Since 2007, a number of TFF Associates – Fredrik Heffermehl to mention the leading world expert on it – have been engaged in creating awareness of the de facto and de jure misuse of the world’s in principle most prestigious prize – Alfred Nobel’s for peace. We usually do not post appeals on this public education for peace site. But this appeal, crafted by Heffermehl and David Swanson – deserves to be here. Please go to the appeal now and sign it. It is common sense and it is uncontroversial – unless you happen to believe in two things: a) that violence and war is better than peace, and...
Militarism and War
US defense leaders have firmly pointed the finger at Russia and China as the raison d’etre for the US Space Force (USSF), claiming the nations have “militarized space,” requiring the US to respond. However, what is really threatened is US space superiority, as the Pentagon has tested space weapons for decades. US Space Command has raised warning bells about the challenging of US superiority in space since at least its 1997 “Vision for 2020,” but it was only in December 2019 that the USSF was formally created by US President Donald Trump. In February 2020, Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond told the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee that "we can no longer assume that our space superiority is a given. If deterrence fails, we must be ready to fight for space superiority."
What makes the U.S. “chattering classes” so worthless is their refusal to talk about anything except those subjects that are approved for public discourse by the Lords of Capital, as certified by the high priests of corporate media. If the chattering classes were permitted to discuss truly important subjects – such as, Who Rules? -- their yammering might hold some social value. However, the obvious fact of corporate dictatorship is also the great taboo. When the overarching reality of our times – the Dictatorship of (White) Capital, from which all of the planet’s existential crises flow -- is verboten
AFRICOM is a deadly tool used to further U.S. interests in Africa, and Kwame Nkrumah would be vehemently opposed to the co-optation of his ideas in service of the re-colonization of Africa by the U.S. empire. Terrorism is a useful pretext for the U.S. to assert its power, and the lives of millions of African people are bargaining chips that are played by the United States in the New Scramble for Africa. In that sense, the War on Terror has been a success. The United States has vastly expanded its power and influence on the continent through AFRICOM as it vies for full spectrum global dominance over competitors like China and Russia. If the goal is to fight and end terrorism, AFRICOM is a woeful failure. Terrorism is a by-product of imperialism, and claims of fighting against it are used for public relations purposes. Ending terrorism and liberating Africa from the clutches of U.S. imperialism means shutting down AFRICOM and removing all U.S. forces from the continent and world.
On a trip to COVID-19 riddled Florida this weekend, President Donald Trump not-so-cryptically revealed that he had something big planned for Venezuela during a meeting with leaders of the U.S. military’s Southern Command. “Something will happen with Venezuela. That’s all I can tell you,” he said, before adding that Washington would be “very much involved” in what he was referencing. Biden has also taken a hard line on Venezuela and is attempting to out-hawk Trump on the issue. “It’s time for free and fair elections so that the Venezuelan people can turn the page on the corrupt and repressive Maduro regime,” he said, adding that, “Trump talks tough on Venezuela, but admires thugs and dictators like Nicolas Maduro."
