Why Americans Must End America’s Self-Generating Wars

September 3rd, 2012

Published on Global Research.ca (firsts on The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus), by Dr. Peter Dale Scott, August 30, 2012.

The most urgent political challenge to the world today is how to prevent the so-called “pax Americana” from progressively degenerating, like the 19th-century so-called “pax Britannica” before it, into major global warfare. I say “so-called,” because each “pax,” in its final stages, became less and less peaceful, less and less orderly, more and more a naked imposition of belligerent competitive power based on inequality … //

… The Pax Americana in the Light of the Pax Britannica:

  • The world is not condemned to repeat this tragedy under the Pax Americana. Global interdependence and above all communications have greatly improved. We possess the knowledge, the abilities, and the incentives to understand historical processes more skillfully than before. Above all it is increasingly evident to a global minority that American hypermilitarism, in the name of security, is becoming – much like British hypermilitarism in the 19th century — a threat to everyone’s security, including America’s, by inducing and increasingly seeking wider and wider wars.
  • There is one consolation for Americans in this increasing global disequilibrium. As the causes for global insecurity become more and more located in our own country, so also do the remedies. More than their British predecessors, Americans have an opportunity that other peoples do not, to diminish global tensions and move towards a more equitable global regimen. Of course one cannot predict that such a restoration can be achieved. But the disastrous end of the Pax Britannica, and the increasingly heavy burdens borne by Americans, suggest that it is necessary. For American unilateral expansionism, like Britain’s before it, is now contributing to a breakdown of the understandings and international legal arrangements (notably those of the UN Charter) that for some decades contributed to relative stability.
  • It needs to be stated clearly that the American arms build-up today is the leading cause in the world of a global arms build-up – one that is ominously reminiscent of the arms race, fuelled by the British armaments industry, that led to the 1911 Agadir incident and soon after to World War I. But today’s arms build-up cannot be called an arms race: it is so dominated by America (and its NATO allies, required by NATO policy to have compatible armaments) that the responsive arms sales of Russia and China are small by comparison:
  • In 2010 …the United States maintained its dominating position in the global arms bazaar, signing $21.3 billion in worldwide arms sales, or 52.7 percent of all weapons deals, ….
  • Russia was second with $7.8 billion in arms sales in 2010, or 19.3 percent of the market, compared with $12.8 billion in 2009. Following the United States and Russia in sales were France, Britain, China, Germany and Italy.19
  • A year later America’s total dominance of overseas arms sales had more than doubled, to represent 79 percent of global arms sales:
  • Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.20
  • And what is NATO’s primary activity today requiring arms? Not defense against Russia, but support for America in its self-generating War on Terror, in Afghanistan as once in Iraq. The War on Terror should be seen for what it really is: a pretext for maintaining a dangerously oversized U.S. military, in an increasingly unstable exercise of unjust power.
  • In other words America is by far the chief country flooding the world with armaments today. It is imperative that Americans force a reassessment of this incentive to global poverty and insecurity. We need to recall Eisenhower’s famous warning in 1953 that “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, is in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”21
  • It is worth recalling that President Kennedy, in his American University speech of June 10, 1963, called for a vision of peace that would explicitly not be “a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.”22 His vision was wise, if short-lived. After sixty years of the American security system – the so-called “Pax Americana” – America itself is ever more caught up in an increasingly paranoid condition of psychological insecurity. Traditional features of American culture – such as respect for habeas corpus and international law – are being jettisoned at home and abroad because of a so-called terrorist threat that is largely of America’s own making.

The Covert US-Saudi Alliance and the War on Terror: … //

… What Is to Be Done?

  • … This paper has argued, using the analogy of British errors in the late 19th century, for a progressive return to a more stable and just international order, by a series of concrete steps, some of them incremental:
  • 1) a progressive reduction of America’s bloated military and intelligence budgets, over and above that already contemplated for financial reasons.
  • 2) a progressive phase-out of the violent aspects of the so-called war on terror, while retaining traditional law enforcement means for dealing with terrorists
  • 3) Much of the recent intensification of American militarism can be traced to the “state of emergency” proclaimed on September 14, 2001, and renewed annually by American presidents ever since. We need an immediate termination of this state of emergency, and a reassessment of all the so-called “continuity of government” (COG) measures associated with it – warrantless surveillance, warrantless detention, and the militarization of domestic American security.44
  • 4) a return to strategies for dealing with the problem of terrorists that rely primarily on civilian policing and intelligence.
  • Forty years ago I would have appealed to Congress to take these steps to defuse the state of paranoia we are living under. Today I have come to see that Congress itself is dominated by the powers that profit from what I have called America’s global war machine. The so-called “statesmen” of America are as dedicated to the preservation of American dominance as were their British predecessors.
  • But to say this is not to despair of America’s ability to change direction. We should keep in mind that four decades ago domestic political protest played a critical role in helping to end an unjustified war in Vietnam. It is true that in 2003 similar protests – involving one million Americans – failed to impede America’s entry into an unjustified war in Iraq. Nevertheless, the large number of protesters, assembled under relatively short notice, was impressive. The question is whether protesters can adapt their tactics to new realities and mount a sustained and effective campaign.
  • Under the guise of COG planning, the American war machine has been preparing for forty years to neutralize street antiwar protests. Taking cognizance of this, and using the folly of British hypermilitarism as an example, today’s antiwar movement must learn how to apply coordinated pressure within American institutions – not just by “occupying” the streets with the aid of the homeless. It is not enough simply to denounce, as did Churchill in 1908, the increasing disparity of wealth between rich and poor. One must go beyond this to see the origins of this disparity in dysfunctional institutional arrangements that are corrigible. And one of the chief of these is the so-called War on Terror.
  • No one can predict the success of such a movement. But I believe that global developments will persuade more and more Americans that it is necessary. It should appeal to a broad spectrum of the American electorate, from the viewers of Democracy Now on the left to the libertarian followers of Murray Rothbard, Ron Paul, and Lew Rockwell on the right.
  • And I believe also that a well-coordinated nonviolent antiwar minority – of from two to five million, acting with the resources of truth and common sense on their side – can win. America’s core political institutions at present are both dysfunctional and unpopular: Congress in particular has an approval rating of about ten percent. A more serious problem is the determined resistance of corporate and personal wealth to reasonable reforms; but the more nakedly wealth shows its undemocratic influence, the more evident will become the need to curb its abuses. Currently wealth has targeted for removal Congress members who have been guilty of compromise to solve government problems. Surely there is an American majority out there to be mobilized for a return to common sense.
  • Clearly new strategies and techniques of protest will be needed. It is not the purpose here to define them, but future protests – or cyberprotests – will predictably make more skillful use of the Internet.
  • I repeat that one cannot be confident of victory in the struggle for sanity against special interests and ignorant ideologues. But with the increasing danger of a calamitous international conflict, the need to mobilize for sanity is increasingly clear. The study of history is one of the most effective ways to avoid repeating it.
  • Are these hopes for protest mere wishful thinking? Very possibly. But, wishful or not, I consider them to be necessary …//

… (full long text and Notes 1 to 44).

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