JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NEW PRIORITIES AND LEADERS REQUIRED FOR AMERICA AFTER THE CORONAVIRUS AND THE MILITARY CANNOT GO BACK TO NORMAL SAYS A WRITER – BUT THERE IS ALMOST NO POSSIBILITY FOR SUCH DREAMY OUTCOMES – AMERICA’S MILITARY AND ITS POLITICS SERVE POWERFUL INTERESTS WHO AREN’T GOING AWAY ANY TIME SOON, THE PEOPLE WHO REALLY DO OWN AMERICA AND GIVE IT DIRECTION – SOME SPECULATION ON THE POSSIBILITY THINGS MIGHT BECOME WORSE IN POLITICAL AND EVEN MILITARY TERMS   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY KEVIN MARTIN IN CONSORTIUM NEWS

 

“COVID-19: Ventilators Not Bombs

“Once we get past the Covid-19 crisis, the world’s most gargantuan military machine cannot go back to normal”“New priorities and new leadership are required. Returning to business as usual won’t do.”

 

I don’t see how that is at all possible in America.

Where is any new leadership to come from in what literally is a rigged political system, a kind of costly political theater giving Americans the illusion of democratic choice?

You have two parties, but both totally support empire and war because they both are funded by America’s elites and plutocrats, the very people that empire and wars serve. Democrats are no less in support of war than Republicans. Obama spent eight solid years bombing people and toppling governments. The boyish smile never revealed any more aversion to killing and horror than did the dull viciousness of George Bush for the previous eight years.

In fact, you might well call the Democrats a war party with all the warrior presidents they’ve had – Truman, Johnson, Clinton, Obama. And Biden would just be another. Or, come to that, Cuomo or certainly Hillary Clinton.

The only difference between Democrats and Republicans is in arguing over a limited range of social issues, but that is an unproductive and almost frivolous exercise in America because there are no resources for large social programs. War and empire and security get them all, and they get not only money, they get all the attention and effort of ambitious upcoming politicians and bureaucrats. They can smell the money, and they follow the trail.

The immense sum burned through, year after year, by America’s military/security/imperial complex [Pentagon, CIA, NSA, plus still more large intelligence agencies and the State Department] is not even money the government has in its coffers. No, it is all borrowed. And the bill for the stupendous interest payments on it, in perpetuity, is what ordinary Americans receive from the arrangement, tax laws being so corruptly written that the powerful do not pay for their empire and the many evils it inflicts upon the world.

The colossal amounts of money American politics require also mean you cannot have a third party. The money is effectively “a barrier to entry.” You cannot pull up a chair at this card game without a gigantic stake, right upfront. Just where does that come from?

America is, more than ever, about money and those who possess serious amounts of it. And very little else, regardless of what the national myths say.

The politicians serve those with money faithfully, pass laws which favor them, including tax laws which even further entrench wealth and divisions in the society, and pursue imperial policies abroad in their interests. All the rest – from flag lapel pins to homilies about the Founders and “sacred rights” – is pretty much a set of stage-show props, all with a strong overtone of that secular religion called Patriotism, something which serves to bind loyalties and discourage questions.

Massive agencies like the military and security services (seventeen of them in America) are the “worker bees” of empire. They have virtually nothing to do with either peace or defense. Agencies a tenth of their size would more than suffice for peace and defense. Russia’s military budget is less than one-tenth the size of America’s, yet certainly no one could say Russia’s peace and defense are not more than adequately funded.

American voters this year are going to be given yet another dreary political choice, this time between lifelong Party hack Biden and the grimacing lunatic in the White House, who, despite all of his noise about being in charge, does pretty much just what the power establishment wants him to do. He does so in a bellowing, reckless manner, but that just makes America look even more threatening and dangerous from abroad.

There isn’t much prospect for the author’s dreamy “new priorities and new leadership.” I like Bernie Sanders, but he’s never been a serious opponent of the military/security state, America’s ugliest problem, and, anyway, he’s now made the required political genuflection to Biden. The nearest you had was Tulsi Gabbard, but she was a critic only of selected portions of America’s blood-spattered imperial machinery, and you saw how promptly the Party suffocated her ambitions and efforts.

Far from “new priorities” and the American military not returning to its ways, there is the possibility things could grow a good deal worse after the pandemic. America has seen a lot of pleasant old fantasies about itself disappear, both among allies and opponents – the stuff of Jimmy Stewart movies of the 1940s. Illusions about America helped America, much as an excellent propaganda campaign would, in keeping its grip on many interests.

America has shown itself selfish and ruthless in a time of international emergency, even with friends, grotesquely putting itself first, not sharing and not listening. It was of course already doing so with its illegal sanctions and demands for other countries to buy only what America says they should buy, but things do take on a special grimness and moral force during an international medical emergency.

Seizing loads of medical masks ordered and paid for by other countries, as America did to Germany, to Canada, and to Cuba? Telling American suppliers not to fill orders for medical equipment from a neighbor like Canada? And what is anyone to say of keeping brutal sanctions (illegal – as virtually all of America’s sanctions are unsupported by international law) in place against countries desperately fighting a pandemic, people unable to get medicines and medical supplies, in Iran, in Venezuela, in Cuba? It is despicable behavior.

It is just a fact that certain kinds of vicious people, when observed in their ugly acts, respond by becoming yet more vicious, as if to say, “I’ll show you!” It was a behavior seen in the hideous character of Father Karamazov in Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov.”

China and Russia have shown a spirit quite the opposite of America, taking the opportunity to share and to generate good-will. Poor little Cuba has made a good effort, and Iran, given the severity of its infection, has shared whatever it can with others. American propagandists of course say they are just being selfish, but that is a filthy interpretation. The great David Hume wrote to the effect, “What is more worthy than wanting to receive the credit for worthy deeds?” It is a profound observation.

No one can confuse creatures like Donald Trump or Mike Pompeo or Elliott Abrams or Thomas Modly with characters from a Jimmy Stewart movie. America has lost something it cannot replace. Illusions are like that, and when people have lost their illusions about you, they treat you differently.

At the same time, does anyone believe America’s powerful establishment has given up on its recent drive to dominate – with its Orwellian goal of “full-spectrum dominance” – whether that drive is led by Trump or by someone else? No, such massive and disruptive efforts reflect assumptions and attitudes of an entire privileged class.

Depending on the course of the disease and the depth of the depression into which the world is hurled, other great forces could come into play. The right conditions could see martial law imposed by the Pentagon. It does have contingency plans for doing just that.

Arrangements with Europe are likely to change. NATO has been ineffective in playing a pro-active emergency role. And it makes little sense in a depression for Europe to keep enforcing American sanctions against Russia or China when every possibility for productive trade should be seized as part of rebuilding the world’s economy. The EU itself has come under considerable stress, displaying inability to act in a unified, forceful fashion.

I think China has gained new admirers, despite America’s petty propaganda efforts. China’s Belt and Road Initiative in scores of countries provides a template for growth. With China’s demonstrated effective organization and efficiency and its special relationship with resource-rich Russia, there is little doubt China will overtake the United States shortly as the world’s leading economy. It isn’t far from being that now.

Posted April 18, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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