“Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction.”
Be happy that the US is spending itself into oblivion on military hardware. The American military is a colossus in presence, spending and technology and they lack one vital feature, they cannot fight a sustained conflict anywhere.
The spending numbers are deceptive because like all the traditional US budget legerdemain, there are plenty of ways to hide military spending such as the black budgets in the intelligence community, the Department of Energy nuclear programs and the ever burgeoning budget for veterans both retired and medically enfeebled who are starting to take a greater toll on government expenditures. This would include the aging military retiree population in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the care necessary for all the maimed and crippled soldiers returning from the failed attempt to install an American Caliphate on the Middle Eastern peoples. When it is all added up, it appears to exceed one trillion dollars which is merely 25 percent of the total budget for the US.
As William Lind and other keen observers of the military industrial complex have observed, the US simply cannot prosecute an effective long term military conflict anywhere on Earth despite the vast resources and hundreds of military bases peppering the globe. There are a number of explanations for this.
First, the US military is ill-suited to fight the cost effective and localist nature of most conflicts. There are currently hundreds of small-scale insurgencies and dozens of large-scale insurgencies and revolutionary movements around the globe. It is a large and cumbersome Second Generation warfare model although the USMC is showing signs of evolving into a genuine Third Generation warfare military engine. Excepting some special operations forces, the US is hopelessly mired in a stalled and ultimately futile effort to master Fourth Generation Warfare. There are some who claim that if we simply unleashed the forces to maximize their homicidal urges on both combatants and civilians alike, winning in Iraq and Afghanistan could be achieved. I would suggest that historically more restrictions on targets and surgical means to achieve military goals in these irregular warfare conflicts always give the greatest yield if victory is desired but then again victory has a different flavor in these conflicts as opposed to the WWII model that still permeates the thinking in the Pentagon and the modern US military machine.
Second, as I wrote earlier, the American military solution always involves creating large centralized governments. This makes the bureaucratic mind purr with satisfaction. If we can only impose a powerful police state where the state’s every wish is obeyed and they can centrally plan the entire mechanism, all will be well with the world. From the USSR to the European Union to the current fiscal nightmare that is these United States, one can see that large central governments only guarantee ill-ordered fiscal houses, political control of the economy and concomitant extinction of individual liberty that appears to be the leading result of these central planning nightmares. It appears that more and more folks in the developing world are watching the first world’s self immolation and economic seppuku and getting a clue. Afghanistan, for instance, will never have a properly functioning central government because it can only have a mayor and never a unitary state. It has an historical legacy that rightfully ignores the machinations of Kabul outside the city borders. Western nations and their nascent revolutionary movements would be wise to crack the code on how the Afghans created this immovable resistance to central planning. It certainly confounded the blindered Soviets in their ill-fated attempted of conquest of a country with imaginary borders such as Afghanistan.
Third, technology is never a panacea or substitute for ago old military maxims. If you fight in urban terrain, you better have highly restrictive Rules of Engagement or the inevitable civilian maiming and killing by military operations will simply sow the seedbed of resistance and rebellion. It will stiffen the spine of any insurgency. You can vacuum up petabytes of data but if you don’t have the human sense or critical thinking skills to make sense of the data, it becomes an expensive archival repository with limited military value. You can create billion dollar aircraft like the F-35 or continue to improve anachronisms like aircraft carriers but you will simply spend yourself into oblivion with no military value achieved. Drones have certainly revolutionized targeting but the inevitable civilian mayhem reaped by these airborne robot killers simply prolongs the conflict.
Fourth, the US government has a penchant to think that there is a bureaucratic solution to everything as if all problems have a solution. This is not reality. The only way for the US to its problems in the Middle East is to get out. There is no more viable nor elegant solution. It could achieve the exact opposite of its consistent record of military failure in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and now Libya with spectacular military victories across the fated Arabian sands and it would still have to remain for decades or centuries because the day after its military forces departed, things would revert back to the way they have been for hundreds of years. The law of intended consequences is especially cruel to the techno-wizards in the marble halls of the US government as their vaunted system of mob rule known as democracy metastasizes into increasingly powerful enclaves of Islamist fundamentalism in Egypt and Libya. Even one not steeped in the art of statecraft and Machiavellian intrigue like the mandarins on Capitol Hill and the White House could have predicted that outcome. When it comes to freedom and liberty, there are no teachable moments in DC. They talk a good game but at the end of the day, a police state is always the answer mated to the fiscal suicide of monopoly fiat currency and the regulatory state.
The current US military menace to the globe has a half-life and it is slowly but inexorably approaching its nadir. The US fiscal house is nearing collapse and once the inevitable economic meltdown occurs, we will be lucky to be able to buy plane tickets to get the troops home much less sustain more pointless blundering and blustering about the globe enforcing a military presence that actively destabilizes the planet and saps the lifeblood out of the host in the US mainland.
California is Greece but it has a sugar daddy in Uncle Sam…for now. The bankrupt cities in California are simply harbingers of what America is going to look like before 2020.
Many years from now, historians are going to puzzle over the causes and effects of how the largest hyper-power in the history of humankind could extinguish itself so effectively in less than one hundred and fifty years. All empires turn to dust over time and America will join that ash-heap soon enough. Those same historians will wonder how a military power so rich in expenditure and technology could be so impotent in the execution of its most basic military functions after its victory in the War to Save Josef Stalin (1939-1945).
The answer is rather benign. Not only is government and the state a doomsday machine for the hundreds of millions of victims it cages, maims and murders but over the long term, it always manages to murder itself and history is littered with the evidence of the corpses left behind. The graveyard of empires is the very existence of the state.
“The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.”