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Posts Tagged ‘Military Spending’

House military spending bill is a boon to the arms industry

Posted by M. C. on July 16, 2022

Lawmakers added $37 billion beyond what the Pentagon asked for, most of it going to defense contractors at the expense of service members.

The bill also added three Lockheed Martin F-35s and eight Boeing F-18s, while preventing the Air Force from retiring 12 Boeing F-15s. One of the most egregious moves by the House was its decision to block the administration from scrapping five of the nine Littoral Combat Ships it had hoped to eliminate. The LCS is a ship without a mission, unable to survive a concerted attack and rife with performance problems, including an inability to track enemy submarines.

Written by
William Hartung

Yesterday the House of Representatives passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets policy goals and recommends a number for total Pentagon spending. The final version of the bill will be determined later this year.

The House bill would set spending for the Pentagon and related activities like work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy at an astonishing $850 billion, $37 billion more than the Pentagon even asked for in its FY2023 budget request. The vast bulk of the added funds will go to pad the bottom lines of contractors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics.

Of the $37 billion in add-ons to the Pentagon’s proposal, over two thirds — or $25 billion — will go to weapons procurement and research and development, categories of funding that mostly go to contractors. By contrast, the increase for military personnel and health was just $1 billion, an indication that corporate profits continue to come before the needs of the troops.

Many of the additions to the Pentagon budget had more to do with parochial politics than they did with any coherent defense strategy. Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), who co-sponsored the amendment that added the $37 billion when the bill was under consideration by the House Armed Services Committee, made sure to include an extra Arleigh Burke class destroyer, a $2 billion ship built in Bath, Maine under the auspices of General Dynamics. Golden’s co-sponsor for the add-on was Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), whose district abuts the Huntington Ingalls corporation’s Newport News Shipbuilding subsidiary, which builds aircraft carriers and attack submarines, and will benefit from the $4 billion in added funds for shipbuilding included in the House bill.

The bill also added three Lockheed Martin F-35s and eight Boeing F-18s, while preventing the Air Force from retiring 12 Boeing F-15s. One of the most egregious moves by the House was its decision to block the administration from scrapping five of the nine Littoral Combat Ships it had hoped to eliminate. The LCS is a ship without a mission, unable to survive a concerted attack and rife with performance problems, including an inability to track enemy submarines. An amendment by House Armed Services Committee chair Adam Smith (D-Wash.) that sought to sustain the administration’s decision to retire the LCS’s failed by a vote of 208 to 221. The drive to retire the LCS was supported by a coalition of fiscally conservative organizations led by Taxpayers for Common Sense.

On the nuclear front, the House doubled down on the latest installment of the Pentagon’s three-decades-long, $2 trillion nuclear weapons buildup. To make matters worse, the House bill also included funding for a nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile, a dangerous and destabilizing system that the Biden administration had hoped to cancel.

An amendment by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) to block the $37 billion add-on garnered 151 votes, including a large majority of the Democratic caucus, a sign that the days of endless increases in Pentagon spending may be numbered. Robert Weissman of Public Citizen gave a useful perspective on efforts to roll back the Pentagon budget.

“We are racing toward a trillion-dollar military budget that tolerates and encourages mind-blowing waste, rewards military-industrial complex political spending with unfathomably large contracts — and fails to address priority national security needs” Weissman said. “The good news is: the American people are on to the racket and mobilizing to demand a reallocation of funding away from the Pentagon and to prioritize human needs.” 

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Peace through Strength? Excessive US Military Spending Encourages More War

Posted by M. C. on May 31, 2022

The surge in US military spending over the last two decades mirrors a dramatic increase in the number of US military interventions.

Mihai Macovei

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought America’s foreign policy interventions under the limelight once again. Ryan McMaken argues that the US administration’s claim that countries should not have the right to a sphere of influence, implicitly addressing Russia, is hypocritical. The US opposes a sphere of influence for Russia and other regional powers, while at the same time has steadily expanded its own global outreach. Among other, one can judge how true this is by looking at the amount of US military spending and size of its foreign military interventions.

