Empire and the Military Industrial Complex - Can the Addiction Be Kicked?

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There's been a lot of speculation in recent months as to what the Empire on the Trumpwagon is up to, how the rest of the world is reacting and will react and what it all portends. Many are predicting the end of Empire and that the impetus will come from the rest of the world basically telling the Empire to stay home and shut the fuck up, Trump being the last straw. (Tell me what Hillary Clinton would have done differently.)

I was thinking about that in a broader sense, i.e., what does that mean to me, a card carrying peasant and subject of the Empire. I often do that while the daily/weekly "follow the red ball" is being played by most of the political internet. Invariably the answer is "nothing" in that whatever it was or is changes nothing regarding my status as peasant/subject. I'm still a peasant/subject.

See, that's what I'm most interested in. Changing that status.

Take this latest business with Trump dropping the Iran deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and implementing further sanctions against Iran, indirectly sanctioning those that deal or want to deal with Iran. We can speculate all we want as to what happens next and in the long run but what does it really matter? Other than it leading to another fucking war that could end up in, how do those Christians put it? Armageddon?

But does it change my status as a peasant/subject? No. I still need to change my status (unless Armageddon happens, then I don't know).

None of this will stop anyway unless we change our status.

I was reading a couple articles today that, in my opinion, paint a sobering picture for those who think the Empire is on it's way out. One was about how the U.S. is now, after the reneging on the Iran deal, going to also renege on the INF Treaty. Now really, considering what's happened under Trump, is that a surprise, the U.S. reneging on a another deal? And if that's not a surprise, just think of the possibilities. Fuck every deal man, it's on. Do you see what's happening here?

"The US has just pulled out of the Iran deal. The INF Treaty is next. The campaign to render defunct yet another major arms-control agreement is already gaining momentum. On May 10, the House Armed Services Committee endorsed a measure authorizing President Donald Trump to decide the fate of the INF Treaty with Russia. This addition to a draft defense bill states that the agreement is no longer binding. The bill includes funds for developing a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM), which, if tested, will violate the treaty terms."

That would be nuclear tipped GLCMs. The Army is also working on long range artillery rockets that can exceed the 500 km range in violation of the INF and the "Aegis Ashore Mk-41 launchers have already been installed in Romania and soon to be deployed in Poland," showing the treaty has effectively already been placed in the history bin.

The author warns that if the INF Treaty is no longer binding then we can expect an "unprecedented arms race" and another possible rift among EU allies if Russia deploys intermediate range missiles in reaction. They would be reachable while the U.S. would not, a practice our rulers are pretty good at, i.e., keeping the wars off our land.

"Finally, the unraveling of the INF Treaty will greatly complicate if not eliminate, any prospects, for the New START. And without the latter, there will be no agreement to curb the arms race at all. Arms control will be dead. We’ll be back to where we were in the late 1950s-early 60s. And if a spark should kindle a fire, we’ll all find ourselves back in the Stone Age."

Can you hear that? It's the military industrial complex squealing like a pig.

What was that Albert Einstein quote?

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

(Disclaimer: I own property over an ancient river rock bed with a forested area.)

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/05/16/iran-deal-abandoned-in...

The other article was about how the U.S. and NATO are "escalating to conflict".

"The Trump Administration in Washington is ramping up confrontation and preparing for war all over the globe, from the South China Sea to the Baltic via the Persian Gulf. The countries of the US-NATO military alliance have vastly increased their military spending and are boosting deployment of their forces in Europe in accordance with the policy of Enhanced Forward Presence — the positioning of strike aircraft, missile-armed ships and armoured formations as close as possible to Russia’s border."

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/05/16/washington-and-nato-ar...

The article points out how military expenditures for NATO countries have been steadily increasing and how the focus of the New World Order imperialists has shifted to Russia and China as growing threats requiring greatly increased military expenditures. Of course, that is the final step to the New World Order, tackling this Russia/China thing. As you might recall, Trump campaigned on and continues to call for massive increases in military spending with a nearly 160 billion increase in just the last two years. The plan is to maintain that level of increase for up to ten years including the nuclear weapon modernization project started under Obama the Warmonger. I read an article today about a prominent thinktank in D.C. complaining that it's just not enough, they want more and more.

The military industrial complex, which could be called the military/intelligence/national security complex (or more), is massive and represents an enormous sector of the U.S. economy spread throughout all fifty states as well as the global economy. "It" needs the threat of enemies to ensure it's gravy train continues, to facilitate the expenditures necessary for imagining, creating and building new weapons, jets, ships, anything that anyone can imagine to use in killing people and destroying the planet.

