“Peace does not define U.S. foreign policy. Everything is geared toward intimidation and war.”
By Vijay Prashad
Independent Media Institute (8/1/18)
Last week, on July 26, the United States House of Representatives passed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which will then go on to the U.S. Senate and finally to the U.S. president. It is worthwhile to note that 139 Democrats, including the entire Democratic Party leadership, voted for this bill. This Act provides the U.S. government with $717 billion for a year’s military spending. This is $100 billion more than was spent last year (which is itself more than half of the annual Chinese military budget). No country spends money on its military like the United States. It’s not long now before the annual U.S. military budget will cross the $1 trillion mark.
In fact, many suggest that if the covert parts of the budget—for the CIA, for military intelligence, for the National Security Agency and for the ongoing wars—are added in, the $1 trillion threshold has already been crossed.
Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire, recently told CNBC that the United States has wasted $14 trillion over the past 30 years in its many, many wars. A modest estimate suggests that the U.S. war on Afghanistan—which is ongoing since 2001—has itself cost over $1 trillion. After all this time and money, and after all the human suffering, it is now certain that the United States, Imran Khan’s government in Pakistan and the Chinese will seek a compromise with the Taliban. Ma’s statement about “waste” should be taken very seriously. A foreign policy that sows disorder and chaos, which increases human suffering, is a waste—regardless of the benefits it might produce for the arms dealers.
Power Through the Barrel of a Gun
This week, on July 30, the United States’ military’s African Command (Africom) admitted that it was flying armed drones out of a U.S. base in Niamey, Niger’s capital. Africom’s spokesperson Samantha Reho said that the government of Niger gave the U.S. permission to do so in November 2017, and that the U.S. began to fly these armed drones in early 2018. There was no admission that the U.S. has fired any of these drones.
Very soon, these lethal drones will move from Air Base 101 in Niamey to the newly constructed Air Base 201 in Agadez. This new base is one of the largest drone bases in the world. The drones from here can travel from one end of West Africa to cover most of North Africa. Another U.S. drone base in Djibouti is able to send its lethal machines across East Africa and deep into Central Africa. In sum, with these two bases, the U.S. is able to strike targets across most of the African continent. All this with no debate in the U.S. Congress and with little care for the sensibilities of the African people. …
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
- Trump Admin Increase In Lockheed Contract Could Be Devastating For The People Of Yemen — Lockheed Martin was awarded a new defense contract on Monday, including $225 million for foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia. The contract is a modification to a previously negotiated agreement with Saudi Arabia to provide four multi-mission surface combatant ships (MMSC) to the Kingdom for $11.25 billion. The MMSC ships are a variant of the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), which has been plagued by cost overruns and mechanical failures. … Read the Rest