The USA not only spends a disproportionately high amount of money on military relative to the rest of the world, but has also continued doing so when the Cold War was over and it could have set in motion a virtuous cycle of international disarmament. The USA has also multiplied its foreign military actions and engaged in controversial and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, harming both international peace and the global economy. From this point of view, Lew Rockwell’s scathing criticism of the US military interventions in Iraq and global hegemonic ambitions in general, appears still relevant after almost twenty-five years.

US Military Spending in Perspective

The US spends about 11 percent of its federal budget on defense, which is the third largest item after Social Security and Health, and costs almost twice as much as education. The US defense budget was $754 billion for the financial year 2022, before President Biden increased it by another $29 billion following the war in Ukraine.

However, this is not the full picture, because other federal spending is also closely tied to defense. The budgets of Department of Veterans Affairs ($113 billion), Homeland Security ($55 billion), the State Department ($64 billion), and the FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice ($10 billion) add another $242 billion to the base budget of the Department of Defense (DoD). By adding it all up, defense spending is set to exceed $1 trillion in 2022—i.e., 14 percent of the federal budget and 4 percent of gross domestic product.1

The US defense budget represents not only a significant burden on the domestic economy, but looks completely disproportionate relative to other countries’ military outlays. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) the US military spending is greater than those of the next ten largest military expenditures combined. At around $800 billion in 2021, the US military budget was almost three times higher than China’s ($293 billion) and twelve times larger than Russia’s ($66 billion).

Except for China’s military budget which has increased about ten times over the last two decades, albeit from a very low level, the steady increase in the US military spending has widened the gap with the rest of the World (graph 1). Together with its allies in Western Europe, the US spent on military three times more than Russia and China combined in 2021. As the annual spending differential between the US and other countries took place over many years, it means that the United States’ overall military supremacy in terms of stock and quality of military equipment is undisputable.

Graph 1: Annual military spending


Mahai Picture 1
Source: SIPRI

The key question is why the USA has not decreased dramatically its military spending when the Cold War was over and the main threat to its security disappeared. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union’s military spending was very high at about $220 billion and almost in the same ballpark with the $300 billion spent by the US. However, when the Soviet Union disintegrated and its economy collapsed in the early 1990s, Russia’s military spending shrunk to a puny $10 billion on average during that decade. Yet, despite being a nuclear superpower, the US kept its military spending at the Cold War level of around $300 billion and later increased it exponentially during the War on Terror.

Endless Foreign Military Interventions Post–Cold War

The surge in US military spending over the last two decades mirrors a dramatic increase in the number of US military interventions. Monica Duffy Toft shows that US military interventions—i.e., the deployment of US armed forces to other countries—intensified over time, in particular after the Cold War.

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After Afghanistan, Military Spending on Track to Go Up

Posted by M. C. on November 10, 2021

The defeat in Afghanistan offers a chance to rethink America’s war machine, but Congress is on the verge of raising military spending to $740 billion.

Peter Maass

Peter Maass

Around midday on August 15, the president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, was told by an adviser that Taliban fighters had entered the presidential palace and were looking for him room by room. This was not true, but Ghani, aware that ousted presidents do not have long lives in his country, hurried himself and his wife to a military helicopter and fled for Uzbekistan. Without time to fetch any personal belongings, he left Kabul in plastic sandals and a thin coat, according to a Washington Post account of that day.

Afghanistan was supposed to be the “good war” after 9/11, the one with a legitimate purpose and a happy ending. That also didn’t turn out to be true, but while the war’s momentum favored the Taliban for years, its final act had the suddenness of a guillotine, with a lot more pain. At Kabul’s airport, desperate Afghans clung to the sides of a departing U.S. cargo plane. Panicked families tried to get onto the diminishing number of evacuation flights. And 13 U.S. troops helping keep the airport open were killed in a suicide bombing. Just before midnight on August 30, the last U.S. aircraft and the last U.S. soldier got out of Kabul.

