American militarism under President Donald Trump is raising its ugly head like never before. US air strikes are slaughtering civilians in Iraq and Syria with a bloodlust that is taking even hardened observers by surprise.
US army generals and Trump’s Pentagon chief James Mattis are also calling for more American firepower to be deployed in Yemen even though the poorest country in the Arab region has already been devastated by two years of Washington-backed Saudi aggression.
That latter move is part of a wider US strategy to confront what Washington calls “Iranian meddling” in the region. That’s rich coming from the biggest destructive meddler on the planet.
Then, of course, there is renewed American saber-rattling in the Asia Pacific towards China over the disputed South China Sea, and towards North Korea.
And let’s not forget that while Trump has previously called for friendly relations with Russia, he appears to be a lone voice on that score within his administration. His vice president, Mike Pence, as well as defense secretary James Mattis and Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, have all made provocative statements alleging Russian aggression towards Europe.
Trump is pushing for a splurge in total spending on American military – up by $54 billion annually or 10 per cent – on an already gargantuan budget of some $600 billion a year.
The Trump administration is also loosening restrictions on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf dictatorships, such as Bahrain. Any misgivings that Washington may have publicly claimed over human rights concerns in those despotic regimes are being abandoned by the Trump administration to recklessly promote the sale of American war machines. But hold on a moment. Wasn’t Trump promising a new beginning when he was advertising himself for the presidency? A major part of his election campaign for the White House was based on denouncing his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton and his predecessor Barack Obama for disastrous overseas wars.
In his populist-sounding inauguration speech in January, Trump said the days of America imposing its power on other countries around the world were over. He vowed to “make America great again” by henceforth focusing its economy on rebuilding US infrastructure and on restoring “forgotten” impoverished American communities.
But as far as American militarism and foreign interventions are concerned it’s evidently a case of more of the same. For US imperialism, it’s not merely business-as-usual. Under Trump, the American war machine is ferociously going up a gear.
Trump was supposed to be the “Washington outsider” who would do things differently from previous US administrations. In particular, the tycoon-turned-politician said he would use his self-declared business acumen to put America on a new path of regeneration and international cooperation.
And one suspects that is how Trump defied the media pundits and got elected last November. American citizens were sick and tired of decades of warmongering. They voted for Trump because they wanted a government that would finally prioritize their needs for jobs and public services. That’s why many of them rejected Clinton and the American political establishment whose foreign policy was all too-often a byword for abusing countries with US military power.
Only halfway into Trump’s first 100 days at the White House and it is cruelly obvious that the American electorate have been cheated by a charlatan. American militarism, death and destruction, is entering a new, bloody phase. On steroids.
Trump befuddled the conventional US political categories. He wasn’t conservative or liberal, or their more recent incarnations of neoconservative and neoliberal. Instead, the billionaire New York property developer set himself up as the “non-politician” and “a man of the people”. All such presumed variations in American politics are illusory. They are all just different heads of the same beast – American imperialism.
Like the Greek mythological hydra, the American beast is basically one body whose only variation is the rotating emergence of different heads.
Grotesque militarism is how the American hydra functions. It is an integral and oversized part of US capitalism. Without militarism, the US economy would wither and die. And without wars and destruction, American militarism would likewise atrophy.
That is why Trump and his new administration contradict so much of what he had said earlier about ending American overseas military forays. Under prevailing conditions of US capitalism – subsidizing corporations with taxpayer largesse – America cannot be anything other than a warmongering beast.
All indicators show that the Trump presidency is more militarist than any other. And because of his maverick nature, this president could turn out to be most dangerous yet.
One issue where Trump sounded relatively progressive was in his stated desire to normalize relations with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with Russia?” Trump had said earlier, with a refreshing semblance of common sense that distinguished him from the usual Washington mindset of Russophobia.
However, even on that score, Trump’s apparent friendly intentions towards Russia are being seriously crimped. The relentless political and media campaign in the US over alleged Russian interference in the presidential elections is gradually killing any chance of normalization between the two nuclear superpowers. And hence Trump seems to have of late suppressed his erstwhile overtures towards Moscow.
