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‘Humanitarian’ Concerns Increase Wars, Benefit Only Arms-Producers

Eric Zuesse

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Unlike a regular corporation, the corporations that manufacture and sell weapons to their government are virtually 100% dependent upon their government and its military allies, for their own success; their markets are only those governments, not individuals (such as is the case for normal corporations). Consequently, either their government will control them, and those firms won’t have any effective control over their own markets, or else those firms will, themselves, control their government, and thereby effectively control their markets, via the government’s foreign policies — not only via expanding its military alliances (those firms’ foreign markets), but via its designating ‘enemy’ nations that it and its ‘allies’ (those arms-producers’ foreign markets) can then use those weapons against. 

In countries such as the United States, arms-producers are benefiting and controlled by the country’s billionaires, instead of (as in Russia, for example) benefiting and controlled by the government. These totally profit-driven arms-producers need to have market-nations that are called ‘allied’ governments, but they also need to have some target-nations that are called ‘enemy’ governments, so as to ‘justify’ more arms-production by these firms, against which to use these weapons. Only in nations where arms-producers are privately instead of publicly controlled are the government’s foreign polices predominantly controlled by the country’s arms-producers. That’s the way it is in America.

The main ‘ally’ of the U.S. is the Saud family, who own the government of Saudi Arabia. As a recent debate-brief said, “The US has been the world’s leading exporter in weapons since 1990 and the biggest customer is Saudi Arabia. The U.S. sold a total of $55.6 billion of weapons worldwide, and in 2017, cleared $18 billion dollars with Saudi Arabia alone.” Under Trump, those sales are set to soar, because on 20 May 2017 “U.S. $350 Billion Arms-Sale to Sauds Cements U.S.-Jihadist Alliance” — notwithstanding now the slaughter in Yemen and the slaughter of Jamal Khashoggi. Yet, Trump talks up his ‘humanitarian’ concerns for the people of Venezuela as ‘justification’ for his possibly invading Venezuela, and America’s military is preparing to do that.

The main and central ‘enemy’ of the U.S. is Russia’s government; and all of the other ‘enemies’ of America (the spokes of America’s ‘enemy’ wheel) are led by people — such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Viktor Yanukovych, Bashar al-Assad, Salvador Allende, Jacobo Arbenz, and Nicolo Madura — who are friendly toward Russia. The objective here is to force other nations to join America’s anti-Russia alliances or else to face the consequences of a likely invasion or coup by America to overthrow and replace those leaders. Therefore, America targets all nations that are/were friendly toward Russia, such as pre-2003 Iraq, and such as pre-2011 Libya, and such as Syria, and such as pre-1973 Chile, and such as post-1979 Iran — all of America’s various target-nations, which are the authorized targets for America and its ‘allies’ to invade or otherwise regime-change (change from being a target, to becoming instead a new market).

In order for privately controlled arms-producers to thrive, there is just as much of a need for ‘allies’ as for ’targets’, because without targets, there can be no authorized markets, since every weapon is useless if it has no authorized target against which it may be used. There consequently needs to be at least one ‘enemy’ for any country whose arms-production is privately instead of publicly controlled. Both ‘allies’ and ‘enemies’ are needed, in order for America’s arms-makers to continue flourishing.

By contrast, in Russia, where each of the arms-producers is majority-controlled by the government instead of by private investors, each arms-producer exists only in order to defend the nation, there is no need for any ‘enemy’ nations, and the best situation for such a government is to the contrary: to have as many allies, or buyers of its country’s weapons, as possible (so that it will be as safe as possible), and as few nations as possible that are enemies. For such a country, there’s no benefit in having any enemies. America has publicly been against Russia ever since the end of World War II, and privately and secretly remains against Russia even after the Cold War ended on Russia’s side in 1991. Whereas the billionaires who control America’s arms-makers profit from this military competition against Russia, the controlling interest in all of Russia’s arms-makers is Russia’s government, which simply suffers the expense of that competition and would greatly prefer to end that competition. It’s just a drain on Russia’s treasury. The profit-motive isn’t driving the arms-producers in countries that control their own arms-makers. The government leads the nation there, basically because the nation’s billionaires — even if they are minority stockholders of the armaments-firms — don’t. And the reason the billionaires don’t is that the arms-producers in Russia are controlled by the government, not by any private investors. 