Guess what happened?

To understand the next step, you need to go back to April, when President Joe Biden proposed a $715 billion Pentagon budget for 2022, which represented a 1.6 percent increase from 2021. Progressives like Lee were not pleased — and were even less pleased in late July when the Senate Armed Services Committee added $25 billion to Biden’s proposal. This “plus-up,” as it’s called, raised the budget to $740 billion, a 5 percent increase over the previous year. At that rate, military spending over the next decade would easily exceed $7 trillion, or four times more than the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better program that Biden is trying to push through Congress.

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The Real Reason Why Trump Cancelled The Iran Deal | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on December 30, 2019

Currently, companies such as Lockheed Martin are thriving as they had done during WW II, but the sheer corruption in America’s military spending is this time the reason,

Thus, we’re in the condition of ‘permanent war for permanent peace’ — to satisfy the military contractors and the billionaires who control them.

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The following is entirely from open online sources that I have been finding to be trustworthy on these matters in the past. These sources will be linked-to here; none of this information is secret, even though some details in my resulting analysis of it will be entirely new.

It explains how and why the bottom-line difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama, regarding US national security policies, turns out to be their different respective estimations of the biggest danger threatening the maintenance of the US dollar as the world’s leading or reserve currency. This has been the overriding foreign-policy concern for both Presidents.

Obama placed as being the top threat to the dollar, a breakaway of the EU (America’s largest market both for exports and for imports) from alliance with the United States. He was internationally a Europhile. Trump, however, places as being the top threat to the dollar, a breakaway of Saudi Arabia and of the other Gulf Arab oil monarchies from the U.S. Trump is internationally a Sunni-phile: specifically a protector of fundamentalist Sunni monarchs — but especially of the Sauds themselves — and they hate Shia and especially the main Shia nation, Iran.

Here’s how that change, to Saudi Arabia as being America’s main ally, has happened — actually it’s a culmination of decades. Trump is merely the latest part of that process of change. Here is from the US State Department’s official historian, regarding this history:

By the 1960s, a surplus of US dollars caused by foreign aid, military spending, and foreign investment threatened this system [the FDR-established 1944 Bretton Woods gold-based US dollar as the world’s reserve currency], as the United States did not have enough gold to cover the volume of dollars in worldwide circulation at the rate of $35 per ounce; as a result, the dollar was overvalued. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson adopted a series of measures to support the dollar and sustain Bretton Woods: foreign investment disincentives; restrictions on foreign lending; efforts to stem the official outflow of dollars; international monetary reform; and cooperation with other countries. Nothing worked. Meanwhile, traders in foreign exchange markets, believing that the dollar’s overvaluation would one day compel the US government to devalue it, proved increasingly inclined to sell dollars. This resulted in periodic runs on the dollar.

It was just such a run on the dollar, along with mounting evidence that the overvalued dollar was undermining the nation’s foreign trading position, which prompted President Richard M. Nixon to act, on August 13, 1971 [to end the convertibility of dollars to gold].

When Nixon ended the gold-basis of the dollar and then in 1974 secretly switched to the current oil-basis, this transformation of the dollar’s backing, from gold to oil, was intended to enable the debt-financing (as opposed to the tax-financing, which is less acceptable to voters) of whatever military expenditure would be necessary in order to satisfy the profit-needs of Lockheed Corporation and of the other US manufacturers whose only markets are the US Government and its allied governments, as well as of US extractive industries such as oil and mining firms, which rely heavily upon access to foreign natural resources, as well as of Wall Street and its need for selling debt and keeping interest-rates down (and stock-prices — and therefore aristocrats’ wealth — high and rtising). This 1974 secret agreement between Nixon and King Saud lasts to the present day, and has worked well for both aristocracies. It met the needs of the very same “military-industrial complex” (the big US Government contractors) that the prior Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, had warned might take control of US foreign policies. As Bloomberg’s Andrea Wong on 30 May 2016 explained the Nixon system that replaced the FDR system, “The basic framework was strikingly simple. The US would buy oil from Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom military aid and equipment. In return, the Saudis would plow billions of their petrodollar revenue back into Treasuries and finance America’s spending.”