With Trump’s friendly policy towards Russia being emasculated under pressure, that pretty much leaves an administration whose dominant hallmark is militarism, militarism and more militarism.
The disturbing conclusion from this is that American power is incorrigible. American power dictated by capitalist logic is congenitally driven by war. The record of history proves that. Out of its 241 years of existence as a modern state since 1776, the US has been at war for over 95 per cent of those years. No other country since the end of the Second World War has violated international law so routinely with such barbarism. No other nation has as much blood on its hands from wars, coups, subversions and subterfuges as the United States of America.
Donald Trump may have used rhetoric promising a new, peaceful and prosperous beginning for Americans. But like a typical wheeler-dealer real estate magnate, his words are shown to be a sham. Trump is just another head that has emerged on the American hydra.
The traditional electoral process in the US is evidently futile, if a real change for the better is being achieved. American people, driven by the democratic needs of the vast working majority in that country, need to rise up, create a new form of politics and to figuratively slay the beast that is US capitalism. For their own sake and for the rest of the world.
The feature you heard and read has appeared on sputniknews.com. It was authored by renowned Irish journalist and analyst Finian Cunningham.
RM/ME – ParsToday
The beneficiaries of conflict with Russia
On January 30 NBC News reported that “On a snowy Polish plain dominated by Russian forces for decades, American tanks and troops sent a message to Moscow and demonstrated the firepower of the NATO alliance.
Amid concerns that President Donald Trump’s commitment to NATO is wavering, the tanks fired salvos that declared the 28-nation alliance a vital deterrent in a dangerous new world.”
One intriguing aspect of this slanted account are the phrases “dominated by Russian forces for decades” and “vital deterrent” which are used by NBC to imply that Russia yearns, for some unspecified reason, to invade Poland. As is common in the Western media there is no justification or evidence to substantiate the suggestion that Russia is hell-bent on domination, and the fact that US troops are far from home, operating along the Russian border, is regarded as normal behaviour on the part of the world’s “indispensable nation.”
Then Reuters recorded that “Beginning in February, US military units will spread out across Poland, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany for training, exercises and maintenance. The Army is also sending its 10th Combat Aviation Brigade with about 50 Black Hawk and 10 CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 1,800 personnel, as well as a separate aviation battalion with 400 troops and 24 Apache helicopters.”
As the US-NATO military alliance continues its deployments along Russia’s borders, including the US-UK supported Joint Viking 2017 exercise in Norway that began on March 1 and the deployment of more US troops in Poland “from the start of April, as the alliance sets up a new force in response to Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea,” the campaign by the US and British governments against alleged “Russian Aggression” continues to increase in volume and intensity, aided by an ever-compliant media.
During his visit to Washington on March 6-7 Ukraine’s foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Senator Marco Rubio of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and received assurances of US support in “confronting Russian aggression” while in Britain it was announced that its foreign minister, Boris Johnson, was about to visit Russia in to tell it to “keep its nose” out of western affairs. Mr. Johnson declared that Russia “was up to all sorts of no good” and “engaged in cyber warfare.”
The splendid irony of the Johnson allegation about cyber warfare is that it came just before the revelation that Britain’s intelligence agencies were deeply involved with those of the United States in cyber-chicanery on a massive scale. WikiLeaks once again showed the depths of deceit and humbug to which the West’s great democracies submerge themselves, and revealed that leaked files “describe CIA plans and descriptions of malware and other tools that could be used to hack into some of the world’s most popular technology platforms. The documents showed that the developers aimed to be able to inject these tools into targeted computers without the owners’ awareness… the documents show broad exchanges of tools and information between the CIA, the National Security Agency and other US federal intelligence agencies, as well as intelligence services of close allies Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.”
ABC News then announced, without a shred of proof, that “Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, appears to have a strong relationship with Russia” but could not disguise the report by CNN that the documents disclosed that “to hide its operations, the CIA routinely adopted techniques that enabled its hackers to appear as if they were Russian.”