Consequently, in countries that socialize arms-production, ‘humanitarian’ excuses don’t need to be invented in order to create new ‘enemies’. Instead, the goal is for the number of enemies to be reduced, so that the nation itself will be safer. Their arms-producers don’t need constantly to generate (by lobbying, media-propaganda, etc.) authorized targets (‘enemies’ such as Iraq, Syria, etc.), because such a nation, as this, has designed its system to be driven for protecting the public’s safety, and not for any investors’ profits. If an armaments-firm, in such a nation, goes out-of-business, that’s entirely okay, so long as that nation’s safety isn’t being reduced by ending the firm. The international policy of such a country is totally different from that of a country in which arms-makers’ profits, and not the entire nation’s welfare, is in the driver’s seat regarding all foreign policies.

If arms-makers are being driven for profits, then target-nations are needed in order to expand profits so as to serve their investors. Such a country is run actually for its investors, not for its public. But if the arms-makers are being driven to serve the government instead of to serve private investors, the government is controlling the armament-firms. The nation’s safety is the objective in such a land, because increasing profits for private investors in its weapons-firms is not the company’s objective. Any profits to such investors, are then irrelevant to the government. It’s truly sink-or-swim, for each of such a nation’s arms-makers — not socialism-for-the-rich, and capitalism (actually fascism) for the poor, such as is the case in the United States

In a nation such as the United States, the constant need for new wars is being constantly driven by investors’ needs for expanding both markets and targets. And — since in the arms-making business, all of the markets are one’s own government, plus all of its allied governments (no significant consumer-business whatsoever, which is why such firms are fundamentally different from the firms in all other types of fields) — the government needs to serve its armaments-firms, because those firms are totally dependent upon the government, and upon its international diplomacy (to increase the sales of its armaments, and thereby to serve the billionaires who control the armaments-firms). So: the government there naturally becomes an extension of its major “contractors” or armaments-firms. The politicians know this, though they don’t want to talk publicly about it, because they don’t want the voters to know who is actually in the driver’s seat. They know whom they are actually serving, which is the billionaires who control the armaments-firms. So: those politicians, whatever they might say in public (“America shouldn’t be the policeman for the world,” etc.), always actually vote to invade (Iraq, Syria, etc.), and to approve the first stage of any war, which is economic sanctions (such as against Russia itself, or Iran, or Iraq, or Syria, or Venezuela, etc.), and it’s always allegedly being done “to serve God, mother and country” at home, and “to expand freedom and protect human rights in that dictatorially ruled country” abroad. This is basically the marketing campaign for the owners of the armaments firms. The winning politicians in such countries are the ones that those billionaires support. In such a country, it’s almost impossible for any politician who is competing for a national office to succeed who isn’t being funded by those billionaires. And, the billionaires’ ‘news’-media support only such candidates. That’s why there’s almost no possibility for an honest person to be elected (or appointed( to any national public office in the United States.

If a nation’s sole reason for producing weapons is in order to protect the public — a public purpose — then there is no reason for the government to lie so as to demonize foreign leaders such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, Salvador Allende, Viktor Yanukovych, and Nicolo Maduro. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with how bad (or good) the demonized leader actually is.

Why does the U.S. government demonize those people, while simultaneously serving (if not actually installing) barbaric dictators such as King Saud, Augusto Pinochet, Castillo Armas, and the Shah? The publicly stated reasons are always ‘humanitarian’ (when not ‘national defense’ — and often, as in 2003 Iraq — both at once). The alleged purpose is to ‘bring democracy to the people there’, and to ‘protect human rights, which are being violated’ by ‘the dictator’ — but it’s actually in order to make suckers out of their country’s own population, so as to serve the billionaires whose income can’t be boosted in any other way than to turn ‘enemies’ (targets) into ‘allies’ (markets) — to conquer those ‘enemies’. This is just a marketing campaign, and the voters are not the consumers of these products, but they are instead merely the gulls who have to be fooled in order for those profits to keep rolling in, to the (usually) offshore accounts of those billionaires. This is not the type of socialism in which the government controls the economy, but instead the type of economy in which the economy — actually the billionaires who control the armaments-firms — control the government. This is why it’s “socialism for the rich and capitalism for everybody else.” (The term “fascism” can be used for that.)

This is the New America. And here is the New America Foundation, which is one of the many ‘non-profit’ PR arms of this new America. (That one represents mainly Democratic Party billionaires. Here is one that instead represents mainly Republican Party billionaires.) These are taxpayer-subsidized public relations agencies for their businesses. These individuals are exceptionally gifted businesspeople, because they deeply understand how to fool the public, and they understand that the public never learns and so history just keeps repeating itself, such as in 1953 Iran, and then in 1954 Guatemala, and 1973 Chile, and 2003 Iraq, and 2019 Venezuela, and so many others, ad nauseum. And it goes on and on, for decades if not forever.