This new system didn’t only supply a constant flow of Saudi tax-money to the US Government; it supplied a constant flow of new sales-orders and profits to the military firms that were increasingly coming to control the US Government — for the benefit of both aristocracies: the Sauds, and America’s billionaires.

That was near the end of the FDR-produced 37-year period of US democratic leadership of the world, the era that had started at Bretton Woods in 1944. It came crashing to an end not in 1974 (which was step two after the 1971 step one had ended the 1944 system) but on the day when Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981. The shockingly sudden ascent, from that moment on, of US federal Government debt (to be paid-off by future generations instead of by current taxpayers) is shown, right here, in a graph of “US Federal Debt as Percent of GDP, 1940-2015”, where you can see that the debt had peaked above 90% of GDP late in WW II between 1944-1948, and then plunged during Bretton Woods, but in 1981 it started ascending yet again, until reaching that WW II peak for a second time, as it has been ever since 2010, when Obama bailed-out the mega-banks and their mega-clients, but didn’t bail out the American public, whose finances had been destroyed by those banksters’ frauds, which Obama refused to prosecute; and, so, economic inequality in America got even more extreme after the 2008 George W. Bush crash, instead of less extreme afterward (as had always happened in the past).

Above 90% debt/GDP during and immediately following WW II was sound policy, but America’s going again above 90% since 2010 has reflected simply an aristocratic heist of America, for only the aristocracy’s benefit — all of the benefits going only to the super-rich.

Another, and more-current US graph shows that, as of the first quarter of 2018, this percentage (debt/GDP) is, yet again, back now to its previous all-time record high of 105-120%%, which had been reached only in 1945-1947 (when it was justified by the war).

Currently, companies such as Lockheed Martin are thriving as they had done during WW II, but the sheer corruption in America’s military spending is this time the reason, no World War (yet); so, this time, America is spending like in an all-out-war situation, even before the Congress has issued any declaration of war at all. Everybody except the American public knows that the intense corruptness of the US military is the reason for this restoration of astronomical ‘defense’ spending, even during peace-time. A major poll even showed that ‘defense’ spending was the only spending by the federal Government which Americans in 2017 wanted increased; they wanted all other federal spending to be reduced (though there was actually vastly more corruption in military spending than in any other type — the public have simply been hoodwinked).

But can the US Government’s extreme misallocation of wealth, from the public to the insiders, continue without turning this country into a much bigger version of today’s Greece? More and more people around the world are worrying about that. Of course, Greece didn’t have the world’s reserve currency, but what would happen to the net worths of America’s billionaires if billionaires worldwide were to lose faith in the dollar? Consequently, there’s intensified Presidential worrying about how much longer foreign investors will continue to trust the oil-based dollar.

America’s political class now have two competing ideas to deal with this danger, Obama’s versus Trump’s, both being about how to preserve the dollar in a way that best serves the needs of ‘defense’ contractors, extractive firms, and Wall Street. Obama chose Europe (America’s largest market) as America’s chief ally (he was Euro-centric against Russia); Trump chose the owner of Saudi Arabia (he’s Saudi-Israeli centric against Iran) — that’s the world’s largest weapons-purchaser, as well as the world’s largest producer of oil (as well as the largest lobbies).

