The United States has been engaged in some state of warfare almost continuously since World War II. Some wars have been major ones, such as in Korea and Vietnam, and resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of American service personnel. Other wars such as in Grenada and Panama, were more like police actions. Air actions in a dozen nations such as Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria are not counted by most as being in a state of war, although they actually are. We have ground forces in Syria today and have established bases there – that is a state of war.
Yet, after fighting to a stalemate in Korea, losing in Vietnam and accomplishing nothing in Libya, Iraq and Syria other than destroying those nations’ infrastructure and creating a fertile ground for Sunni Muslim terrorist groups, American generals now have a renewed high level of confidence. This over-confidence – along with the support of neocons in Congress – could lead to a devastating war against either Russia, China or both. And these wars could easily lead to the use of nuclear weapons, because such wars cannot be won on the ground, despite the incredible technological advantages of American forces.
Russia looks like a pushover to American military brass. Russia has a population less than half that of the United States and an army of only 270,000 active duty members. Russia only has 1,046 combat capable aircraft vs. over 5,000 American warplanes. Teamed up with NATO, the American advantage in air power is about 18 to 1. Russia would have no choice but to rely on her nuclear capacities to be able to counter any major NATO action.
With Russia’s only deterrent being nuclear, the Pentagon on Jan. 18 announced plans for an “updated” nuclear arsenal that would include sea-based nuclear tipped cruise missiles. Despite the limitations in recruiting a professional army (paid volunteers rather than draftees) the military brass see the United States as able to fight Russia in Europe and China in Asia at the same time.
Officially, more than 200,000 American service personnel are stationed overseas. This number does not include military contractors, many of whom are “Blackwater” type armed personnel paid by the Defense Department, CIA and other agencies. Official numbers are hard to get, but in Afghanistan under the Obama administration, there were three war-zone contractors for every one member of the U.S. military. In fact, during the Obama administration more military contractors died in action in Afghanistan than did military personnel.
There are 800 American military bases in foreign nations, and the Pentagon claims to have personnel active in 177 nations.
The sheer power and number of men and machines available gives the generals and the politicians supreme confidence of victory, despite having accomplished nothing but a state of chaos in Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa ever since 2002, after spending nearly $3 trillion.
Woefully, American politicians are ready and willing to put up the money to go to war. The official military budget for fiscal 2017 was $611 billion, which is more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, the U.K., Japan and Germany combined. The 2017 Russian military budget, including the war in Syria, was $70 billion, and China’s was $215 billion. The 2018 U.S. budget, more than President Trump requested, is over $700 billion – a whopping 10-to-1 ratio with that of Russia.
The rhetoric is at an all time high. An op-ed in in the Jan. 18 edition of the Wall Street Journal maintained that “U.S. policy should be to end the Islamic Republic (in Iran) before its 40th birthday.” The official editorial in the Wall Street Journal that same day called for increased military spending. A Fox News opinion editor the same week called for a naval blockade of North Korea, “designed to slowly choke the recalcitrant nation to submission.”
A Washington Post op-ed penned by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, stated it was “time to seize the initiative, put Kim Jong-un on his heels and set conditions on America’s terms.” Secretary of State Tillerson has said numerous times that a war with Korea is growing “more likely.”
It is beyond belief that American generals and politicians would believe that China will allow a naval blockade or a military strike against a nation it shares a border with. President Trump fostering a trade war with China is one step too far; an actual war with China is about 100 steps too far, unless the American people are willing to accept the reinstatement of the military draft and casualty counts in the hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions.
Less than one month into 2018, both Democratic and Republican leaders were pushing for confrontation with North Korea, Iran, Russia and China. Are the politicians and generals bluffing? What happens if the Russian, Chinese, Iranian and North Korean generals don’t think the threats are empty?
Public statements that compare President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, whose actions caused the deaths of perhaps 50 million people, are flat out insane but show how from reality the American media and politicians have gone in their support of war-time thinking. Even previously anti-war media outlets such as the Washington Post and CNN now bring anti-Russian rhetoric to a level not seen since the characterizations of Japan’s Gen. Tojo during World War II.
A lot of this political noise is garbage, but it buys bigger military budgets that bring defense jobs to almost every state. It also, however, increases the chance of war.
Russia is not going to invade either Iceland or Sweden, but will be happy to sell those nations more oil; North Korea is not going to bomb Japan; Iran is not an existential threat to nuclear armed nations such as the United States and Israel; China has no territorial interests at all except the oil under the South China Sea. Yet war is becoming more and more probable with one or perhaps all these nations unless the wartime tone of America’s media and politicians can be brought down to a roar.