This excellent article strikes at the heart of the dysfunction on the world stage today, and it’s centered around the rogue military industrial complex that has seized control of the US war machine.
Since World War II, a period some describe as a “a period of unprecedented peace,” the US war machine has wiped out some 20 million people, including more than 1 million in Iraq since 2003, engaged in regime change of at least 36 governments, intervened in at least 82 foreign elections, including Russia (1996), planned more than 50 assassinations of foreign leaders, and bombed over 30 countries.
In 2013, a WIN/Gallup International poll of 66,000 people in 65 countries found that the US was considered by far the most dangerous state on earth (24% of respondents), while Russia didn’t even register statistically on that poll.
In blaming others for the instability of the Middle East, it is important to bear in mind that for 36 years since Reagan launched air attacks on Beirut and parts of Syria, the US, and its ally Israel, has been using the greater Middle East region as a testing ground for its weapons systems.
This has meant repeated bombing and droning of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Iran, Yemen, Kuwait, and Sudan, and increased weapons sales to the region to assure continuous instability and profits. The US has “special forces” operating in two-thirds of the world’s countries and non-special forces stationed in three-quarters of them, altogether over 800 military bases and installations in as many as 130 countries (the Pentagon refuses to give the exact number).
By comparison, apart from several bases in some of the former Soviet republics, Russia has a naval resupply facility in Vietnam and small temporary leased naval and airport stations in Syria. China opened a combined naval and army base in Djibouti in 2017 and an “unofficial military presence” in Tajikistan. There is nothing remotely close to equivalence.
What is to be made politically of the Russia obsession? Russiagate, which Matt Taibbi calls “this generation’s WMD,” can be seen as serving three broad major purposes. It has given the Democratic Party leadership and its partners in the CIA and MSM a cause célèbre inorder to salvage the status and image of the party and distract from its disastrous electoral defeats from 2008 to 2016.
It thereby serves as an alternative reality to the widespread recognition that the ruling forces in the party have no genuine popular agenda and represent corporate, banking, neoliberal, and neoconservative militarist projects designed under Bill Clinton’s New Democrat agenda.
On foreign policy, Russiagate puts the Democrats to the right of the Republicans, similar to the way that John Kennedy in the 1960 campaign accused the Eisenhower (and VP Nixon) administration of weakening America’s defenses, which presently enables the energy and defense industries and their lobbyists to unduly influence the perception of international threats and flashpoints. Democrats in the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly for the 2019 $716 billion defense budget, over and above what even Trump requested.
The article concludes with a stark warning:
In the longue durée of American elections, the question is what discourse will dominate the next campaign – social justice and a rational foreign policy or more aggressive polemics about Russia aimed at a steady pathway to nuclear war?