But how can the world be protected from such countries? If there is not widespread public recognition that ‘permanent war for perpetual peace’ is a vicious lie, then can there be any other way to do it? Maybe not. Apparently, constant lying by the government and by its (i.e., by its billionaires’) media — and by all of its successful national politicians — is required in any such country. This seems to be the only effective way to control the public in such a country; and, if the public there aren’t deceived, then the arms-firms’ control over the government won’t even be possible. So, regarding foreign policies, the lying in such a country is constant — especially about foreign affairs.

For example, that explains the stunning findings, in the recent study by a media-watchdog organization, that “Zero Percent of Elite Commentators Oppose Regime Change in Venezuela”. Having something like this happen after  Americans were lied into invading Iraq in 2003, is proof that (and it explains why) the public never learns. This is the way the system has been designed to function, siphoning off the society’s wealth into billionaires’ — largely offshore — accounts. The system is actually set up to operate that way. And the system’s owners (and their media) call this ‘democracy’, and are peddling that ‘democracy’ to the rest of the world.

This is a very successful trick, because — at least until now — the public never learns. (Of course, the system itself is set up so that they won’t.) The public never learns that the actual enemy is the domestic aristocracy itself. But one major American magazine recently made fun of this by headlining “In Billionaires Is the Preservation of the World” praising them as “nature’s own life-preserver” and closing by “With life itself depending on it, how do we determine which billionaires to kiss up to?” The enemy is within, but it’s no joke, and (as Trump makes so clear) ‘aliens’ get the blame, while the domestic aristocracy just get the money.

This type of racket has worked that way for thousands of years, and yet it has always remained “Top Secret,” or (at least) “Confidential” or etc.; but, anyway, very private — and not acknowledged in their ‘news’-media, but instead publicly denied (though, occasionally, also joked-about).

A more-serious phrase for this is “the Deep State.”

Author’s note: first posted at strategic-culture.org

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Americas

Just What Is An American?

Rahul D. Manchanda, Esq.

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The greatest mistake any leader, or moneyed powerful individual, or even masses of people (all 3 of which tend to have the loudest voices) is to culturally appropriate unto themselves, just exactly what it means to be an American, based on their own selfish notion of what it means.

The fact remains that the ideal of Americanism is a concept – a truly growing, organic, ever changing, and ever expanding idea that is enshrined within its founding documents and laws.

For example, the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, US Constitution, Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Rights Amendment, among scores of other acts of legislation, point to an ever growing ongoing journey to forge a new nation, just like ancient Rome did, united by a common destiny, and drawn from different experiences, cultures, cuisines, religions, ethnicities, races, nationalities, and world views.

So when President Trump on July 15, 2019 told four minority female congresswomen in sum and substance to “go back to there they came from” if they “didn’t like America,” he trampled over their own views, ideals, and experiences as Americans.

Quite simply his statement was an appropriation of what it means to be an American, from the point of view of a German/ Irish American senior citizen male, to a group of Latin/ Somali/ Palestinian/ African-American younger females.

Perhaps President Trump should re-visit his own people’s racial history, wherein the Irish were systematically excluded by the previously arrived and established Anglican Protestants, or even with the Germans in America who were actually interred in camps during the periods of World War I & World War II.

The German-American Experience

During World War II, the legal basis for this detention was under Presidential Proclamation 2526, made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt under the authority of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

With the U.S. entry into World War I, German nationals were automatically classified as “enemy aliens.”

Two of the four main World War I-era internment camps were located in Hot Springs, N.C. and Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer wrote that “All aliens interned by the government are regarded as enemies, and their property is treated accordingly.”                                              

The Irish-American Experience

In 1836, young Benjamin Disraeli wrote: “The Irish hate our order, our civilization, our enterprising industry, our pure religion. This wild, reckless, indolent, uncertain and superstitious race have no sympathy with the English character. Their ideal of human felicity is an alternation of clannish broils and coarse idolatry. Their history describes an unbroken circle of bigotry and blood.”

Nineteenth-century Protestant American “Nativist” discrimination against Irish Catholics reached a peak in the mid-1850s when the Know-Nothing Movement tried to oust Catholics from public office.

Much of the opposition came from Irish Protestants, as in the 1831 riots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After 1860, many Irish sang songs about “NINA signs” reading Help wanted – no Irish need apply.

The 1862 song “No Irish Need Apply” was inspired by NINA signs in London.

Alongside “No Irish Need Apply” signs, in the post-World War II years, signs saying “No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs” or similar anti-Irish sentiment began to appear as well.

