This article was originally published by Jacob G. Hornberger at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
Doing his best to justify President Biden’s $750 billion military budget, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that China’s military has been building its military capabilities at “a very serious and sustained rate.”
Well, of course, it has been. How else would the US national-security establishment justify its ever-increasing budgets? I’m just surprised that Milley didn’t mention Russia in the same breath, as well as North Korea, Cuba, the Taliban, Venezuela, Iran, and all the other minor official enemies, maybe even communist Vietnam too.
China and Russia were the two official enemies — or “rivals,” “opponents,” “enemies” — during the Cold War that kept the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA in high cotton. That was when both countries were supposedly part of an international communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow. If increasing amounts of US taxpayer money were not shifted into the coffers of the US national-security establishment, it was argued, America would end up falling to this international communist conspiracy.
In fact, it was this supposed threat of “godless communism” that was emanating from Moscow that was the justification for converting the federal government to a national-security state in the first place. For more than 150 years, the federal government operated as a limited-government republic with limited powers. After World War II, it was converted to a national-security state to wage the Cold War against China, Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union, other communist countries, and communism in general. That’s when the US national-security establishment acquired omnipotent powers, including the power of assassination.
As we pointed out in our recent online conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination,” by the summer of 1963 President Kennedy had achieved a breakthrough and recognized that this Cold War fear-mongering was nothing more than a racket. At his Peace Speech at American University, he threw the gauntlet down by declaring an end to the Cold War and an intention to have the United States exist in peaceful harmony with the communist world.
That sealed John Kennedy’s fate. No president since Kennedy has dared to do that.
After Kennedy was removed from office, Americans got the Vietnam War and another 25 years of ever-increasing money, influence, and power for the national-security establishment,
It was always assumed by most everyone that the Cold War racket would go on forever. To the shock of the US national-security establishment, the Soviet Union unilaterally called it quits in 1989. China was, of course, still around, just as North Korea and Cuba were. But the Pentagon and the CIA knew that without the Soviet Union, their Cold War racket would no longer be sufficiently powerful to justify ever-increasing budgets.
That’s when they went into the Middle East and began killing, destroying, and humiliating people, knowing that this would almost certainly produce terrorist “blowback” or retaliation. And sure enough, it did: the World Trade Center in 1993, the USS Cole, and the US embassies in East Africa. But none of them was large enough to become a gigantic new official enemy that would replace the Soviet Union and godless communism.
But then the 9/11 attacks came, which provided the new official enemy to replace communism — “terrorism.” The Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA were back in high cotton again with ever-increasing annual budgets to wage their “global war on terrorism.”
The 9/11 terrorist attacks were then used as the excuse to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, where US forces wreaked massive death and destruction over many years, which guaranteed more anger and rage, which ensured a never-ending supply of new terrorists.
Thus, the Pentagon and the CIA had found another official enemy, one that was likely to last for decades, perhaps even longer than the Soviet Union and godless communism.
But after 20 years of interventionism in Afghanistan and the Middle East, US forces are now in retreat, which means that all the fear-mongering about how the terrorists are coming to get us will lack the impact it had on Americans in the years after the 9/11 attacks.
What to do now? The answer is obvious: It’s now time to return to China and Russia as America’s old and new official enemies. Oh, sure, the threat of an international conspiracy involving godless communism supposedly emanating from Moscow will not be available but the hope is that Americans will nonetheless be just as afraid so that they don’t question the ever-increasing amounts of taxpayer largess going into the military intelligence coffers.
There is only one solution to this sordid, deadly, destructive, and corrupt racket: the dismantling, not the reform, of the national-security state apparatus and the restoration of America’s founding governmental system of a limited-government republic. That’s the way to lead America to peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world.