President Biden on Monday signed a bill into law reviving the World War II-era lend-lease program for Ukraine, paving the way for an escalation in US military aid to Kyiv. The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 allows Biden to send weapons to Ukraine free of charge while technically requiring payment at a later date. Under the lend-lease act during World War II, the US sent billions of dollars in weapons to the Soviet Union, China, Britain, and other allies. The legislation received massive bipartisan support in Congress, passing by voice vote in the Senate and by a vote of 417-10 in the House, with only Republicans voting against the bill.
The House of Representatives late Wednesday approved a $1.5 trillion government spending package that includes $782 billion in U.S. military funding, the largest portion of the must-pass omnibus legislation. The votes came after a long day of jostling behind the scenes as rank-and-file Democrats expressed outrage over how $15 billion in coronavirus aid was funded in the bipartisan measure: Namely, by repurposing money set aside for states in an earlier relief package.
Today the Congressional Budget Office released a new report, “Illustrative Options for National Defense Under a Smaller Defense Budget,” that outlines three different options for cutting funding for the Department of Defense by $1 trillion, or 14 percent, over the next ten years. The report makes clear that the United States has options for reducing spending on the Pentagon – without sacrificing security. It outlines three different options for how the United States could reallocate Pentagon resources to meet the current military strategy for less. “The U.S. military budget is now higher than it was at the peak of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or the Cold War. This report shows that there are viable options for immediate, substantial reductions to the Pentagon budget,” said Lindsay Koshgarian, Program Director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
As wildfires blaze in Western Canada amidst record breaking heat waves, the Liberal government is planning to spend tens of billions of dollars on unnecessary, dangerous, climate destroying fighter jets. The government is currently moving forward with the competition to procure 88 warplanes, which includes Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter, Saab’s Gripen and Boeing’s Super Hornet. Despite previously promising to cancel the F-35 purchase, the Trudeau government is laying the ground to acquire the stealth fighter. Officially the cost of buying the jets is about $19 billion. But, a report from the No New Fighter Jets coalition suggests the full life cycle cost of the planes will be closer to $77 billion. Those resources could be used to eliminate boil water advisories on reserves, build light rail lines across the country and construct thousands of units of social housing.
The Covid-19 pandemic shows that governments that think of security in mostly military terms are simply wasting money, Mikhail Gorbachev has said. Defence spending must be cut globally to fund things that humanity actually needs. The former Soviet leader called on the world to move away from hard power in international affairs. He remains especially worried about the kind of military brinkmanship that lately has almost led to a shooting war in the Middle East. "What we urgently need now is a rethinking of the entire concept of security," he wrote, in an op-ed published by TIME magazine. "Even after the end of the Cold War, it has been envisioned mostly in military terms. Over the past few years, all we've been hearing is talk about weapons, missiles and airstrikes."
The first two installments of the series showed how NATO was set up to blunt the European left and to justify European/North American dominance across the globe. Recently, the alliance has intensified pressure on Canada to increase spending on the military and participate in more wars. As its Cold War pretext fades further from view, NATO has become more belligerent. In 1999 Canadian fighter jets dropped 530 bombs in NATO’s illegal 78-day bombing of Serbia. During the 2000s tens of thousands of Canadian troops fought in a NATO war in Afghanistan.
It’s a pretty boring drive. My friends in Sweden always engage their rose-colored paradigms when I talk about driving in the US. They think it’s like Thelma and Louise or that Johnny Depp commercial where he’s driving out in the desert at sunset, burying some jewelry in the midst of a wide expanse of red earth and rock. But, no. This is not a way-out-west badass, cool guyliner kinda drive. It’s a snoozer, tunnel-vision-maker of a drive – with too many cops and not enough Sheetz locations. Come to think of it, I’m pretty surprised that I even noticed the sign. At the same time, I’m rather surprised I’ve never seen it before.
