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…
Glenn Greenwald echoing his story at The Intercept on DemocracyNow! that the protesters that, as the NYT reported as well, set the now-infamous fires of aid trucks in Colombia were anti-Maduro. It was not Maduro’s troops.
This makes Rubio, Bolton, Pompeo, Pence, and their neo-con cronies, look as crooked as they are.
Swifter than anyone thought, and so soon after the Ukrainian revolution, Russian leader Vladimir Putin officially claims Crimea as part of Russia. This report at the NYT gives a good account of what is the further implications, such as issues of condemnation by the West and upcoming sanctions.
Will the sanctions leveled against Russia hurt Western Europe trade too much to be feasible?
According to the latest reports, like this one in the NYT, al-Assad’s regime conducted an attack yesterday in Syria using a nerve-agent against the rebel forces there. Now these reports could be untrue for al-Assad and his staunch ally
Russia, claim that these are false reports transmitted by the rebels in an effort to provoke the U.S. and other Western powers to aid them in their fight against the loyalists and Hezbollah. But according to what I’ve seen today, unlike other times the rebellion has claimed to have video of victims of nerve gas, these look very convincing.
Now, if the al-Assad loyalists and Hezbollah are really using WMD’s against the rebels now, I have one question: Why?
The ruling regime is winning the war. They have Russia backing them almost 100%. Why would they risk the advantageous position they currently hold when using chemical weapons may provoke the U.S. and the U.N. into taking action against them? Why would they cross Pres. Obama’s metaphorical “red line” that he has drawn regarding the use of chemical weapons?
I know that crazy things happen in war. And maybe the use of a chemical weapon was not ordered from high-above but by a low-level officer and that is why al-Assad and Russia are denying ithese reports so vehemently. Maybe some even lower-level troops put together what was reported by the NYT, a make-shift missile which was launched in this attack because they just got tired of seeing their buddies killed and opted for revenge instead of a more rational approach to war.
But maybe the regime is that irrational for killing your own citizens is always an irrational act.
An article in The Post outlines that a NSA internal report states that the U.S. intelligence community is especially afraid that Edward Snowden will release the methods of hacking the U.S. government does into Chinese networks.
While reading about the results of the recent war games test I kept thinking of how the idea of Iran striking the U.S. Navy ship first seemed highly unlikely. The article describes the scenario of an Iranian fighter chasing an Israeli fighter to the Persian Gulf then, I assume, breaking off to strike at the Navy ship stationed in the sea before that ship could strike Iran. On the surface, the idea seems very plausible but would the Iranian leadership actually give this type of order for their troops to strike anything in sight without regard to the consequences?
I have to believe the answer is a very likely no. We’ve seen plenty of headlines from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his questionable relationship with facts and reality. But let’s remember one key point: he isn’t really in charge of Iran and we should not let our decision making get distorted by this fact.
Iran is clearly not delusional about the likelihood of a lopsided defeat in a war with Israel and the U.S. Think about it. If they were delusional, they would have invaded Israel already and would not even be in the conversation of countries potentially pursuing nuclear arms (something we still don’t know to be true because of a serious lack of intelligence as reported Sunday by the NY Times).
If you are Iran and you are basing your decision on recent history, would you intentionally pull the U.S. into a war started by Israel? Iran watched its enemy, Iraq, unilaterally invade Kuwait then saw that government slowly get dismantled over the next fifteen years through two wars and sanctions by the U.S. Keeping this in mind, Iran has to assume its only hope for surviving a war with the West would be sympathy from other world powers who then exert some influence over the U.S. to end the war early.
And the best way to get that type of sympathy? Get invaded by Israel and then have the U.S. also strike Iran first. At that point they look like the victim and countries like Russia and China have a reason to pressure the U.S. into a ceasefire. Let’s not forget Iran looks even more like a victim if Israel does strike and finds no evidence of the nuclear material Iran has being used for military weaponry.