Russia, Is Real Threat to US Power
US military budget is a classic illustration of the
proverb about not seeing the wood for the trees. It
is such an overwhelming outgrowth, all too often it
years, Washington’s military expenditure averages
around $600 billion a year. That’s over half of the
spending by the US government, exceeding budgets
for education, health and social security. It’s well
over a third of the total world military annual
spend of $1.7 trillion.
incipient military-industrial complex that President
Dwight Eisenhower warned of in his farewell speech
in 1961 has indeed become a central, defining
feature of American society and economy. To talk of
«American free-market capitalism» is a staggering
oxymoron when so much of the country’s economy is
wholly dependent on government-funded militarism.
Or put it
another way: if the US military budget were somehow
drastically reduced in line with other nations, the
all-powerful military-industrial complex and the
American state as we know it would collapse. No
doubt something better would evolve in time, but the
impact on established power interests would be
calamitous and therefore is trenchantly resisted.
This is the
context for the escalation in Cold War tensions with
Russia this week, with the deployment of
the US missile system in Romania. The $800 million
so-called missile shield is set to expand to Poland
over the next two years and eventually will cover
all of Europe from Greenland to southern Spain.
and NATO officials maintain that the Aegis
anti-missile network is not targeted at Russia.
Unconvincingly, the US-led military alliance claims
that the system is to defend against Iranian
ballistic missiles or from other unspecified «rogue
states». Given that Europe is well beyond the range
of any Iranian ballistic capability and in light of
the international nuclear accord signed last year
between Tehran and the P5+1 powers, the rationale of
«defense against Iranian rockets» beggars belief.
government is not buying American and NATO denials
that the new missile system is not directed at
Russia. The Kremlin reproached the
latest deployment as a threat to its security,
adding that it would be taking appropriate
counter-measures to restore the strategic nuclear
balance. That’s because the US Aegis system can be
reasonably construed as giving NATO forces a
«first-strike option» against Russia.
A couple of
things need to be clarified before addressing the
main point here. First, European states are chasing
Iranian business investments and markets following
the breakthrough P5+1 accord signed last July.
Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Austria are
among the Europeans who have been vying to tap
Iran’s huge economic potential. The notion that Iran
is harboring a military threat to such prospective
partners is ludicrous, as Russian officials have
the US protestations of innocent intentions towards
Russia are a contemptible insult to common sense.
They contradict countless statements by Washington,
including President Obama and his Pentagon top
brass, which have nominated Russia as an aggressive
threat to Europe. Washington is quadrupling its
military spending in Europe, increasing its troops,
tanks, fighter jets, warships and war exercises on
Russia’s borders on the explicit basis of «deterring
words, Russia is viewed as a top global enemy – an
existential threat – according to Washington. So,
the deployment of the US Aegis missile system this
week in Eastern Europe is fully consistent with
Washington’s bellicose policies towards Russia. It
would thus be irrational and foolishly naive to
somehow conclude otherwise, that the US and its NATO
allies are not on an offensive march towards Russia.
depiction of Russia as a global security threat is
of course absurd. We can also include similar US
claims against China, Iran and North Korea. All such
US-designated «enemies» are wildly overblown.
claims – amplified relentlessly in the Western news
media – of Russia «annexing» Crimea and «invading»
eastern Ukraine can be easily contested with facts
and indeed counterpoised more accurately as belying
Washington’s covert regime change in Kiev.
Nevertheless, Western fear-mongering supported by
unremitting media propaganda has to a degree
succeeded in conflating these dubious claims into a
bigger specter of Russia menacing all of Europe with
hybrid warfare. It is, to be sure, a preposterous
scare story of a Russian bogeyman which has racist
undertones and antecedents in Nazi ideology of
demonizing Slavic barbarians.
demonizing of Russia, as with other global enemies,
is a necessary prop for the American
military-industrial complex and its essential
functioning for the US economy.
billion-a-year military spend by Washington is
roughly tenfold what Russia spends. And yet,
inverting reality, Russia is presented as the
military budget is greater than
the combined budgets of the world’s next nine big
military spenders: China, Saudi Arabia, Russia,
Britain, France, Germany, India, Japan and South
Korea, according to the Stockholm International
Peace Research Institute.
the US economy as we know it – dominated by
Pentagon, corporate, Wall Street and congressional
interests – would cease to exist were it not for the
gargantuan government-subsidized military budget.
Structurally, the US economy has ossified into a war
economy and the only way for this to be maintained
is for the US to be continually placed on a war
footing, either in the form of a Cold or Hot
conflict. Historians will note that out of its 240
years of existence as a modern state, the US has
been in war or overseas conflict for more than 95
per cent of its history.
former Cold War with the Soviet Union, a recurring
theme in Washington was the alleged «missile gap»
which purported to portray the US as losing its
military edge. This resulted in relentless military
expenditure and an arms race that in part led to the
collapse of the Soviet Union.
Washington’s self-ordained privilege to run up
endless debt (currently nearly $20 trillion) because
of its dollar dominance as the world’s reserve
currency has permitted the US to escape a day of
reckoning for its ruinous military profligacy.
situation continues to prevail. A quarter of a
century after the official end of the old Cold War,
US military spending continues at the same
profligate, unsustainable pace.
Washington needs in order to keep the fiasco going
is to whip the rest of the world into a frenzy of
fear and loathing. That’s why the Cold War with
Russia and China has had to be rehabilitated in
recent years. Swords cannot be turned into
plowshares because the US power interests that
command its economy have no use for plowshares.
President Vladimir Putin has on several occasions
invited global cooperation on security matters, and
with the US in particular. Moscow has also recently
said that it does not want to embark on a new arms
race. The latter wariness is understandable given
the deleterious experience for the Soviet Union from
runaway military spending.
that is precisely what the US wants and needs to
induce: a global arms race which it can then invoke
as justification for its own monstrous military.
to SIPRI, both China and Russia have significantly increased their
military budgets, by about 7.5 per cent each in
not want to engage in an arms race, mindful of the
warping pressure that can inflict on its national
resources and development.
the US installs a new missile system on Russia’s
doorstep, the impetus for Russia to likewise scale
up military commitments is onerous.
And that is
what Washington is driving at. It is not that Russia
is an objective security threat to Washington or its
allies. The real threat to Washington is peaceful
international relations which would make its
military-industrial complex redundant.
It is a
disturbing reality that world peace is antithetical
to the very foundation of America’s corporate
the world is subjected to the risk of war and even
annihilation all for the purpose of maintaining
elite American power privileges. And among those who
suffer this diabolical injustice are none other than
the majority of American citizens, who have to
endure poverty and misery while their corporate
elite siphon off $600 billion a-year in military
Cunningham is former editor and writer for major
news media organizations. He has written extensively
on international affairs, with articles published in