“It’s a good time to reflect on what this war — the longest in U.S. history — has cost Americans and others around the world. First, the economic costs: According to estimates by the Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the war on terror has cost Americans a staggering $5.6 trillion since 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. $5.6 trillion. This figure includes not just the Pentagon’s war fund, but also future obligations such as social services for an ever-growing number of post-9/11 veterans. It means Americans spend $32 million per hour, according to a counter by the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
And what if we told you right now, that just as the mountains of cash spent on militarism are even higher than you likely feared, that the alternative is a more beautifully satisfying, fulfilling, and secure future — for all of us living in the heart of the empire — than you would even dare hope for? What if I told you that once we redirect those 'mountains' away from wars and empire, then everyone, yes everyone, from that point on, could be made, with these savings alone, a virtually guaranteed millionaire? Impossible? Can't be true? Too outlandish a claim? Yet it is true, as we will prove in the sections below.
“Why throw money at defense when everything is falling down around us? Do we need to spend more money on our military (about $600 billion this year) than the next seven countries combined? Do we need 1.4 million active military personnel and 850,000 reserves when the enemy at the moment — ISIS — numbers in the low tens of thousands? If so, it seems there's something radically wrong with our strategy. Should 55% of the federal government's discretionary spending go to the military and only 3% to transportation when the toll in American lives is far greater from failing infrastructure than from terrorism? Does California need nearly as many active military bases (31, according to militarybases.com) as it has UC and state university campuses (33)?
President Donald Trump’s latest $4.4 trillion budget proposal calls for boosting military spending by nearly $200 billion over the next two years, and would balloon the national debt by more than $7 trillion over the next decade. Pundits proclaim it “dead on arrival.” But the likely alternative, based on the recent congressional budget accord, will be an equally irresponsible combination of sky-high military spending and even more borrowing – signs of a dysfunctional empire unable to manage its decline intelligently. The U.S. national debt now exceeds $20 trillion, or $170,000 per taxpayer. When the number was smaller two years ago, under President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “dangerous and unacceptable.” Yet, following last December’s massive corporate and personal tax cut, and the subsequent agreement on new spending targets, Congress now envisions adding $15 trillion to the federal government’s debt over the next decade.
By Whitney Webb for Mint Press News - About three-quarters of the world’s dictatorships currently receive military assistance from the United States. This is a strange record for a nation that consistently justifies its sweeping foreign interventions as aimed at “promoting democracy” and “thwarting evil dictatorships.” In the Cold War it was “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” Current analysis shows the U.S. militarily assisting dictators the world over, calling it “promoting democracy,” and disingenuously wondering why it’s all going so badly. For much of its history, the United States government has explained or defended its intervention in the affairs of other nations by framing such behavior as necessary to “promote democracy” abroad and to thwart the advance of “evil dictators.” While the use of those phrases has hardly dwindled over the years, establishment figures have been forced to admit in recent years that the U.S.’ democracy promotion efforts haven’t gone quite as planned. For instance, last year, Foreign Policy published an article headlined “Why is America So Bad at Promoting Democracy in Other Countries?” There, Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt noted that most of the U.S.’ democracy promotion efforts abroad end in failure, with nearly a quarter of the world’s democracies having been degraded in the past 30 years.
By John Zangas for DC Media Group - Veterans rallied this weekend at the Lincoln Memorial calling for a new global peace initiative. Veterans For Peace (VFP), CODEPINK Women For Peace, and Iraq Veterans For Peace, were among a dozen anti-war groups calling on the Trump Administration to invest funding in diplomacy and peace instead of increasing the military budget by $54 billion dollars. Veteran speakers urged the Trump Administration to begin closing U.S. bases on foreign soil, to redirect a portion of the military budget to education, healthcare and infrastructure, and to ban nuclear weapons. Veterans spoke at the Lincoln Memorial of the impact of wars while nearby organizers set up a Swords to Plowshares bell tower for the public to leave messages. The three day rally was joined by hundreds of combat Veterans and followed by a peace walk on Tuesday past the MLK Memorial to the White House. They paused to read a Martin Luther King Jr., speech from 1967 about ending the Vietnam war, before proceeding to the White House. The rally was organized amidst growing global tensions as drumbeats of conflict reverberate across the Middle East and in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.