The Saudi King owns Saudi Arabia, including the world’s largest and most valuable oil company, Aramco, whose oil is the “sweetest” — the least expensive to extract and refine — and is also the most abundant, in all of the world, and so he can sell petroleum at a profit even when his competitors cannot. Oil-prices that are so low as to cause economic losses for other oil companies, can still be generating profits — albeit lowered ones — for King Saud; and this is the reason why his decisions determine how much the global oil-spigot will be turned on, and how low the global oil-price will be, at any given time. He controls the value of the US dollar. He controls it far more directly, and far more effectively, than the EU can. It would be like, under the old FDR-era Bretton Woods system, controlling the exchange-rates of the dollar, by raising or lowering the amount of gold produced. But this is liquid gold, and King Saud determines its price.

Furthermore, King Saud also leads the Gulf Cooperation Council of all other Arab oil monarchs, such as those who own UAE — all of them are likewise US allies and major weapons-buyers.

In an extraordinarily fine recent article by Pepe Escobar at Asia Times, “Oil and gas geopolitics: no shelter from the storm”, he quotes from his not-for-attribution interviews with “EU diplomats,” and reports:

After the Trump administration’s unilateral pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), European Union diplomats in Brussels, off the record, and still in shock, admit that they blundered by not “configuring the eurozone as distinct and separate to the dollar hegemony”. Now they may be made to pay the price of their impotence via their “outlawed” trade with Iran. …

As admitted, never on the record, by experts in Brussels; the EU has got to reevaluate its strategic alliance with an essentially energy independent US, as “we are risking all our energy resources over their Halford Mackinder geopolitical analysis that they must break up [the alliance between] Russia and China.”

That’s a direct reference to the late Mackinder epigone Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, who died dreaming of turning China against Russia.

In Brussels, there’s increased recognition that US pressure on Iran, Russia and China is out of geopolitical fear the entire Eurasian land mass, organized as a super-trading bloc via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), [and] the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), is slipping away from Washington’s influence.

This analysis gets closer to how the three key nodes of 21st century Eurasia integration – Russia, China and Iran – have identified the key issue; both the euro and the yuan must bypass the petrodollar, the ideal means, as the Chinese stress, to “end the oscillation between strong and weak dollar cycles, which has been so profitable for US financial institutions, but lethal to emerging markets.” …

It’s also no secret among Persian Gulf traders that in the – hopefully unlikely – event of a US-Saudi-Israeli war in Southwest Asia against Iran, a real scenario war-gamed by the Pentagon would be “the destruction of oil wells in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council]. The Strait of Hormuz does not have to be blocked, as destroying the oil wells would be far more effective.”

And what the potential loss of over 20% of the world’s oil supply would mean is terrifying; the implosion, with unforeseen consequences, of the quadrillion derivatives pyramid, and consequentially [consequently] of the entire Western financial casino superstructure.

In other words: it’s not the ‘threat’ that perhaps, some day, Iran will have nuclear warheads, that is actually driving Trump’s concern here (despite what Israel’s concerns are about that matter), but instead, it is his concerns about Iran’s missiles, which constitute the delivery-system for any Iranian warheads: that their flight-range be short enough so that the Sauds will be outside their range. (The main way Iran intends to respond to an invasion backed by the US, is to attack Saudi Arabia — Iran’s leaders know that the US Government is more dependent upon the Sauds than upon Israel — so, Iran’s top targets would be Saudi capital Riyadh, and also the Ghawar oil field, which holds over half of Saudi oil. If US bases have been used in the invasion, then all US bases in the Middle East are also be within the range of Iran’s missiles and therefore would also probably be targeted.)

Obama’s deal with Iran had focused solely upon preventing Iran from developing nuclear warheads — which Obama perhaps thought (mistakenly) would dampen Israel’s (and its billionaire US financial backers’) ardor for the US to conquer Iran. Israel had publicly said that their concern was Iran’s possibility to become a nuclear power like Israel became; those possible future warheads were supposed to be the issue; but, apparently, that wasn’t actually the issue which really drove Israel. Obama seems to have thought that it was, but it wasn’t, actually. Israel, like the Sauds, want Iran conquered. Simple. The nuclear matter was more an excuse than an explanation.

