To your average educated careful consumer of U.S. news media, our militarism looks like ad hoc reactionary responses. A crisis flairs up here. We “intervene” there. An irrational foreign dictator threatens the peace over yonder. We get into wars because we have no choice, and then continue them because ending them would be somehow even worse than continuing them.
In fact, there is a method to the madness. I don’t mean just the pressure that President Eisenhower warned us would be created by massive military spending. I mean that the war planners have planned far ahead. They have lists of upcoming wars. (In 2001, according to Wesley Clark, the Pentagon sought wars in the coming years with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. Tony Blair independently confirmed a similar list.) They invent the public excuses for those wars as the need arises. The actual motivations are not humanitarian, but driven by a crazed desire to dominate the world’s economies, waterways, and fossil fuels.
The papers of the 1990s pro-war think tank, the Project for the New American Century, fit with and explain what the United States and NATO and their allies have done for the past 11 years far better than President Bush’s speech given on the wreckage of the World Trade Center or anything announced by the White House right up through President Obama’s latest campaign speeches this week.
A new book called “The Globalization of NATO” by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya traces the development of NATO, from a supposedly defensive and North Atlantic organization, into an aggressive and global one, albeit one with some deep internal rivalries and tensions.
World War II never ended. The Nazi scientists were brought to the United States to continue developing weapons. Secret forces were left behind, within European governments (“Gladio” is the well-known name of the force in Italy), where they killed and lied in support of right-leaning governments for decades, and in support of NATO’s strength and unity.
“The Globalization of NATO” looks not only at NATO’s 1990s wars in Yugoslavia, but at the U.S. machinations during the 1980s that led to conflict there. As Nazemroaya notes, in 2009, the U.S. eagerly pointed out that the language of Moldova is essentially Romanian, but had when useful in the 1990s tried to claim that the Serbo-Croatian of Bosnia was a different language from the Serbo-Croatian of Serbia. Such claims, like outrage at human rights abuses in Syria and Iran but not in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, are opportunistic.
When U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright learned of a massacre in a Kosovan village, Racak, she delightedly exclaimed, “Spring has come early!” NATO was able to begin its campaign of “humanitarian wars” with massive bombing of civilians. But the enemy wasn’t the people of Yugoslavia. The enemies were Russia and China and Iran. They are the enemies today. In 1999, NATO bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and that same Wesley Clark ordered British and French troops to attack the Russian military. Luckily, those troops refused that order, not wanting to be pawns in a game that risky.
World domination means controlling nations like Iraq and Libya, and placing bases and pipelines in places like Afghanistan, where they could benefit the West but hurt Russia, China, and Iran. It also means expanding Europe, NATO, and the European Union, to control the entire Mediterranean (which is how Lebanon and Syria become key targets). It means controlling the Arctic with Canada’s help. It means weaponizing outer space. It means dominating Africa. It means surrounding Russia and China with missiles, bases, and ships, prepared to cut off their trade. It means imposing as much suffering as possible on the Iranian people. It means redefining sociopathic acts as rational inevitabilities.
Obama’s turn toward Asia, and all the new bases and troops popping up in Australia, Guam, South Korea, and Japan, began before and will continue after Obama. It is part of a strategy to surround China. It is driving a new arms race and new tensions. While China’s military spending is still only about a tenth of the U.S.’s, it has grown four-fold in recent years. The arms race has carried over to the Middle East as well, with the United States tripling its sales of weapons to foreign dictatorships last year. All of which is great for weapons makers. It’s also part of the madness of the method behind our militarism.
Which is not to say that everything goes as planned. Military operations accurately label themselves with the term “SNAFU”, and pockets of resistance have been known to spring up and grow rapidly. Ecuador and other Latin American nations, as well as Uzbekistan and other Central Asian nations, have found the strength to tell NATO to head on back to the North Atlantic. The Non-Aligned Nations representing the majority of the people on earth just met in Iran and proposed, among other things, plans for total nuclear disarmament. Perhaps the aligned nations should join the non-aligned nations in more ways than one. Perhaps the institution of NATO should join nuclear weaponry on the pile of bad ideas whose time has come and gone.
David Swanson’s books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.