It could be a literally unstoppable force that "trumps" anything else that can be speculated regarding the status of the U.S. Empire. The dollar as reserve currency? Nah, the military industrial complex, it's human nature. It's not just a U.S. feature, it's a global feature. China has it's own military industrial complex, Russia has logged in second in global military weapon sales for over a decade and NATO countries have been hooked like the addicts they are. Look around, everybody's doing it.

Those thinking the Empire is on it's way down need to consider one thing, the Military Industrial Complex. It's stronger than ever, it's voracious and it will fight for it's life to the very end. Ike warned us of that about 57 years ago. It's much worse now.

We're being ruled by a criminal class that will do anything to retain their power. That has been proven repeatedly throughout history. The only answer is revolution, i.e., take the power from the criminals who have it which means taking down the democratic and republican political parties. The criminal class retains their power through the duopoly political system which is what the system was intended to do from the beginning. Ask Thomas Jefferson, he'll tell ya.

This was 57 years ago. You need to imagine how much stronger the MIC is today to understand what we're up against. For instance, 57 years ago most television broadcast was in black and white, the Soviet Union was the enemy and sometimes Presidents spoke the truth. Extrapolate from there.

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Comments

As Eisenhower said, "only and alert and knowledgeable citizenry" could prevent "the disastrous rise of misplaced power" represented by the military industrial complex.

I think we're trying to be both alert and knowledgeable. We're becoming aware that the Department of Defense has lost track of or has or mis-represented the spending of $21 trillion in recent years. There's a point at which we will stop signing off on such malfeasance. We might even demand an accounting, which would be real interesting.

Your list of current behavior by the military industrial complex and its mouthpieces makes me very depressed. But that mic pig may be squealing because some branches of the federal government and, more importantly, the American military, may be turning against the industry of death, as are some European as well as Asian governments.

The thing that has its adversaries weary and outraged is that the crazy behavior of the military industrial complex has no benefits now for Europe, Asia, nor America. And while their ability to fake chemical attacks and produce frightening media proclamations does terrify us, the case for total war still has to pass the test of practical reality. Plus Europe is broke. Plus Asia is manufacturing. Plus America is $21 trillion in debt, which doesn't impress anyone.

The problem with the industry of death and the war economy is that it destroys everything, kills children, and costs too much. Plus driving refugees to countries that have to house and feed and provide life-saving medical care for them. Where are the pluses?

I know you know this. But I want you to be hopeful.

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Big Al's picture

@Linda Wood we are alert and we are knowledgeable. Hope that's good enough but I personally never give up hope. Even after reading and researching about war, imperialism and the crimes of the ruling class for over ten years, I still have hope humans can pull their heads out of their asses and get it right.
That said, the MIC over the last fifteen years has grown significantly and the global arms trade is booming. There is huge incentive to keep this going.
I once read an article where the author predicted the next enemy after terrorism would be aliens from outer space. Kind of goes with Trump talking about a "Space Corps". One way or another this is going to keep going. And that's what activists should understand, that all this war and militarism will go on strongly for the foreseeable future, ten, twenty, years out and more. That should be incentive enough to try to stop them now.

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CS in AZ's picture

@Big Al

Your essay is very timely for me tonight Big Al. I’m not sure I do have hope anymore that humans will ever get their shit together and get it right. Or maybe some distant day, in a few hundred more years... but I think the nearer future is pretty bleak because as you say, they have enormous power and are not stopping, the war machine is in high gear. We, here, are aware and see others who are, but in general the masses are falling in line, militarism and endless war are being taken for granted and fading into the background — see the current “progressive insurgency” for a taste of how irrelevant the war issue is. Americans struggling to pay the bills don’t have the luxury of being informed or investing time digging up information, and the tv sure doesn’t tell them. We don’t have an informed citizenry. We don’t have a cohesive movement with a unified vision.

I truly admire your optimism and your dedication. I mean that. What’s really interesting to me is recently I’ve been looking totally outside politics for ideas on how humans might get their shit together and get it right. And there are actually some hopeful signs and things happening. I’m working on synthesizing all these various threads. Maybe I’ll write more about it at some point. I’d like to hope there is a way forward that does not involve another dark age in humanity’s near future.