With Trump now in the White House, overwhelmingly by money from the Israel lobbies (proxies also for the Sauds) — and with no equivalently organized Jewish opposition to the pro-Israel lobbies (and so in the United States, for a person to be anti-Israel is viewed as being anti-Semitic, which is not at all true, but Israel’s lies say it’s true and many Americans unfortunately believe it) — Trump has not only the Sauds and their allies requiring him to be against Iran and its allies, but he has also got this pressure coming from Israel: both the Big-Oil and the Jewish lobbies drive him. Unlike Obama, who wasn’t as indebted to the Jewish lobbies, Trump needs to walk the plank for both the Sauds and Israel.

In other words: Trump aims to keep the dollar as the reserve currency by suppressing not only China but also the two main competitors of King Saud: Iran and Russia. That’s why America’s main ‘enemies’ now are those three countries and their respective allies.

Obama was likewise targeting them, but in a different priority-order, with Russia being the main one (thus Obama’s takeover of Ukraine in February 2014 turning it against Russia, next door); and that difference was due to Obama’s desire to be favorably viewed by the residents in America’s biggest export and import market, the EU, and so his bringing another member (Ukraine) into the EU (which still hasn’t yet been culminated).

Trump is instead building on his alliance with King Saud and the other GCC monarchs, a group who can more directly cooperate to control the value of the US dollar than the EU can. Furthermore, both conservative (including Orthodox) Jews in the United States, and also white evangelical Protestants in the US, are strongly supportive of Israel, which likewise sides with the Arab oil monarchs against Iran and its allies. Trump needs these people’s votes.

Trump also sides with the Sauds against Canada. That’s a matter which the theorists who assert that Israel controls the US, instead of that the Sauds (allied with America’s and Israel’s billionaires) control the US, ignore; they ignore whatever doesn’t fit their theory. Of course, a lot doesn’t fit their theory (which equates “Jews” with “Israelis” and alleges that “they” control the world), but people whose prejudices are that deep-seated, can’t be reached by any facts which contradict their self-defining prejudice. Since it defines themselves, it’s a part of them, and they can never deny it, because to do so would be to deny who and what they are, and they refuse to change that. The Sauds control the dollar; Israel does not, but Israel does the lobbying, and both the Sauds and Israel want Iran destroyed. Trump gets this pressure not only from the billionaires but from his voters.

And, of course, Democratic Party billionaires push the narrative that Russia controls America. It used to be the Republican Joseph R. McCarthy’s accusation, that the “commies” had “infiltrated”, especially at the State Department. So: Trump kicked out Russia’s diplomats, to satisfy those neocons — the neoconservatives of all Parties and persuasions, both conservative and liberal.

To satisfy the Sauds, despite the EU, Trump has dumped the Iran deal. And he did it also to satisfy Israel, the main US lobbyists for the Sauds. (Americans are far more sympathetic to Jews than to Arabs; the Sauds are aware of this; Israel handles their front-office.) For Trump, the Sauds are higher priority than Europe; even Israel (who are an expense instead of a moneybag for the US Government) are higher priority than Europe. Both the Sauds and Israel together are vastly higher. And the Sauds alone are higher priority for Trump than are even Canada and Europe combined. Under Trump, anything will be done in order to keep the Sauds and their proxy-lobbyists (Israel) ‘on America’s side’.

Consequently, Trump’s political base is mainly against Iran and for Israel, but Obama’s was mainly against Russia and for the EU. Obama’s Democratic Party still are controlled by the same billionaires as before; and, so, Democrats continue demonizing Russia, and are trying to make as impossible as they can, any rapprochement with Russia — and, therefore, they smear Trump for anything he might try to do along those lines.

Both Obama and Trump have been aiming to extend America’s aristocracy’s dominance around the world, but they employ different strategies toward that politically bipartisan American-aristocratic objective: the US Government’s global control, for the benefit of the US aristocracy, at everyone else’s expense. Obama and Trump were placed into the White House by different groups of US billionaires, and each nominee serves his/her respective sponsors, no public anywhere — not even their voters’ welfare.