There has been no comment on the WikiLeaks revelations by such as US Senator Amy Klobuchar who declared in January that “Russia used cyber-attacks and propaganda to try and undermine our democracy. We are not alone. Russia has a pattern of waging cyber-attacks and military invasions against democracies across the world.” She was echoed by Senator Ben Sasse who declared that increased US sanctions would “upend Putin’s calculus and defend America from Russian cyber-attacks and political meddling.”
Of course it would be impossible for the Senators to revise their rabid hatred of Russia and overcome their dismal pride to acknowledge that on March 1 the US National Reconnaissance Office launched a spy satellite carried by an Atlas V rocket that was powered by a Russian RD-180 engine. In an astonishing example of petty-minded obfuscation, the 1,500-word official report on the launching mentioned RD-180 three times — but failed to state its country of manufacture. The mainstream media followed suit.
There was to be another Atlas V launch in March, carrying supplies to the International Space Station, but it was delayed by “a hydraulic issue that was uncovered on ground support equipment required for launch.” Had it been deferred because of malfunction of the Russian engine that powers it, there would have been gloating headlines.
Reaction by the US government to the WikiLeaks disclosures has been to denounce them because they supposedly “not only jeopardize US personnel and operations, but also equip our adversaries with tools and information to do us harm.” Predictably, Senator Sasse tweeted that “Julian Assange should spend the rest of his life wearing an orange jumpsuit. He’s an enemy of the American people and an ally to Vladimir Putin.”
There should be no surprise about the activities of US and British intelligence agencies, because they already have a proven record of spying on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, French Presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, to name but a few world leaders subjected to the indignity of greasy little eavesdroppers sniggering at their private conversations.
In June 2013 it was revealed that the United States of America had been spying on European Union computer networks in the EU offices in Washington and New York. According to Germany’s Der Spiegel a document of September 2010 “explicitly named the Union’s representation at the UN as a ‘location target’.” Der Spiegel discovered that “the NSA had also conducted an electronic eavesdropping operation in a building in Brussels where the EU Council of Ministers and the European Council were located.” Together with their British colleagues, the techno-dweebs of Government Communications Headquarters, the US agencies have been having a ball — but have been unable to prove that Russia “used cyber-attacks and propaganda to try and undermine our democracy.”
The faithful CIA mouthpiece, the New York Times, stated in December that “American spy and law enforcement agencies were united in the belief, in the weeks before the presidential election, that the Russian government had deployed computer hackers to sow chaos during the campaign.” Not only this, but “CIA officials presented lawmakers with a stunning new judgment that upended the debate: Russia, they said, had intervened with the primary aim of helping make Donald J Trump president.”
There is no evidence whatever that there was election-time hacking by Russia, and now there is proof that “to hide its operations, the CIA routinely adopted techniques that enabled its hackers to appear as if they were Russian.”
Although none of the assertions that Russia has been conducting a cyber war against America can be substantiated, Washington’s anti-Russia propaganda campaign will continue for the foreseeable future, while President Trump’s initial intentions to enter into dialogue with his counterpart in Moscow wither away to nothing. Even if he does resurrect the sensible policy he seemed to endorse, his acolytes in Washington will do their best to maintain confrontation by spreading more allegations of Russian “aggression” and “cyber-attacks.” The anti-Russia campaign is gathering force, and it is not difficult to put a finger on why such a counter-productive crusade appeals to so many in the West.
The US arms and intelligence industries are the main beneficiaries of confrontation with Russia, closely followed by the hierarchy of the defunct US-NATO military alliance who have been desperately seeking justification for its existence for many years. For so long as the military-industrial complex holds sway in Washington, there will continue to be sabre-rattling and mindless military posturing.
What you heard had appeared on strategic-culture.org and authored by Brian Cloughley. Brian Cloughley spent a total of eight years in Pakistan, first as deputy head of the UN Military Mission in Kashmir, then as Australian defense attaché, and has deep knowledge of the army’s structure, personalities, and capabilities.