Germany’s top newspaper Der Spiegel obtained a leaked confidential strategy paper that reveals the country’s military is preparing for a potential war with Russia. The German military, the Bundeswehr, released the secret 68-page document internally in September. The Bundeswehr chief, Inspector General Eberhard Zorn, warned that Germany could be attacked, and he proposed plans for a future armed conflict with Russia. The report claims that Germany faces “existential” threats. The document opens stating, “War in Europe is a reality again.” It predicts that the most likely scenario would be a conflict with Russia on NATO’s eastern flank. Der Spiegel noted that the strategy paper stresses the need for “deterrence.”
Despite a disagreement over some amendments in the Senate, the United States Congress is poised to pass a $778 billion military budget bill for 2022. As they have been doing year after year, our elected officials are preparing to hand the lion’s share - over 65% - of federal discretionary spending to the U.S. war machine, even as they wring their hands over spending a mere quarter of that amount on the Build Back Better Act. The U.S. military’s incredible record of systematic failure—most recently its final trouncing by the Taliban after twenty years of death, destruction and lies in Afghanistan—cries out for a top-to-bottom review of its dominant role in U.S. foreign policy and a radical reassessment of its proper place in Congress’s budget priorities.
On February 26th, I interviewed Ajamu Baraka for my podcast. Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. He is an internationally recognized leader of the emerging human rights movement in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of efforts to apply the international human rights framework to social justice advocacy in the U.S. for more than 25 years. He is a National Organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace, whose activities we discussed. Baraka has taught political science at various universities and has been a guest lecturer at academic institutions in the U.S. and abroad.
Since the end of WWII, especially since the breakup of the Soviet Union, it appears as if US political leaders feel they are trapped in a time warp and are unable to break free. They seem to believe that they must repeat the same disastrous foreign policy of regime change over and over. Since 9/11, the US has attacked or supported attacks against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The attacks, especially the horrendous US-led war crime against Iraq, have destabilized and created havoc in the Middle East, devastated these nations and caused death and appalling suffering for the people. In addition, the US has troops in about 800 locations worldwide, further threatening international stability.
Passing local resolutions in favor of moving funding from militarism to human and environmental needs is useful each and every year for the forseeable future. The template below has been used to pass variations on a resolution in numerous locations each year since 2017. It can be varied by country and locality. In 2017, together with our allies, including U.S. Peace Council, Code Pink, and others, we passed resolutions in numerous localities. Then we got resolutions that had been passed by Ithaca and New Haven as well as a third focusing on nuclear weapons to also be passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors on June 26, 2017.
The lack of connections between the dots of the Corona and security – human security in particular – would be another example. The present author would see the handling of the Corona pandemic as the most fundamental documentation of the fact that not a single government has practiced security the right way: billions of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent on weapons (that de-crease security in most cases), while there was nobody who had thought of face masks, thermometers, hospital equipment, and facilities – for what must be called a perfectly predictable security challenge. Instead, the Corona crisis has been seeing as a failure of the health system and other systems – but hardly ever as a fundamental failure of everything termed security politics. There ought to have been a global uproar by citizens against their governments’ de facto contempt for their security.
Since George Floyd was murdered, we have seen an increasing convergence of the “war at home” against Black and brown people with the “wars abroad” that the U.S. has waged against people in other countries. Army and National Guard troops have been deployed in U.S. cities, as militarized police treat our cities as occupied war zones. In response to this “endless war” at home, the growing and thunderous cries for defunding the police have been echoed by calls for defunding the Pentagon’s wars. Instead of seeing these as two separate but related demands, we should see them as intimately linked, since the racialized police violence on our streets and the racialized violence the U.S. has long inflicted on people around the world are mirror reflections of each other.