An analogous example is that, whereas Fox News, Forbes, National Review, The Weekly Standard, American Spectator, Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Breitbart News, InfoWars, Reuters, and AP, are propagandists for the Republican PartyNPR, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Mother Jones, The Atlantic, The New Republic, New Yorker, New York Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and Salon, are propagandists for the Democratic Party; but, they all draw their chief sponsors from the same small list of donors who are America’s billionaires, since these few people control the top advertisers, investors, and charities, and thus control nearly all of the nation’s propaganda. The same people who control the Government control the public; but, America isn’t a one-Party dictatorship. America is, instead, a multi-Party dictatorship. And this is how it functions.

Trump cancelled the Iran deal because a different group of billionaires are now in control of the White House, and of the rest of the US Government. Trump’s group demonize especially Iran; Obama’s group demonize especially Russia. That’s it, short. That’s America’s aristocratic tug-of-war; but both sides of it are for invasion, and for war. Thus, we’re in the condition of ‘permanent war for permanent peace’ — to satisfy the military contractors and the billionaires who control them. Any US President who would resist that, would invite assassination; but, perhaps in Trump’s case, impeachment, or other removal-from-office, would be likelier. In any case, the sponsors need to be satisfied — or else — and Trump knows this.

Trump is doing what he thinks he has to be doing, for his own safety. He’s just a figurehead for a different faction of the US aristocracy, than Obama was. He’s doing what he thinks he needs to be doing, for his survival. Political leadership is an extremely dangerous business. Trump is playing a slightly different game of it than Obama did, because he represents a different faction than Obama did. These two factions of the US aristocracy are also now battling each other for political control over Europe.

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Corruption and The Security Sector




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America’s Military Is Misdirected, Not Underfunded – Defense One

Posted by M. C. on November 4, 2019

The real problem with current U.S. security strategy is that it is aimed at the wrong targets and employs the wrong tools to deal with the most urgent challenges we face.

U.S. strategy should be more focused on preventing conflict with nuclear-armed China than on spinning out elaborate war-fighting scenarios.

The Heritage Foundation released its 500-page index of military strength this week. Unfortunately, what it achieves in length is undermined by its stale and unpersuasive assumptions.

As usual, Heritage gives all of the military services low marks. While there’s always room for improvement, the Heritage methodology seems arbitrary at best, and misleading at worst. The biggest complaint in the index is that America’s military is a “one-war force” that could not win simultaneous wars against Russia and China. But the two-war standard is a convenient myth that has historically had more to do with justifying high Pentagon budgets than it has with any rational assessment of the primary security challenges facing the United States and its allies.

The Center for International Policy’s Sustainable Defense Task Force – a group of ex-White House and Congressional budget experts, ex-military and Pentagon officials, and representatives of think tanks from across the political spectrum – takes a different view of the issue of great power rivalry.

Our European allies spend three times as much on their military forces as Russia does. Given better coordination and a more coherent strategy, they are more than capable of taking the lead in addressing any conceivable military challenge posed by Russia, with a reduced level of direct U.S. support. In any case, the greatest threats posed by the Putin regime – hybrid warfare, nuclear weapons, support for divisive nationalist parties, and cyber-attacks – cannot be dealt with by traditional military means.

Related: The National Defense Strategy Is No Strategy

Related: What’s Great Power Competition? No One Really Knows

Related: Is the Pentagon Truly Committed to the National Defense Strategy?

As for China, its biggest long-term challenge is economic, not military. Beijing’s aggressive global infrastructure initiatives are garnering priority access to key resources, and its steady economic growth could allow it to catch up with the U.S. military within the next two decades. But there is much that can be done to head off that eventuality, and the primary tool for doing so should not be bulking up the U.S. naval presence in the Pacific.

