Trump’s National Security Strategy: The Return of “Great Power” Military Conflict

The new US National Security Strategy released this week and the speech delivered by President Donald Trump Monday to introduce it constitute a grim warning to humanity that US imperialism is firmly embarked on a road that leads to a nuclear third world war.

While the document has largely been passed over in silence by the president’s ostensible political opponents in the Democratic Party and given relatively short shrift by the establishment media, more thoughtful ideologists of imperialism have noted the far-reaching changes presented in the document.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the historian Arthur L. Herman declared Trump’s National Security Strategy heralds a “profound shift back to the world before 1917: an anarchic international arena in which every sovereign state, large or small, has to rely on armed strength” for its security.

“In this new era” Herman writes, “might inevitably makes right.” Only power matters, and “the big powers inevitably dominate the small.”

Herman adds,

“This is the world of Otto von Bismarck, who said in 1862: “The great questions of the time are not decided by speeches and majority decisions. .. but by iron and blood.”

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal lauded the document’s unvarnished realpolitik, praising its identification of China and Russia by name as “revisionist powers” that seek to “challenge American power, influence, and interests.” With a glee that resembles nothing so much as the war fever gripping the ruling classes before the First World War, the Journal hails the document as an “important corrective from the sunny assurances of the Obama years” and his proclamations that “the tide of war is receding.”

The international press has likewise drawn far-reaching conclusions from the document, with Brendan Thomas-Noone proclaiming in the Australian that, despite the “uncertainty” surrounding the Trump Administration, the document reveals a longer-term “shift in the US foreign policy consensus from global economic integration to great power competition.”

He continues:

“The security strategy argues that the US is entering a new era of great power competition with ‘revisionist’ states—China and Russia. For several decades now, US policy has been to engage these powers, bringing them into international institutions and integrating them with the global economy. It was thought that this would, as the strategy puts it, ‘turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners’. It adds that ‘for the most part, this premise turned out to be false.’”

To the extent that there has been criticism from the Democrats and their media allies, it has largely centered on the failure of both the document and the speech to explicitly denounce Russia for its alleged “meddling” in the 2016 election. This line of faultfinding only tends to support the overall bellicose character of the administration’s policy, merely advancing a tactical quibble over whether Russia or China should be the priority target in US war preparations.

Mandated by a law passed in 1986, the annual presentation by the White House to Congress of a National Security Strategy (NSS) is supposed to outline Washington’s “worldwide interests, goals and objectives” and present “proposed short-term and long-term uses of the political, economic, military, and other elements of the national power” to achieve them.

If the latest NSS and Trump’s speech have elicited little in the way of substantive criticism, it is undoubtedly because there has been a strong element of continuity in US strategy over the course of the past quarter century since the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union and the proclamation by Washington of a new “unipolar moment.”

In essence, that strategy has been based on the conclusion that the liquidation of the USSR had relieved US imperialism of previous restraints upon the use of military force in pursuit of its global interests. The predominant layers within the US ruling elite embraced a strategy based upon the delusion that US military supremacy could be actively employed as an instrument for offsetting the relative decline of American capitalism’s dominance of the globe.

This belligerent posture was a manifestation not of American capitalism’s strength, but rather its degeneration and the fears within the US ruling class that the much-celebrated “American Century” could be coming to an end.

In 1992 the Pentagon adopted a foundational Defense Planning Guidance document spelling out Washington’s global hegemonic ambitions. It stated:

“There are other potential nations or coalitions that could, in the further future, develop strategic aims and a defense posture of region-wide or global domination. Our strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.”

The 1990s saw the implementation of this new policy through the first Persian Gulf War and the brutal intervention to break up Yugoslavia, culminating in the US-led bombing of Serbia in 1999.

The events of September 11, 2001 provided the “war on terror” pretext for a vast escalation of global American militarism. Washington’s policy was spelled out in a 2002 National Security Strategy issued by the Republican administration of George W. Bush adopting the doctrine of “preventive warfare.” This doctrine held that the US could attack any country in the world that it perceived as a potential threat to US interests, a policy that essentially repudiated the Nuremberg principles on aggressive war that provided the legal foundation for the trial and execution of the surviving Nazi leaders.

The doctrine found swift application in the US invasion of Iraq, on the phony pretext of “weapons of mass destruction,” producing one of the greatest war crimes since the fall of Hitler’s Third Reich.