Once again, this Fourth of July, Americans will celebrate — to the unwitting militarist racist tune that is the “Star Spangled Banner” — more than just the nation’s Independence Day. Though most folks will, if at a reasonable social distance, focus more on the backyard beer and brats, U.S. jingoism and exceptionalism will invariably be on the menu. That last sentiment, particularly amidst the COVID- and mass protest-exposing era of forever war at home and abroad, deserves a closer and critical look. For exceptionalism is truly a national disease that ravages American bodies and democratic institutions alike. This malignancy must be named and shamed in pursuit of precisely the “participatory patriotism” the holiday purports to celebrate. As the (late) man said, “Always look to the language;” so let us begin there:
As a military spouse and therapist, it’s clear to me that, these days, whether people of color or not, active-duty servicemen and women, as well as veterans, generally face a host of difficulties in this country. They range from problems accessing much needed responsive healthcare services to social isolation from a civilian population that understands little about their experiences, to chronic illnesses and injuries they suffer, to repeated deployments in America’s forever wars. Now, add to all that the current showdown between highly militarized police and Black Lives Matter protesters, as well as the president’s deployment of the National Guard and his threats to deploy federal troops to quell protests in Washington, D.C. (and elsewhere). As one Washington therapist who works with military service members and their families told me, many veterans find that memories of combat are triggered by the sight of police in military-style equipment facing down crowds of civilians and, in response, they socially isolate themselves more.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has designated Ukraine as an “Enhanced Opportunity Partner,” making it one of six nations (the others being Georgia, Sweden, Finland, Australia, and Jordan) rewarded for their significant contributions to NATO operations and alliance objectives by having the opportunity for increased dialogue and cooperation with the alliance. The main objective of this enhanced interaction is for NATO and Ukraine to develop operational capabilities and interoperability through military exercises which will enable Ukrainian military personnel to gain practical hands-on experience in operating with NATO partners. Seen in this light, the “Enhanced Opportunity Partner” status is an extension of the “Partnership Interoperability Initiative” designed to maintain the military interoperability between NATO and Ukraine.
The Department of Defense announced today its plans for $250 million in Fiscal Year 2020 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s capacity to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression. This reaffirms the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Ukraine – a critical partner on the front line of strategic competition with Russia. The United States remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The USAI funds – $125 million of which was conditional on Ukraine’s progress on defense reforms – will provide equipment to support ongoing training programs and operational needs.
Just as previous wars on poverty, drugs & terrorism, a new ‘war on COVID-19’ is doomed to failure if a similar militaristic approach is used. We can only win if we restore the common good ruined by decades of neoliberal policies. When speaking about the current coronavirus pandemic and a concerted response to it, we should say unequivocally: “This is not a war.” It’s true that this will directly contradict the stance of many world leaders, who have declared a war on the virus. But by denying the necessity of a militaristic framing, we don’t turn a blind eye to how critical the situation is. On the contrary, this will help to search for an alternative way of grappling with the coronavirus crisis, of inspiring people for collective and individual action, and – ultimately – of bringing about a better world after the current pandemic winds down.
Once in a blue moon an indispensable book comes out making a clear case for sanity in what is now a post-MAD world. That’s the responsibility carried by “The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs,” by Andrei Martyanov (Clarity Press), arguably the most important book of 2019. Martyanov is the total package — and he comes with extra special attributes as a top-flight Russian military analyst, born in Baku in those Back in the U.S.S.R. days, living and working in the U.S., and writing and blogging in English.
A controversial military expo has been scrapped by organisers and protesters are claiming success in shutting down down the war industry. The New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) has decided not to hold a forum in 2019, after years of peace groups disrupting the "weapons expo". Ten protesters were arrested outside the event in Palmerston North in 2018, and 14 were arrested the year before at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.
Well, one thing that the military does really, really efficiently is pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I believe the U.S. military is responsible for some enormous percentage of the emissions all over the world. So that’s one thing where the two things are connected. What’s cool about today, I think, is that there are people who are specifically devoted to the idea of convincing their fellow citizens that climate change is real and that it is going to destroy the planet if we all don’t act collectively to do something about it.
While on active duty, Lt. Susan Schnall dropped antiwar leaflets over five military installations and an aircraft carrier from a small plane, held a press conference, and lead a mass peace march while in uniform. She’s been resisting war ever since. “It became more and more obvious to me as I took care of these guys and physically got them better that I couldn’t heal them psychologically, and I certainly couldn’t heal their souls. And I thought, “I’ve become a part of the military. I need to do something about this, and we need to end this war. I understood that there would be repercussions."
The war on terror unleashed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack has led to almost two decades of unchecked militarism. We are spending more money on our military than at any time in history. Endless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere are still raging, more wars are threatened against Iran and beyond, costing the US trillions of dollars and creating humanitarian disasters. Treaties to control nuclear arms are unraveling at the same time that conflicts with the major powers of Russia and China are heating up.