According to a NYT op-ed by Peter Navarro, an assistant to the president and the director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, published March 19th, 2019, argues that hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on the American military is justified for two reasons:
It assuages adversaries from threatening American interests , and
2) Defense spending helps keep some manufacturing jobs alive.
As to the first point, America spent $610 billion dollars on defense in 2017, the largest amount of any nation. How much did the second-most on the list spend? $228 billion in China. What does that reason? It shows that America has no adversary abroad who could contend with our hegemony. It is beyond any argument that we need to spend this much when we already have a military so advanced. Some have even argued that since America has such an advanced nuclear arsenal it serves enough as a deterrent against others’ aggression, alone. Who needs tanks in a nuclear conflict?
As to point number two, the bloated defense budget is keeping some jobs here in the United States alive. But what we must focus on is the profits being made by companies making military equipment and providing defense services. It is well known that no-bid contracts are awarded more than often to companies by the government by the Dept. of Defense. But also, the heads of these companies are often former government officials who make the decisions about how that $610 billion dollars is spent. For example, V.P. Cheney first worked in the Department of Defense under Pres. Reagan then, once the regime had changed, Cheney went to sit on the board at Halliburton. When Cheney was picked by George W. Bush to be his V.P., and they conducted the invasion of Iraq, Halliburton received many no-bid contracts from the government for various services. Positions of government officials in the defense dept. have a revolving door between their time as so-called “servants of the people” and a private company’s board of directors.
The horrible crime is that even a small amount of $610 billion would be better spent elsewhere. We could rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, solve the housing crisis, fight the opioid epidemic, or even relocate and retrain the former manufacturing employees once their plants closedown. Just a thought…
In my previous post, I expressed the opinion that a major mistake made by Communist nations, both past and present, is that they moved too fast to make radical economic changes after their respective revolutions. Stalin’s “Five Year Plans”, Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”, and the very radical economic and societal moves made by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge left tens of millions dead. What I propose instead is that once a revolution is won here in the U.S., and a vanguard/transition party is established, we then move slowly into a socialist system.
Now, we can make major societal changes regarding human rights issues like LGBTQ issues, women’s equality and abortion rights, and of course, minority rights. And we should also start socializing major industries, like utility companies, the medical system, and other day-to-day human rights issues. But the last thing we want to do is something as radical as eliminating the money-based system or forcing people into collectives.
The reason for this is because the people are not yet informed about the nature of the Socialist/Communist system as of today. We need to create a new hegemonic culture based on equality and the new government-to-citizen relationship first. Italian scholar and Communist Antonio Gramsci iwrote about how capitalism is the hegemonic culture. So everything we know is based on that brutal system and, therefore, it is hard to think outside of it, especially in America where the entire history of our young nation is nothing but capitalism. We don’t have the history of a feudal system. Other nations do. So they have something to fall back on, culturally. So that’s why we need a vanguard/transitional party so immensely.
In conclusion, we must make a gradual change in our economic system. This will help the masses ease into a new leftist system. I arrived at this notion because, according to scholars, it took France’s democratic system to work itself out all the way from the storming of the Bastille in 1789, until 1898. So we must be patient and live with a gradual economic change. Plus, Ionce comfortable with the socialist system, the masses can then move into a Communist system for they will be educated in terms of the next steps towards emancipation.
So we cannot have a radical economic change in the U.S. after a far left revolution. The people need to be eased into a new system. Then we will be ready for a Communist system in the a post-socialist stage… even if it takes 100 years.
In opposition to my previous post, here’s a report on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stupefying views on military actions across the globe despite a shrinking military budget.
* They should take it a little bit easier on LBJ. The man did sign the Civil Rights Bill and proposed the “Great Society” programs. Also, Kennedy was already involved in Vietnam even though LBJ couldn’t get us out. (I have a weak spot in my heart, for some reason, for LBJ.
Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel released the proposed military budget today bringing down the current war-footing of the U.S. military troop numbers to pre-WWII rates.
But at the heart here, and as this NYT article covers, is the fact that the military industrial complex is squealing as usual about any cuts whatsoever no matter how bad they are needed or how much they improve the U.S. fighting force.
Many critics of the NSA’s data collection policies have been wanting a separate head of the NSA and Cyber Command (one a civilian) in light of the information released by American security rogue Edward Snowden. But this article in The Post reports that the Obama administration intends to maintain the single-leadership, military-only policy.
This is a sort of adjoining piece with yesterday’s post outlining the problems regarding the development of the F-35 fighter jet, i.e., the costliest weapons system in U.S. history and the single most expensive item in the 2013 Pentagon budget. The article explains how the project will not be cut due to “political engineering” (having as many states as possible involved in the production of the plane) and the “buy-before-you-fly procurement” (the branches of the armed forces are receiving planes before they are even fully tested and safe to fly). Some shocking stuff here.
According to this article in the NYT, the sequestration cuts in defense spending could lead to further, more surgical cuts in cold war-era military spending by the Obama administration such as closing bases and reducing nuclear stockpiles. Since the sky didn’t fall, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse stayed at home when sequestration took place, it showed that some cuts in military programs could survive overhauls.
So if Obama and the anti-cut Congress could work together (which is so rare these days), useful reduced spending in programs like the F-35 development and the military’s insurance policies could have the fat cut off of them. Very interesting in light of our bloated defense spending trends.
A good report in The Post on the hyperbole coming from the military and its industrial cohorts regarding the spending cuts that would be included in what looks like the impending sequestration.
We spend more money on our military more than the rest of the world combined. You cannot believe that this isn’t more than just “the sky is falling” rhetoric by coddled bureaucrats and their associated industries. Our military budget is bloated and though blunt sequestration cuts may not be ideal, I cannot be convinced that we will be any less safe in the U.S. if it the sequester goes through.
I, along with Michael Cohen at The Guardian, have both been rather skeptical of this Armageddon talk from the politicians and military officials as they profess that the sequestration will destroy any national security that we now enjoy in the United States. So here is a good op-ed piece in The Guardian by Cohen outlying the ridiculousness behind all of these claims.