Offensive War:US Economic Policy behind US Military Policy
"The US is an economic colossus on shaky foundations..One of the leading US economists, Paul Krugman, declared at the beginning of 2002 that the Enron bankruptcy will be a greater turning point for US society than the collapse of the World Trade Center..While the US defense budget in 2007 will soar to the astronomic sum of $451 billion, 17 states are considering reducing the school week to four days." This article is translated from the German, September 2002
Offensive War - US Economic Policy behind US Military Policy
By Clemens Ronnefeldt
[This article originally published in: FriedensForum September 2002 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,
In a programmatic speech before graduates of the US West Point military academy, President George W. Bush on June 2, 2002 urged "being prepared to strike at any dark corner of the world without delay. Our security demands of all Americans resolutely looking forward and being ready for preventive strikes whenever necessary to defend our freedom and our life." "The war against terrorism will not be won on the defensive", declared the US president, "we must wage the battle on the enemy's land, frustrate their plans and counter the worst threats before they emerge." Different military strategies and acts could follow these words.
On July 17, 2002, the Los Angeles Times published excerpts from the latest Defense Planning Guidance for 2004-2009. In the past, US military planning started from the assumption that two great wars could be waged simultaneously at different places. The new document emphasized "taking the initiative" at every place of the world and not being surprised in the future with the adversary's "unexpected attacks".
The speed with which US leaders convert future offensive wars into a new kind of order seems to surprise and paralyze friends (perhaps except for Tony Blair) and enemies.
The New Division of the World under US Special Command
On October 1, 2002, the world was divided again. For the first time in history, there will be no corner of the earth not under one of the national supreme military commands of the US. A military supreme command (NORTHCOM) will be completely reestablished for North America's defense.
The competence of the Europe supreme command (EUCOM) now ruling over the largest part of Africa will also cover the former rival Russia in the future. The Antarktis will be added to the Pacific supreme command (PACOM).
The powers for Central- and South America (SOUTHCOM) as well as northeast Africa, Persian Gulf, Central Asia and Pakistan remain unchanged.
As Otfried Nassauer explained in detail in the Frankfurt Rundschau documentation on July 15, 2002, a new US military power center arises, "a supreme command with early warning systems and satellites, missile defense systems, offensive strategic missiles and strategic weapons for offensive conventional and nuclear actions. Washington plans an integrated central command for preventive strategic attacks, strategic retaliatory attacks and strategic defense."
At the end of June 2002, the US government made the far-reaching decision to combine the very powerful supreme command for Outer Space (SPACECOM) and the command of strategic armed forces into a single authority at the Offut air force base in Nebraska.
One of the decisive and controversial ideas of the Nuclear Posture Review is implemented for the first time with the new strategic supreme command. Defensive and offensive elements are integrated along with offensive conventional and nuclear options...
To simplify, Washington wants to be able to strike before being attacked...
The fact that pre-emptive, nuclear attacks are not excluded is very alarming. The argument is that many potential targets deep under the earth or bunkers in mountain ranges, for example, cannot be destroyed with conventional weapons."
Herbert Kremp referred to this on February 27, 2002 in "Welt": "The Bush doctrine will not be limited in its development to the removal of terrorist resistance forces and their accomplices. Their pursuance implies expansion in three directions: control of Asia Minor and Central Asian transfer states from Kaukasus to Hindukusch; - prevention of Islamic seizure of power in Saudi Arabia and concentration of interest in Iran, India and China where new power agglomerations arise." Kremp confirmed the Bush doctrine: "The Bush doctrine dictates a code of conduct at the edge of subjugation."
US Economic Policy is behind US Military Policy
"If the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein wants to know how long he will probably be in power, he must keep in mind three things: American polls, the prices on Wall Street and the session calendar of the Senate and House of Representatives. US President George Bush ultimately wants to make his attack on Bagdad announced again and again dependent on domestic political and economic factors", as Wolfgang Koydl began his article "Prepare for Adventure in Bagdad" (Suddeutsche Zeitung, July 19, 2002).
After the Enron- and Worldcom bankruptcies, Vice-president Cheney as the former head of the largest worldwide oil industry supplier "Halliburton" and George W. Bush as the former top manager of the oil service corporation "Harken Oil" are publically criticized on account of balance forgery and their insider trading and are under enormous pressure before the congressional elections in November 2002.
The Iraqi leader should also keep an eye on the economics pages of the Frankfurt newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung. An "article hidden under the rubric `Financial Markets' pointed out on July 16 that an atypical price rise for short-term oil contracts occurred on the stock exchanges in London and New York. Brokers and speculators ask themselves whether forces expecting immediate supply problems could be involved. Iraq is an important oil exporter. In the case of a war, Iraq could presumably stop its exports", Michael Jaeger wrote in the weekly "Freitag" ("War in the Fall?", July 26, 2002).