U.S. strategy should be more focused on preventing conflict with China – a war between two nuclear powers that would be a disaster for all concerned – than on spinning out elaborate war-fighting scenarios…

U.S. policy towards Russia and China should seek areas of potential cooperating rather than assuming unending confrontation. Climate change and nuclear arms control are two promising avenues for joint effort. As happened during the Cold War, nuclear arms control can be pursued even during periods of tension between Washington and Moscow. Reversing the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle the carefully crafted hard-won system of global nuclear arms control – from abandoning the multilateral deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program to walking away from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty – needs to be reversed, and the sooner the better. And there will be no progress on climate change without substantial cooperation between the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

The truth is, a policy that takes a more realistic view of great power rivalry; abandons planning for large-scale counterinsurgency and nation building initiatives like those that have been pursued in Iraq and Afghanistan; adopts a deterrence-only nuclear strategy along the lines outlined by the organization Global Zero; and cuts excess bureaucracy could allow for at least a 10 percent reduction in the size of the U.S. military and save $1.2 trillion from current Pentagon plans over the next decade.

In short, when it comes to U.S. military spending and capabilities, the sky is not falling, whatever the new Heritage analysis may allege. In fact, the United States is projected to spend over $1 trillion more during the decade covered by the Budget Control Act than in the prior decade, when the U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan were at peak levels…

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US Military Spending Bill Fails in Senate With Dispute Over Border Wall – News From

Posted by M. C. on November 1, 2019

And now for something completely different.

We need more gridlock.

A bundle of spending bills including the US military, Department of Labor, and Health and Human Services failed in the Senate on Thursday, with a procedural vote that needed 60 votes ending up 51-41.

The votes are heavily a political issue surrounding attempts to shift some of the military budget into building a border wall at Mexico, a top Trump priority. The bills only got through the Appropriations Committee on a vote entirely along party lines.

When it got to the Senate floor, Republicans were banking on accusing the Democrats of not supporting the military. This failed, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) saying that they’re trying to stop the Republicans from “stealing money from our military and putting it into the wall.”

With almost no Democrat support, there was no way the Senate was getting to 60 votes. There had been closed door talks on how to move ahead on this issue with the border wall hanging over everyone’s head.

To make matters even more complicated, there has been protracted fighting on reconciling the bill between the House, where the Democrats are in control, and the Senate. This is something they’ve struggled with for some time, with President Trump angrily condemning the Congressional Democrats as “failing” in not giving him the money for his wall.

That they ended up stopping the talks, and having a vote that was likely to fail, reflects how little idea anyone has on how to sort this out. Instead, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and other committee leaders were counting on saying that military spending “should come first” as excuse enough to push the bill through. But it just wasn’t, and with time running out they may have to accept another continuing resolution to punt the matter into early 2020.

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Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2019

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Russia Drops Out of Top Five in Global Military Spending – News From

Posted by M. C. on April 30, 2019

The latest Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) data on global military spending showed a surprising shift, as while the US remained predictably far ahead of everyone else, the Russian Federation has fallen completely out of the top five.

This wasn’t expected, but also shouldn’t be a huge shock. Despite the US hyping Russia as a threat for decades, Russia hasn’t spent deeply on its military in years, and drawing down from Syria, they don’t have much costly overseas engagement.

By contrast, after the usual top two of the US and China, of which US is by far spending the most, third is Saudi Arabia, which has been spending about 10% of their GDP annually on the military since invading Yemen. Fourth on the list is India, which is spending heavily to gear up for confrontations against Pakistan as well as China…




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Rand Paul, Fiscal Hypocrisy and Military Spending-Is There a Method to the Madness?

Posted by M. C. on February 9, 2018

We were having a light hearted on Rand Paul’s fiscal hypocrisy/government shutdown comments. I mentioned the only way out of the debt crisis was reneging on all the debt.

A colleague mentioned that is a good reason to keep up the military spending, we would need it. Think China and Russia.

Reneging is not an unheard of debt solution. Is this a scenario in the deep, dark, dank, decaying recesses of the pentagram, CIA and the CIA branch office-congress?

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