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Americas

Billionaires, Vanity and Modern Democracy

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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The bullying in Washington is the current trend.  On Monday, the British ambassador resigned his post after Trump refused to deal with him.  Well-liked in Washington and the halls of Congress, his downfall was an honest assessment of the Trump administration as ‘inept’ and ‘dysfunctional’.  The letters were leaked in the U.K.

Suppose the president tweets comments contrary to current established policy, does that mean a policy change?  Do departments adapt promptly.  Nobody knows.  That’s dysfunctional, and everyone knows it.  In the meantime, he has enjoyed 17 golf outings since February averaging three a month.  No wonder he is that rare president who does not seem to age in office from the stresses of the job.  Obama’s hair turned gray.

But then a lighter hand on the tiller has kept us out of war, whereas Obama, the Nobel Peace Laureate, destroyed Libya and escalated in Afghanistan.  The consequences are still being felt in Southern Europe particularly, through the hordes of refugees still continuing to arrive.  Also in the resurgence of anti-immigration political parties in northern Europe.

The supreme irony is the fact of refugees being rescued from ramshackle boats and dinghies or often dying in one part of the Mediterranean while the Obamas cruise on a billionaire’s luxury yacht in another.  Is that a metaphor for democracies in the modern world?  One is also reminded of Mr. Modi’s specially woven pinstripe cloth repeating his name endlessly on the stripes in the material. 

Fortunately, the current president does not like the sea, or we would never see him in Washington.  As it is he has had 14 visits to golf clubs (not as much time on the course however) since the beginning of June.  He once had a small yacht that lay anchored in New York until he sold it.  His pleasures have generally centered on the more mundane:  cheeseburgers and women — the younger the better, although perhaps not as young as those that have gotten his friend Jeffrey Epstein in trouble again.  To be fair, Trump had a falling out with him ‘about 15 years ago’ he said recently.  ‘I was not a fan of his, I can tell you,’ he added although he called him a ‘terrific guy’ in 2002.

At least one party had 28 girls to a so-called calendar-girl party at Mar-a-Lago (Trump’s estate and club) in Florida, meaning selection of a calendar girl.  The male celebrities attending, according to the man assigned the task of finding the girls, happened to be Trump and Epstein, and no one else!  So surprised, the man still remembers the story.  The falling out between Trump and Epstein was rumored to have been a business deal.

It brings us to the second resignation, that of Alex Acosta the Labor Secretary.  A Harvard-educated lawyer, Mr. Acosta was the US attorney for the Southern District of Florida when he made a generous agreement with Epstein who had been charged with sex crimes.  For a 13-month sentence of mostly community work, usually from his mansion, Mr. Epstein was protected from further prosecution.  In a clear rebuke to Acosta, the case has been re-opened with a new charge of sex-trafficking minors.

As a result, Mr. Acosta has had to bow to the chorus of calls for his resignation.  The real question:  How ever did Trump get elected?  A mainstream press failure?

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Americas

What has happened to Western liberal idea?

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In the recent interview with President Putin, the Financial Times seems to have launched a discussion on liberalism only at its own peril. Inadvertently, a real problem was touched upon, whose pressing nature is no longer denied by anyone in the West. The newspaper had to admit it in its Editorial of 29 June. Its authors claim that the threat to liberalism comes from within, including President Trump and his policies, Brexit and, certainly, the rise of “populist nationalism”. They refer to voters’ disillusionment with liberalism and loss of confidence in the economic system and trust in political elites. The latter are invited to redouble their efforts to take into consideration issues raised by voters and “to renew liberalism”.

Hence, the Russian leader has only identified a problem that Western elites are unable to acknowledge, desperately defending the status-quo as having no alternative. But where is the problem?

The systemic crisis of Western society, if we are to call a spade a spade, has its roots in Reaganomics and Thatcherism. In early 1980s, disregard for the lessons of the Great Depression led to Anglo-American attempts to sort of try the pre-1929 Pure Capitalism. This unleashed the forcers of a “self-regulated market” with the state playing a minimal role – a key concept of liberal economics. The idea of social accountability of business had no place in that system.

At the same time, financial sector was deregulated through the step-by-step repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which was one of key elements of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Its architect was British economist John Maynard Keynes. It was only natural that the 2008 crisis also started in the financial sphere which had practically lost touch with the real sector of economy.

Then neoliberalism (as it became known) came to be imposed by Anglo-Saxon nations on the whole of the EU through the Lisbon agenda. The then Prime Minister Tony Blair was pretty good at it. When asked what she considered as her key legacy, Margaret Thatcher pointed to Blair who continued her economic policies under the “New Labour” slogan.

