Friday, October 15, 2010

America involved in endless wars

The New-Herald, October 13, 2010

By By Georgie Anne GeyerUniversal Press Syndicate

WASHINGTON — Every day now, at least if you peruse one of the big Eastern American newspapers, you read about our wars: Fighting in Afghanistan, in its 10th year! Collapse in Pakistan! American troops still in Iraq! American troops and/or drone strikes in Somalia, Yemen and various countries of Africa, plus threats to China over oil in the South China Sea!

If you plumb just a little bit below that warfare on the surface, you will find that current Pentagon outlays are roughly $700 billion annually, the U.S. spending more on its military than the rest of the world combined. That we have approximately 300,000 troops stationed abroad, occupying some 76l bases, or euphemistically called “sites,” in 39 foreign countries — an “empire of bases.” And that the Pentagon, being neat and precise in its habits, has divided up the planet into eight “unified commands” in order to, well, order the world.

Ahhh, but all this military expansionism is merely temporary, the loyal American citizen will say. It is a result of America’s having to fight the Cold War with the Soviets — and now, on top of that, having to face down Islamic radicalism. It is not, in short, who we are, a peaceable people forced into wars against our better selves. But instead of patting ourselves on the back, perhaps we ought to study a quote of the great philosopher Joseph Schumpeter, who wrote of the military created by imperialist states: “Created by the wars that required it, the machine now created the wars it required.”

Indeed, there is a growing school of military men and political thinkers coming to the fore who believe that the United States is now creating wars it either thinks it requires or that it simply desires to fight, to illustrate its predominance and grandeur before the world. This is not a line of thought that is easily going to fade away.

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