On April 22, 2002, the Frankfurt Rundschau reported that the US arms industry "will not experience a boom for 20 years" and explained: "If the plans for a military offensive against Iraq become true, the US arms industry can hope for more growth impulses. Armament stocks are a secure investment in the long-term according to the judgment of experts. The stock prices of the four giants Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics rose altogether 44 percent since the attacks of September 11. War stimulates short-lived production since supplies in bombs, replacement parts and other armament goods must be delivered. The hope for a long-term series of lucrative contracts makes stock prices shoot up `dramatically', says Paul Nisbet from JSA Research, a research institute of the aeronautics branch.
The Afghanistan war largely emptied the weapons arsenals in many places so they must now be refilled. Boeing expanded shift work in St. Charles/ Missouri to boost production of JDAM-precision systems for the `smart bombs'. The reserves are presently so exhausted that an attack on Iraq is not possible according to the opinion of some experts. The minimum munition quantities for an Iraq war will probably be reached again in the fall of 2002.
"The war actions obviously increased investments in the US armament industry and could give more dynamic to the economy to come out of the recession already threatening before September 11", Brazil's catholic bishops wrote at the end of 2001.
The new planned US preventive wars may delay the decline of the US economy several years and entail several thousands of innocent victims. The economic decline of the only superpower can hardly be stopped without a fundamental reform of the US and the aggregate world economy.
The US is an Economic Colossus on Shaky Foundations
On July 8, 2002, Der Spiegel appeared with the front-page story "The New Predatory Capitalism - With Greed and Megalomania into Bankruptcy" in which parallels were drawn between 1929 and 2002. The title correctly describes the present condition of the US economy. One of the leading US economists, Paul Krugmann, declared at the beginning of 2002 that the Enron bankruptcy in retrospect will be a more significant turning point for the US society than the collapse of the World Trade Center.
Wilfried Wolf often refers to the basic data of the US economy as in his article "Terror of the Economy", junge Welt, July 27/28, 2002: "Although the US transacts around half of all direct foreign investments, the overall view is presently very dismal:
· After five years of budgetary surplus, the US fiscal year ending on September 30, 2002 finished with a deficit of $165 billion.
· The upper limit for public indebtedness fixed by law at $5590 billion had to be raised in June 2002 - with reference to the greater violence.
· The debts of private households are at 108 percent of the gross domestic product, the highest among the OECD states.
· The net assets of private households, adjusted for inflation, fell around 12.3 percent or $400 billion from a peak in the first quarter of 2000 to its temporary low in the 3rd quarter of 2001, amounting to 40 percent of the gross domestic product.
· On account of the worldwide economic weaknesses and the devaluation of the dollar, the US balance-of-payments deficit expanded in the first quarter of 2002 to a record minus $112 billion. For many years, the US economy has suffered in importing disproportionally more goods than are exported.
Japanese investors hold around a third of all US government bonds. If the crisis continues in Japan and this capital is invested either in the Asian home front or in the increasingly more lucrative Euroland in the future, the US economy will fall deeper into a tailspin.
While the US defense budget in 2007 will soar to the astronomic sum of $451 billion, 17 American states are considering reducing the school week to four days because they can no longer pay their qualified teachers.
Where is the Resistance of European Politics?
"Political Washington tends more and more to the conclusion that Europe cannot be a serious political or military partner in the creation of world order and that Europe evades global responsibility. The passivity of European states must be all the more astonishing since the policy of the Bush administration runs counter to the principle of European integration - the increasing codification of international relations - and clearly negates the basic interests of European foreign- and security policy, multilateralism and multipolarity", Otfried Nassauer concludes (Frankfurt Rundschau, July 15, 2002).
Egon Bahr is ever clearer: "The resolved American armaments policy represents a fundamental attack on avowed European interests." "Europe faces the decision whether to interpret its armed forces as Europe's shield or America's sword, whether it will remain a protectorate of political security or become self-determined... Vassals strive for the praise of the protectorate power; partners respect and consider their different roles" (Bahr in: Wi9ssenschaft und Frieden, 3/02).
"Europeans may not only grumble before an Iraq adventure; they must put the US under pressure", Stefan Kornelius urges in the Suddeutschen Zeitung (July 23, 2002) and explains: "Europeans react apathetically to the idea of a new war at the Gulf. They say resigned that it is only a question of time. The decision about the deployment has already been made. This attitude is wrong because it wantonly belittles Europe's influence and simultaneously foments immense potential conflict in societies." Whoever acts like the European governments at present puts his head in the sand and will soon gnash his teeth...
Possible Steps of the German Government
The NATO meeting in November 2002 in Prague with the US demand (in the resolution) for support of preventive wars along with simultaneous threats against Iraq on the eve of the German Bundestag election calls to mind the 1999 NATO summit with the resolution to military interventions without UN mandate and the precedent case of "Kosovo" on the eve of the 1998 Bundestag election.
Risking considerable conflict with the US government in the Iraq question could ring in a new phase of transatlantic relations. This would be an overdue step and a command of political reason.
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