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America’s National Defense Is Really Offense

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 26.01.2018

On Friday, the Pentagon released an unclassified summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy report. On the same day, Secretary of Defense James Mattis delivered prepared remarks relating to the document.

Reading the summary is illuminating, to say the least, and somewhat disturbing, as it focuses very little on actual defense of the realm and relates much more to offensive military action that might be employed to further certain debatable national interests. Occasionally, it is actually delusional, as when it refers to consolidating “gains we have made in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.”

At times Mattis’ supplementary “remarks” were more bombastic than reassuring, as when he warned “… those who would threaten America’s experiment in democracy: if you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day.” He did not exactly go into what the military response to hacking a politician’s emails might be and one can only speculate, which is precisely the problem.

One of the most bizarre aspects of the report is its breathtaking assumption that “competitors” should be subjected to a potential military response if it is determined that they are in conflict with the strategic goals of the U.S. government. It is far removed from the old-fashioned Constitutional concept that one has armed forces to defend the country against an actual threat involving an attack by hostile forces and instead embraces preventive war, which is clearly an excuse for serial interventions overseas.

Some of the remarks by Mattis relate to China and Russia.  He said that “We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia, nations that seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models – pursuing veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic and security decisions.” There is, however, no evidence that either country is exporting “authoritarian models,” nor are they vetoing anything that they do not perceive as direct and immediate threats frequently orchestrated by Washington, which is intervening in local quarrels thousands of miles away from the U.S. borders. And when it comes to exporting models, who does it more persistently than Washington?

The report goes on to state that Russia and China and rogue regimes like Iran have “…increased efforts short of armed conflict by expanding coercion to new fronts, violating principle of sovereignty, exploiting ambiguity, and deliberately blurring the lines between civil and military goals.” As confusing civil and military is what the United States itself has been doing in Libya, Iraq and, currently, Syria, the allegation might be considered ironic.

The scariest assertion in the summary is the following: “Nuclear forces – Modernization of the nuclear force includes developing options to counter competitors’ coercive strategies, predicated on the threatened use of nuclear or strategic non-nuclear attacks.” That means that the White House and Pentagon are reserving the option to use nuclear weapons even when there is no imminent or existential threat as long as there is a “strategic” reason for doing so. Strategic would be defined by the president and Mattis, while the War Powers Act allows Donald Trump to legally initiate a nuclear attack.

What might that mean in practice? Back in 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney had requested “a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States… [including] a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons … not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States.”

Possible employment of “weapons of mass destruction” responded to intelligence suggesting that conventional weapons would be unable to penetrate the underground hardened sites where Iran’s presumed nuclear weapons facilities were reportedly located. But as it turned out, Iran had no nuclear weapons program and attacking it would have been totally gratuitous. Some other neocon inspired plans to attack Iran also included a nuclear option if Iran actually had the temerity to resist American force majeure.

Pentagon planners clearly anticipate another year of playing at defense by keeping the offense on the field. An impetuous and poorly informed president is a danger to all of us, particularly as he is surrounded by general-advisers who see a military solution to every problem. Hopefully wiser counsel will prevail.

January 26, 2018 - Posted by | Militarism |

8 Comments »

  1. It’s all about enforcing the compulsory use of the US$ as the universal medium of exchange. Any regime that so much as looks at an alternative may expect to be nuked. Simple as that.

    Comment by traducteur | January 26, 2018 | Reply

    • Yet time after time the US Dept. of the Treasury forces those nations that Israel seeks to dismember to stop using the US dollar in international transactions.

      In every case they kept with the US dominated international financial system until expelled.

      Comment by aletho | January 26, 2018 | Reply

      • Justement, once there is an alternative to the dollar, Treasury will not have the power to destroy countries at a stroke.

        Comment by traducteur | January 26, 2018 | Reply

        • The alternative to the dollar would be a lot slower in arriving if the US would back off shaking down western banks that conduct dollar denominated transactions with the enemy of the day.

          It would seem that the various US administrations have all viewed retaining the dollar as an international medium of exchange as of very little relative importance.

          Of course, reserves can be held in any currency and those funds can be used to settle accounts in dollars. Electronic trading has no problems regarding rapidity.

          Comment by aletho | January 26, 2018 | Reply

          • The value of the dollar is being artificially maintained by military force and the threat of it. Can’t last. Best to buy gold and land. Or one might try converting savings into yuan.

            Comment by traducteur | January 26, 2018 | Reply

            • While mercantilist powers usually prefer to lower their currency’s value, making their exports more competitive, the US seems fairly indifferent. Of course, the transnational corporations based in the US now generate most of their income in other currencies anyhow.

              Comment by aletho | January 26, 2018 | Reply

              • And, by the clever use of Tax Havens, they don’t have to show any ‘Patriotism’ to the good ole’ US of A.

                Comment by Brian Harry, Australia | January 26, 2018 | Reply

  2. “2018-National-Defense-Strategy-Summary”

    I don’t know why the Pentagon would be overly concerned with the ‘defence of America’. Anyone silly enough to try to attack America would be committing suicide.
    The deceit in this ‘plan’ is there is apparently NO PLAN or idea on how to deal with the “Subversion” of America, from within, which is clearly already happening. If these people were honest, they might have a long hard look at what has happened INSIDE America first.

    Another great post by Phillip Giraldi, highlighting the Paranoia of those in the Pentagon who’s job it is to conjure up ‘External threats’…… “When you’re a Hammer, EVERYTHING looks like a nail”.

    Comment by Brian Harry, Australia | January 26, 2018 | Reply


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