For instance, everyone knows what the nationalization of British railways led to. Profits are reaped by operators, while costs are borne by taxpayers who finance UK Rail, the state-run company responsible for railroad infrastructure. And this is not the only way to privatise profits while collectivising costs. In fact, globalisation has become one such practice for Western elites. Its original motive was quite liberal and far from being altruistic or even geopolitical (Donald Trump has reassessed this part of it when he blamed globalisation for China’s economic rise). It was about cheap labour for increased profits. The jobs  that were to be transferred abroad should have been compensated for by a new technological revolution. But it’s not happening, not even in the second generation. Information technologies do not create as many jobs, and we are already talking of robotisation and artificial intelligence, as well as a universal minimum living allowance as a solution to the problem of poverty and unemployment. It was Keynes who said: “Free trade assumes that if you throw men out of work in one direction you re-employ them in another. As soon as that link is broken the whole of the free trade argument breaks down”.

Liberalism in politics, especially after the end of the Cold War, has degenerated into averaging and alternative-free policies in the “end of history” spirit. Even Henry Kissinger admitted in his “World Order” (2014) that Western elites had again relied on automaticity, as was the case with the market. But as it was shown by Karl Marx supported by modern economists (Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Thomas Picketty and others), free markets always give advantage to the investing classes, which only leads to more inequality.

In this respect, the 45-year post-WW2 period was an exception to the rule due to the creation of a social welfare state – the one that is now being destroyed by the neoliberal economics. Along with it the middle class is being destroyed – the pillar of Western democracy. For these reasons the real discourse of democracy is being substituted in the West by a discourse of liberalism. This involves labelling all protest voters as “populists” and “nationalists”, allowing to side-step the issue of the inability of the actual political system to represent this silent majority. Yet, that is what’s going on when differences blur between the Right and the Left, Tory and Labour in Britain, Republicans and Democrats in the US, or Christian Democrats and Social Democrats in Germany’s “Grand coalition”. Is it any wonder that when an opportunity arises to have a say, this majority votes for Brexit, Trump, or newly-created anti-system parties and movements, often with marginal ideologies?    

In social terms, as BBC is trying to explain in this ongoing debate, liberalism is about protecting the rights of minorities of all kind, including transgender persons. It turns out that there’s nobody to protect the interests of the majority. Yet, we are speaking of the post-war “social contract”, which simply does not work in liberal economics. Anglo-Saxons are on the path of further liberalisation, which the continental Europe cannot afford. Boris Johnson, contributing to the discussion, has said the other day that Brexit is precisely aimed at giving a new lease of life to it by following the US in income tax reductions for business and private individuals.    

British political analyst David Goodhart (in “The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics”, 2017) shows another perspective of the issue. In his opinion, the elites have become cosmopolitan, but the majority has remained rooted in their own countries, regions and communities. In other words, the majority sticks to its national identity, unlike the elites. Even the European middle class, united by similar living standards and occupations, becomes aware of its nationality when hit by bad economic times.

Those who accuse Russia of meddling in internal affairs of Western countries are essentially denying their voters the right to vote, while the genesis of the liberalism crisis clearly points to its roots and origins inside the system. It was no-one else but Angela Merkel who in 2010 spoke of failure of multiculturalism in Germany, while calling for intensifying efforts at integrating immigrants into German society.

It was not Moscow that drew the attention to this problem. As early as 2007, the Economist wrote of a “secular overreachl” in the West, while today many are voicing concerns over a “liberal overreach”. Speaking broadly, it can be said that in the absence of a competitive environment in the realm of ideas after the end of the Cold War (which ended up doing a disservice to Western elites), liberalism has mutated into a dogma, a totalitarian ideology which does not tolerate dissent or pluralism of ideas. No wonder that the elites have resorted to political technologies, media control and political correctness to tighten the grip on the freedom of speech and generate semblance of an alternative-free existence. Social media have put an end to this, becoming a tool for politically alienated electorate to self-organize. As a measure to protect the status quo, the elites are now constructing an artificial dichotomy of liberalism vs authoritarianism, i.e. if not one, it’s definitely the other.

It is, therefore, not about the end of the liberal idea, just as President Putin pointed out, but that it cannot claim to be a one-size-fits-all model negating the wealth of ideas in Europe and the world. The problem is that any ideology, as history has shown, is always aggressive when it claims the ultimate truth, exceptionalism and, as a result, becomes a threat to the world. The notion of a “liberal world order” has also been introduced only recently, as a defensive reaction of the West when its dominance in global politics, economy and finance is coming to an end. Everything could have been different, had Western elites bothered to make this order, Bretton Woods institutions included, truly liberal, open and inclusive. Nobody was preventing them from doing so.

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