Democratic President Barack Obama, elected based on the misconception that he would initiate a reversal of Bush’s policy, embellished upon the “preventive war” doctrine in his justification of the unprovoked 2011 US war of aggression against Libya. He insisted that US military force was justified even when “our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and values are,” adding that this included actions aimed at “ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce.” In other words, Washington reserves the “right” to launch aggressive war anywhere that the profits and markets of US banks and corporations are at stake.

While there is an unmistakable continuity between these earlier elucidations of the doctrine of global US militarism and the belligerent NSS document and speech delivered by Trump, there is also a significant break, reflecting the deepening crisis of American and world capitalism and the fact that the latest stage in the ongoing US struggle for world hegemony is aimed ever more directly at Russia and China, both nuclear powers.

In his speech, Trump cast himself—much in the manner that Adolph Hitler did in Germany eight decades ago—as the savior of the nation and the champion of the “forgotten man” come to reverse a sellout to foreign interests by “too many of our leaders—so many—who forgot whose voices they were to respect, and whose interest they were supposed to defend.”

Underlying this “stab in the back” rhetoric is the fact that the past quarter century of US military aggression has produced one debacle after another while demonstratively failing to reverse the decline of American capitalism on the world stage.

At their core, the NSS document and Trump’s speech reflect the conclusions drawn from this experience by the top brass of the US military, whose representatives—McMaster, Mattis and Kelly—now dominate the White House and US foreign policy. Described by leading Democrats as “the adults in the room,” their prescription is for a massive escalation of US militarism.

The document laments the “strategic complacency” of the US over the past period, the failure to build “military capacity” and acquire “new weapons systems,” as well as the idea that war could be “won quickly, from stand-off distances with minimal casualties.” Clearly, what they have in mind are an unprecedented increase in military spending and new wars in which the deaths of US soldiers will once again be counted in the tens and hundreds of thousands.

Above all, however, the text departs from previous NSS documents in its open embrace of nuclear war as a viable option. The document states that a buildup of the US nuclear arsenal is “essential to prevent nuclear attack, nonnuclear strategic attacks, and large scale conventional aggression,” strongly suggesting that the US military is prepared to launch a nuclear first strike in response to a nonnuclear challenge. It goes on to affirm that “fear of [nuclear] escalation will not deter the United States from defending our vital interests.”

“History,” Leon Trotsky warned on the eve of the Second World War, “is bringing humanity face to face with the volcanic eruption of American imperialism.”

This prognosis has found powerful confirmation in the threats emanating from Washington this week. The lack of any significant opposition makes it clear that there is no “peace faction” within the US ruling establishment. The prospect of a third—nuclear—world war can be countered only by the international working class mobilizing itself as an independent revolutionary force against imperialist war and its source, the capitalist system.