Toward the end of his life, Martin Luther King, Jr., after agonizing about the Vietnam War in private, began denouncing it in public. Liberal politicians and media, including The New York Times, castigated him, telling him to stick to civil rights. In a 1967 speech at New York City’s Riverside Church, King rejected this criticism and explained how he arrived at his antiwar stance. He had realized, he said, that the U.S. “would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”
As the Canadian government prepares to spend $1 billion on Raytheon missiles and related equipment, award a $19 billion contract for new fighter jets in 2022, and increase spending to $32.7 billion a year on the military by 2026, it is both timely and necessary to have a conversation about peacebuilding and the structures of violence. In this regard, the Canadian Peace Initiative has a campaign to establish a federal Department of Peace. And Eriel Tchekwie Deranger has urged NGOs advocating for a Green New Deal to: "center the destructive intertwined roles of capitalism, consumerism, militarism and colonialism as foundations to the current crisis."
A summary report of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s proposed version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act reveals a disconcerting disconnect between the U.S. government’s approach to national security and the impact of COVID-19 on America’s economy and society. The novel coronavirus has killed more Americans than all but two of the country’s wars. It has undermined the prosperity of most of the rest of its population. It has laid bare the country’s racial inequalities and devastated the global economy. Relief efforts are incurring federal debt on a scale certain to reduce funding for other purposes. And yet the SASC’s 20-page report barely mentions the coronavirus.
Where will the next war occur? Who will fight in it? Why will it occur? How will it be fought? This brief summarizes a series of reports that sought to answer these questions—looking out from now until 2030. The reports took the approach of examining these questions through the lenses of several trends—geopolitical, economic, environmental, legal, informational, and military—that will shape the contours of conflict. Military history is littered with mistaken predictions about the future of warfare that have left forecasters militarily unprepared—sometimes disastrously so—for the conflicts ahead. The United States has suffered its own share of bad predictions. "When it comes to predicting the nature and location of our next military engagements, since Vietnam, our record has been perfect. We have never gotten it right
While the U.S. war on the black population at home is now exposed for all of America–and the world–to see, the victims of U.S. wars abroad continue to be hidden. Trump has escalated the horrific wars he inherited from Obama, dropping more bombs and missiles in 3 years than either Bush II or Obama did in their first terms. When retired generals speak out against Trump’s desire to deploy active-duty troops on America’s streets, we should understand that they are defending precisely this double standard. Just as we are exposing the rot in U.S. police forces and calling for defunding the police, so we must expose the rot in U.S. foreign policy and call for defunding the Pentagon. U.S. wars on people in other countries are driven by the same racism and ruling class economic interests as the war against African-Americans in our cities.
A new report from the Financial Times details how top brass in Washington are strategizing a new Cold War with China, describing it less as World War III and more as “kicking each other under the table.” Last week, General Richard Clarke, head of Special Operations Command, said that the “kill-capture missions” the military conducted in Afghanistan were inappropriate for this new conflict, and Special Operations must move towards cyber influence campaigns instead. Military analyst David Maxwell, a former Special Ops soldier himself, advocated for a widespread culture war, which would include the Pentagon commissioning what he called “Taiwanese Tom Clancy” novels, intended to demonize China and demoralize its citizens, arguing that Washington should “weaponize” China’s one-child policy by bombarding Chinese people with stories of the wartime deaths of their only children, and therefore, their bloodline.
Earlier this week a new analysis was reported showing the world’s military spent a combined $1.9 trillion last year with the U.S. being the top spenders. According to the most current annual report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the top military spenders after the U.S. were China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Total spending in 2019 was 3.6% higher than in the previous year and accounted for 2.2% of global gross domestic product (GDP). “This is the highest level of spending since the 2008 global financial crisis and probably represents a peak in expenditure,” says Nan Tian, a researcher at SIPRI.
The unprecedented scale of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic gives rise to many questions about the ways our society is organized and how our future society should be rebuilt. One issue that has an enormous impact on how our future society will be is how much public money we will spend on wars and militarism and how much money we will spend on human needs and the protection of our plants. Currently, the US spends an insane amount of money on the military and wars each year. The FY2020 military budget will cost taxpayers $738 billion, a $120 billion increase in the last three years. No country in the world comes close to dedicating this many of its resources to the military. In fact, the U.S. spends more on defense than the next ten countries combined and it has 800 bases in more than 90 countries while all other countries in the world, 11 of them, have 70 bases in foreign countries altogether.