Thanks as always for writing, you always make me think. Smile

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k9disc's picture

of the Pentagon's New Map (book and, more importantly, powerpoint presentation) said it plain as day in his powerpoint presentation that he gave to all the Establishment selling the neoliberal PNAC's version of perpetual war to secure the "American Peace".

"The job of the Pentagon is not to protect the American people – I could write that budget, tomorrow, for $100B. The job of the Pentagon is to dream up the future of warfare and to assemble the force to win it."

Within the same 10 minute span of his presentation he also casually mentioned that we are actually financing our debt by exporting security through out the world.

It completely freaked me out. I'll never forget it, that's for sure. That quote is from memory and it's, perhaps a word or two off with a punctuation error or 2.

So, we have to also realize that this part of Empire is not only financing profit, but it is covering our massive debt. MASSIVE debt.

War markets and international security bonds – Grow or die, baby. What could possibly go wrong?

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Big Al's picture

@k9disc vendors and contractors selling their wares, and ideas, to the government. There is no better sales entity on the planet than the MIC who present ideas, projects and products to the Pentagon.
As for the MIC financing our debt, I'm not sure I understand that. The interest on the debt comes off the top of the U.S. budget.

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k9disc's picture

for people like the Saudis and other deep state dependents with substantial holdings of US debt. But I never really understood it; much like I don't understand the forward deployment in 1000 bases and 100+ countries.

@Big Al

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

gulfgal98's picture

@k9disc This (2013)confirms what I remember about the US debt. The single largest entity holding US debt is the Social Security Trust Fund. This is one reason why they are so anxious to cut or privatize SS. The largest foreign holders of US debt are China and Japan.

The biggest are the Social Security trust funds (16 percent), the Federal Reserve banks (12 percent), China (8 percent), Japan (7 percent) and mutual funds including money-market funds (6 percent).

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

k9disc's picture

They own just about everything, why not use their clout to affect foreign policy? Blackrock & Vanguard have $10T invested - that's a LOT of cheddar.

And which reserve banks? The FED, obviously, but what other sovereign bankster endeavors require massive security?

Maybe I should try to unwind Blackrock & Vanguard and see.

@gulfgal98

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

@gulfgal98 Tear up the Iran deal, INF deal, Social Security. Government by tearing up. Awesome.

But I'm a little hopeful. Post Trump, if the democrats keep on keeping on with no real change, younger people are going to invent a way out. There are leaders out there that don't know their time is coming. TPTB have pushed every other solution except the ones that work.

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CS in AZ's picture

@Big Al

On September 11, 2001, I was working as a tech writer and editor at a large data warehousing company in Southern California. “Big data” in the early days, our company ran systems for major banks, airlines, etc. My job was system documentation for service techs. Our system had to be up 24/7/365, and by contract we paid huge fines to the customers per hour whenever it was down for any reason. Techs had to fix any problems extremely fast, under extreme pressure.

So on 9/11, we all sat there at work starring at the televisions. Everyone was in shock. Within a very short time, maybe a few weeks, we had an all-hands meeting where our VP talked about huge new opportunities for federal government contracts. The era of big data was suddenly going to take off like never before, and the federal gov was our new #1 customer... coming very soon. It was supposed to be good news. People clapped. Ugh.

I’m so glad to be out of that world now.

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Lenzabi's picture

He did warn the people as he exited. Sadly, the message was forgotten by too many.

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So long, and thanks for all the fish

snoopydawg's picture

For starters she would have gotten us more involved in Syria and would have by now created her no fly zone.

Caitlin takes the Orwellian mask off on whether Israel runs our government and foreign policies or if we run theirs.

People who say America controls Israel or Israel controls America are engaged in bad conspiracy theory. We don’t live in a world where the lines between nations mean anything to those with real power; in reality “Israel” and “America” are both purely conceptual constructs which only exist to the extent that people believe in them. There is no actual “Israel” which can exert control over an actual “America”, and vice versa. It isn’t nations and governments pulling the strings of real power in the world, it’s a class of plutocrats who aren’t ultimately answerable to any government. This class of plutocrats uses governments like Israel, the US, the UK, and the KSA to advance its agendas to exploit, loot and plunder the rest of humanity.

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We have the gaul to tell China to stop building up to islands close to their country because the China seas belong to us. We have moved a fleet of ships off their coast because of this.

We're accusing Russia of being aggressive in Ukraine after we overthrew its government and installed neo Nazis in the government. Russia is also being accused of being aggressive for annexing Crimea when the fact was that Crimeans didn't want anything to do with the murderous Nazi regime government and they voted to go with Russia. We've moved a fleet of ships into the Black Sea because of their aggression.