Originally published on 2017-12-20

Author: Bill Van Auken

Source: WSWS.org

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
** FILE ** President Bush declares the end of major combat in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast, in this May 1, 2003 file photo. Democratic congressional leaders on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 sent Iraq legislation setting timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals to President George W. Bush and a certain veto.  On the fourth anniversary of the president's "Mission Accomplished" speech, Senate Majority Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that Bush "has put our troops in the middle of a civil war. A change of course is needed."  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.  
READ MORE
Human Rights Day: Sobering Truths About America’s Imperialist Crimes Against Humanity
Today, December 10, 2016 is Human Rights Day. We bring to the attention of our readers the powerful message of the late Harold Pinter regarding US Imperial Crimes against Humanity, with an introduction by Gary Kohls. First published in December 2014. “We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’. – Harold Pinter British playwright Harold Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. His powerful acceptance speech exposed the United States for its fascist, imperialist policies since World ...
READ MORE
9 of The World’s 10 Least Peaceful Nations Were all Targeted by U.S. Intervention
The 2017 Global Peace Index has declared Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan to be among the “least peaceful” countries in the world. Incidentally, all four have been targets of U.S.-led destabilization efforts that were used to pursue economic interests that suit the U.S. MINNEAPOLIS– The annual Global Peace Index, recently released for June 2017, has found that while the world is more peaceful now than last year, violence has increased significantly overall in the past decade. Although the situation has improved in many countries, the ten lowest-ranking nations – known as the world’s “least peaceful” countries – have shown little change ...
READ MORE
Another Dangerous Rush to Judgment in Syria
Exclusive: The U.S. government and the mainstream media rushed to judgment again, blaming the Syrian government for a new poison-gas attack and ignoring other possibilities, reports Robert Parry. With the latest hasty judgment about Tuesday’s poison-gas deaths in a rebel-held area of northern Syria, the mainstream U.S. news media once more reveals itself to be a threat to responsible journalism and to the future of humanity. Again, we see the troubling pattern of verdict first, investigation later, even when that behavior can lead to a dangerous war escalation and many more deaths. Before a careful evaluation of the evidence about Tuesday’s tragedy ...
READ MORE
Overthrowing Other People’s Governments: The Master List
Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government) China 1949 to early 1960s Albania 1949-53 East Germany 1950s Iran 1953 * Guatemala 1954 * Costa Rica mid-1950s Syria 1956-7 Egypt 1957 Indonesia 1957-8 British Guiana 1953-64 * Iraq 1963 * North Vietnam 1945-73 Cambodia 1955-70 * Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 * Ecuador 1960-63 * Congo 1960 * France 1965 Brazil 1962-64 * Dominican Republic 1963 * Cuba 1959 to present Bolivia 1964 * Indonesia 1965 * Ghana 1966 * Chile 1964-73 * ...
READ MORE
Who will Miss Obama?
See who is missing and who is not missing Barack Obama as the US President? Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Did You Know: 9/11 & Larry Silverstein
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Trump, Brexit and the Collapse of the Liberal Order
One of the most confounding aspects of Donald Trump’s election as 45th President of the United States is that in the space of a year – indeed less than a year – a man with zero political experience has destroyed two of America’s most entrenched political dynasties: Bush and Clinton. Just pause on this for a moment, and place it in the context of someone who when he first appeared on the political stage as a candidate for the Republican nomination was met with ridicule and scorn. Consequently, a mainstream media and liberal commentators for whom politics is an exclusive club, ...
READ MORE
Political Succession and “The Bush-Clinton Nexus”: Permanent Criminal State
At a spring 2016 Republican debate attended by the Bushes, George H.W. “Poppy” Bush, looked directly at Donald Trump and gave him the “throat slit” gesture.   The Bushes want the Clintons back in the White House.  “Poppy” trusted them with Arkansas in the 1980s, and with the White House in the 1990s, and he can trust them with the marching orders again.  A Hillary Clinton presidency guarantees that all the things that the New World Order wants done will continue to get done. The Clintons and Bushes have been criminal partners for more than 30 years.  They and their colleagues have ...
READ MORE
Difference between Iran and the USA
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. Save Save
READ MORE
President Trump Welcomes Egyptian Dictator – The “Butcher of Cairo”
President Donald Trump Monday, April 3, 2017, welcomed the Egyptian military dictator, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who assumed the title of  Field Marshal after arresting and deposing the democratically elected President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013. After the meeting Trump told the press: “We agree on so many things. I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.” By “a fantastic job” Trump was apparently referring to the massacre of hundreds of innocent Egyptians in the aftermath of US-endorsed coup ...
READ MORE
Distorting Fascism to Sanitize Capitalism
The facile and indiscriminate use of the term fascism has led to a widespread misunderstanding and misuse of its meaning. Asked to define fascism, most people would respond in terms such as dictatorship, anti-Semitism, mass hysteria, efficient propaganda machine, mesmerizing oratory of a psychopathic leader, and the like.Such a pervasive misconception of the meaning of the term fascism is not altogether fortuitous. It is largely because of a longstanding utilitarian misrepresentation of the term. Fascism is deliberately obfuscated in order to sanitize capitalism. Ideologues, theorists and opinion-makers of capitalism have systematically shifted the systemic sins of fascism from market/capitalist failures ...
READ MORE
