Empire of Reason Commentary No. 15

To:  The People of the United States, September 6, 2022


By Mark Albertson

* * * *

For decades now, Americans have lived in a War Capitalist State.  Have lived with a permanent Military-Industrial Complex.  A requirement most necessary to maintain Pax Americana.  For with the demise of the Soviet Union, America has enjoyed the unrivaled stature as the globe’s sole superpower.  Reminiscent of, but certainly not the replication, of America’s short-lived and peerless status of 1945-1949.

Since America became a Global Power, it has lived on and off as a militarized state.  This is the price Americans have paid to enjoy that status of Global Power; followed by that of becoming a Superpower.  And part of that price has been to erect a Military-Industrial Complex, which has underpinned a strong central government that is dominated by that unholy collusion of industry and the military.  A strong central government, which since 1917, has grown inexorably into a monolith of centralized control required to conduct Pax Americana; which, in turn, in the guise of the American Corporate State, has all but replaced the American Republic, to the extent that the Constitution and Bill of Rights—the Founders’ blueprint for a limited Republican elective government—has been, for all intents and purposes, just something to be trotted out on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, so to enhance the plastic patriotism in a nation where most of the population has been divorced from decades of the corporate serial wars that have been waged in their name.

In his farewell address, on September 19, 1796, our first president, George Washington, warned against fashioning unwarranted attachments to other nations, “ . . . a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.  Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and Wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification: It leads also to concessions; by unnecessary parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld:  And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite Nation) facility to betray, or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gliding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition or infatuation.”[1]

An example of President Washington’s concerns is today’s Saudi-American relationship.  America, the reputed gold-standard of representative government, and Saudi Arabia, home to the Wahhab school of conservative Islam, which Riyadh perpetuates with a Comintern-like string of Madrassahs or “Religious Schools,” so as to spread their poisonous dogma of anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-Capitalism, anti-Western clap-trap throughout the Muslim world and even beyond.  This, too, has fostered billions in arms sales which has benefited the Military-Industrial-Financial-Security-Congressional Complex; but, of course, there are the attendant consequences . . .

. . . The enmity of Iran for one.  Which, for all intents and purposes, has embroiled Americans in the perpetual Sunni-Shia imbroglio, with its episodic explosive rounds of discord which has lasted some fourteen centuries.  Yet, has proven a market for the American arms manufacturers.

With the demise of European dominance of global affairs in 1945 and the resulting void filled by the United States and the Soviet Union, a new strategic balance of power arose.  At the same time the collapse of the White, Christian colonial powers of Europe led to masses of peoples in Africa and Asia to engage in Revolutionary Nationalism in an effort to create post-colonial states and breathe life into Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points from 1918-1919, that peoples will be able to determine their own fates.

Yet Western militarism was not merely based on maintaining arms and armies, as it was for the export of weapons and war that was the result of the concept of Levee en Masse, organizing entire populations and economies for war, for industrialized, corporatized, commercialized war . . . better known as Total War.  Yet the atomic option unleashed in 1945 led to the conclusion of Total War, as it had been previously practiced.  But not Western Militarism.  Which has resulted, in many of these new countries being caught up or even trapped in the Cold War competition led by the United States and the Soviet Union; which led to the subordination of civilian values for those of the military variety.  The excessive spending on armaments that has propped up a myriad of Sawdust Caesars has led to the mortgaging of their peoples who longed for a different future in 1945.  Many of the “armies” spawned, were of little military value, being at best armed mobs, were on the receiving end of “Western technology transfers,” terminology that is, in reality, Madison Avenue mumbo-jumbo for arms transfers from rich nations to poor ones.  Providing, in many cases, suspect regimes with lethal arms technologies that Western nations themselves have employed with the most frightening of lethal effects. 

The modern culture of military weaponry based on Levee en Masse has swept across the developed and undeveloped worlds, resulting in many of the conflicts which plague us today.  The collapse of the European colonial powers did not mean the end of colonialism or imperialism.  For there was the United States, in addition to the Soviet Union.  The military combines emerging from those economic dynamos of said Cold War opponents needed to be fed, following the defeat of the Axis Powers.  Not only would it help to change the global dynamics of power, but would irrevocably alter the internal politics of each of the major participants; this was especially true for one of the contenders in particular . . . the United States.  Since 1945, Pax Americana has helped to cause a decided shift domestically, from the Constitutional precepts of the Grand Republic to the authoritarian mechanisms of the American Corporate State.  Indeed, the economic and political power usurped and wielded by the Military-Industrial-Financial-Security-Congressional Complex is without peer; to the extent that aspirants for the Oval Office, whether from the Democrat and Republican denominations, dare not touch it.  For to do so will be at their political peril.  For instance:

The former occupant of the Oval Office flip-flopped his stance on defense spending, when as a populist candidate, he once observed:  “We have—even in the military—I’m gonna build a military that’s gonna be much stronger than it is right now.  It’s gonna be so strong, nobody’s gonna mess with us.  But you know what?  We can do it for a lot less.  They sent a washer from South Carolina to Texas.  It cost $997,000, okay? . . . It was a fraud . . . I think we can make our defense much stronger, spend somewhat less money . . . when they send an 18 cent washer from South Carolina to Texas and it costs almost a million dollars to bring it there, because of the fraud and abuse and everything else—I mean, it was a fraud—but there have been many cases like that—we can save so much.  When a hammer that you buy at Home Depot for $8.00 . . . costs nine hundred dollars.”[2] Of course, all that from Mr., “I know more than the generals.”

Of course, corporate candidate/opportunist Donald Trump, later stated:  “Under Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton, defense spending is on track to fall to its lowest level as a share of the economy since the end of World War II.  We currently have the smallest Army since 1940.  The Navy is among the smallest it has been since 1915.  And the Air Force is the smallest it has been since 1947. . .

“In the current year, we are spending $548 billion—a cut of 10% in real inflation-adjusted dollars.  This reduction was done through what is known as the sequester, or automatic defense budget cuts.  Under the budget agreement, defense took half of the cuts—even though it makes up only one-sixth of the budget.  As soon as I take office, I will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military.  This will increase certainty in the defense community as to funding, and will allow military leaders to plan for our future defense needs.  As part of removing the defense sequester, I will ask Congress to fully offset the costs of increased military spending.  In the process, we will make government leaner and more responsive to the public.”[3]

Indeed, the more things change, the more they remain the same, especially in the War Capitalist State of America. . . .


[1]  See page 105, “Farewell Address, George Washington, September 19, 1796,” Founding Character:  The Words & Documents That Forged a Nation, Edited by Kirk Ward Robinson and Christopher Easton.

[2]  “Source: NBC News, “Meet the Press Transcript—Oct. 4, 2015, nbcnews.com, Oct. 4, 2015,” Britannica Pro-Con.org   2016election.procom.org/view/answers.election . . .

[3]  See pages 4 and 5, “Transcript of Donald’s Trump Speech on National Security in Philadelphia,” The Hill, September 7, 2016.

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Mark Albertson

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