I'm sure that you can imagine what we'd do if Russian ships were being parked in the Gulf of Mexico or Chinese ships were parked in the Pacific area. But then they aren't exceptional countries like we are.

The question ....

What is the concept of American exceptionalism according to most Americans?

"In its classic forms, American exceptionalism refers to the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty.

The truth

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Governments exist preeminently to maximize the profits, resources and the power of the wealthy

mimi's picture

... have nothing much to say or add, just admitting that I was wondering a lot about how it is that so many of you apparently worked long years for the government could be so vocal against the government.

As to answer your question, if the addiction can be kicked ...and how to still be hopeful, if the answer is 'no'.

Nah, the military industrial complex, it's human nature. It's not just a U.S. feature, it's a global feature. China has it's own military industrial complex, Russia has logged in second in global military weapon sales for over a decade and NATO countries have been hooked like the addicts they are. Look around, everybody's doing it.

I don't know what therapists say about kicking an addiction. Some say you have to hit rock bottom. I would think most end up dead if they hit rock bottom. How many can you save from their addiction's destructive powers? Very few. How about still keeping hope?
Ahh, jeez, I just offer the female illogical mind. You keep up hope no matter what and how silly it seems to be. As long as nobody has something better to offer, I rather be silly and illogic than smart and logic, if it helps to survive the next day.

Cray 2

kudos for you essay. Going to read the links now. Thanks.

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mimi's picture

@mimi
link

For example, Exercise Siil 2018 was held in Estonia from 2-13 May 2018, involving over 15,000 troops from 10 NATO countries — the UK, US, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — and the five supposedly neutral countries of Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Sweden and Ukraine.

There could not be a plainer signal that the Pentagon and its sub-branch in Brussels are escalating to conflict.

I just wait for one of the participants in the exercises to accidentally hit the wrong button ... I wonder how big the chances are that could happen. Wasn't there something like it recently (Hawaii) or not so recently (9/11)? It caused alerts and/or real disasters, right?
HelpHelpHelpHelpHelpHelpHelpHelpHelpHelpHelpHelp

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The Aspie Corner's picture

We've always loved imperialism and sucking dick for packing peanuts. Eisenhower, for all his qualms about imperialism, participated in the plot to destabilize Iran so they wouldn't nationalize their oil or, elements forbid, have anything close to left-wing governance.

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@The Aspie Corner

Eisenhower was a conservative, a Republican, and career Army, which is why his warning had peculiar meaning.

But in the light of seeing Trump ricochet off the extremes of saying we were getting out of Syria one moment, to saying we were attacking Syria with fire and fury the next, based on a new National Security Advisor foaming at the mouth over a non-verified chemical attack, I can see Eisenhower also being jerked around by the "Soviet threat" that was a constant meme of his so-called "advisors" like Averell Harriman, who were Nazi industrialists as well as Big Oil.

It still has meaning that Eisenhower's warning came as he was leaving office, still alive, and that his successor, whom he no doubt warned in no uncertain terms, died after going head-to-head in conflict with Harriman's lawyer, Allen Dulles, founder of our military industrial deep state.

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ggersh's picture

Jesse at the 5:45 mark starts w/unless we derail
this war machine, the MIC whick Ike warned about
we are going to fall and fall hard

EDIT: loses points for going after Dubya while
leaving empty suit on the sideline.

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Theory is when you know everything but
nothing works.
Practice is when everything works but
no one knows why.
In our lab, theory and practice are
combined: nothing works and nobody
knows why.

wendy davis's picture

big al. one of the most difficult hurdles to push back against is that now we're not facing simply the MIC, but the military industrial congressional news-edutainment complex accompanied by a zillion films and teevee programs glorifying 'war against our enemies'.

‘And the land, hitherto a common possession like the light of the sun and the breezes, the careful surveyor now marked out with long-drawn boundary lines. Not only were corn and needful foods demanded of the rich soil, but men bored into the bowels of the earth, and the wealth she had hidden and covered with Stygian darkness was dug up, an incentive to evil. And now noxious iron and gold more noxious still were produced: and these produced war – for wars are fought with both – and rattling weapons were hurled by bloodstained hands.’

(Ovid, written around 8 AD which laments humanity’s loss of its original Golden condition [Ovid Metamorphoses, Book 1, The Iron Age]). 1

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