather than dumping vast sums into weapons the country doesn't actually need at prices it can't afford."
To rebuild the appalling US infrastructure is one of the top Trump campaign promises.
What is to be done?
My aim with this column was to launch a debate on the possible Leninist role of White House strategist Steve Bannon. Trump, like all US presidents, is obviously no Leninist. But his chief strategist does cultivate the Leninist notion of a proletariat vanguard; call it the Angry Older White American Blue Collar Male contingent; call it haters of identity liberalism, which elevated selected minorities to the status of sacred victims; or call it simply "deplorables."
It's this proletariat vanguard that Bannon aims to cultivate, so they lead/influence/shape policy for the foreseeable US political future, winning election after election for Republicans. They must imperatively benefit from Trump's spun-to-death fight against neoliberal "free" trade, although it's not clear exactly how he will privilege "in-sourcing" and not outsourcing -- which is official US corporate policy. They certainly won't benefit from a massive rebuilding of the Pentagon.
German political analyst Peter Spengler introduces a further spanner in the works, noting how Bannon, "like all scholars (or students for that matter) of Russia/Bolshevism has ignored what Kurt Riezler could have and (would want to) unearth to them in his time in exile in New York: first-hand experience and knowledge about the continuum of subterraneous and subversive 'diplomacy' between Germany and Russia" in the run-up towards the October Revolution.
Bets are still off on what "subversive" diplomacy the Trump era will entail -- apart from a 21st century remix of the Kissinger-orchestrated "Nixon in China" moment. That would take the form of a "Trump in Russia-China" moment -- as in Washington starting to normalize the treatment of those nations the Pentagon ranks as its top two "existential threats," global projection and spheres of influence included.
That contentious phone call to Trump "initiated" by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen certainly didn't contribute to any normalization. And no one should expect that the Brzezinski-conceptualized US global primacy, especially over Eurasia -- as in "prevent the emergence of peer competitors" -- will simply fade away.