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Could Donald Trump already be the worst of all American presidents?  In less than two years his record on the world scene has been frightening enough: U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accords, scuttling of the Iran nuclear treaty, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, unjustifiably punitive sanctions against Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, terror bombing of Mosul and other Iraq cities, bombastic threats against friends and enemies alike – not to mention a $54 billion gift to the Pentagon and stepped-up nuclear “modernization”.  Hard to imagine much worse. One article of faith among liberals and the corporate media is that ...
READ MORE
Syria: It’s Not a Civil War and it Never Was
The weapons are foreign, the fighters are foreign, the agenda is foreign. As Syrian forces fight to wrest control of their country back and restore order within their borders, the myth of the “Syrian civil war” continues on. Undoubtedly there are Syrians who oppose the Syrian government and even Syrians who have taken up arms against the government and in turn, against the Syrian people, but from the beginning (in fact before the beginning) this war has been driven from abroad. Calling it a “civil war” is a misnomer as much as calling those taking up arms “opposition.” It is not ...
READ MORE
Facts of the Korean War: UN Security Council, Instrument of US led Wars, Blatantly Biased Against North Korea
Recapitulation of the Facts of the Korean War November 7, 1950:  “Just when there was a lull in the fighting and it looked as if peace were possible, MacArthur staged a gigantic and murderous raid directly across from the Chinese frontier, destroying most of a city in an area where bombings had been forbidden to prevent border violations.” “There were reports,” The New York Times said October 15, that General MacArthur had ordered the first bombings of North Korean cities without authorization from Washington.” “General Stratemeyer, commander of the Far East Air Forces described the attack:  ‘when fighter planes swept the ...
READ MORE
Obama and the Bombing of Hiroshima
Later this month, Barack Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima by the American military on August 6, 1945, and the destruction three days later of the Japanese city of Nagasaki, rank among the greatest war crimes of the 20th century. One would think that after 71 years, the United States would finally be prepared to acknowledge that the incineration of two defenseless Japanese cities, causing some 200,000 deaths, was a militarily unnecessary act. Nothing of the sort will happen. Obama “will not revisit the decision ...
READ MORE
The Relationship Between Washington and ISIS: The Evidence
Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS have been shot down by Iraqi forces have been met with shock and denial in western countries. Few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ with its proxy armies in Syria, but some key myths remain important amongst the significantly more ignorant western audiences. A central myth is that Washington now arms ‘moderate Syrian rebels’, to both overthrow the Syrian Government and supposedly defeat the ‘extremist rebels’. This claim became more important in 2014, when the rationale of US aggression against Syria shifted from ‘humanitarian intervention’ ...
READ MORE
The “Forgotten” US Shootdown of Iranian Airliner Flight 655­
Today marks twenty-nine years since the shootdown by the USS Vincennes of Iran Air flight 655, which killed all of the plane’s 290 civilian passengers. This shootdown of a civilian airliner by a US naval ship occurred on July 3, 1988, toward the end of the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. This incident is, of course, something that the people of Iran well remember. Americans who rely on the US mainstream media, on the other hand, would have to be forgiven for never having heard about it. Furthermore, in the rare instances when the media do mention it, to this day they tend to ...
READ MORE
U.S. Infowar: Kosovars, Kosovo, Kosovans, Serbian Albanians, Croatian Serbs, Bosnians…
The U.S. government and U.S. media explained the mass murders of Kosovo Serbs, Roma, and other Kosovo minorities as “revenge murders”. They were “revenge attacks”. The expulsion of over 250,000 Kosovo Serbs, Roma, Gorani, and Jews was simply censored and deleted using the infowar technique of Emphasis. These infowar techniques have no basis in criminal law and violate fundamental values and tenets of morality and ethics. The U.S. rationale was spurious: Because Yugoslav police were defending themselves and Kosovo civilians against what the U.S. State Department itself declared were “terrorists”, the Albanian Muslim population of Kosovo had some sort of right ...
READ MORE
War between US and Russia Could Be Sooner than Later: “The Danger of a Nuclear War”
Right now the US mainstream media is obsessing over Donald’s alleged womanizing and female groping soap opera as the Clinton’s/MSM’s pruriently entertaining smokescreen, neatly designed to cover up Hillary/Bill’s serial raping and her criminal lead role as enabler/strong armed intimidator of past victims. Meanwhile, barely noticed in a virtual media blackout in the West are at least a half dozen high alert, significant international developments this last weekend that all strongly indicate the extreme danger of a nuclear war breaking out at any time against Russia and its Eastern alliance. Again, do not pay attention to the US deceivers behind their Oz-like ...
READ MORE
9/11: The Questions
Human Rights Day: Sobering Truths About America’s Imperialist Crimes Against Humanity
9 of The World’s 10 Least Peaceful Nations Were all Targeted by U.S. Intervention
Another Dangerous Rush to Judgment in Syria
Overthrowing Other People’s Governments: The Master List
Who will Miss Obama?
Did You Know: 9/11 & Larry Silverstein
Trump, Brexit and the Collapse of the Liberal Order
Political Succession and “The Bush-Clinton Nexus”: Permanent Criminal State
Difference between Iran and the USA
President Trump Welcomes Egyptian Dictator – The “Butcher of Cairo”
Distorting Fascism to Sanitize Capitalism
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Syria: It’s Not a Civil War and it Never Was
Facts of the Korean War: UN Security Council, Instrument of US led Wars, Blatantly Biased Against North Korea
Obama and the Bombing of Hiroshima
The Relationship Between Washington and ISIS: The Evidence
The “Forgotten” US Shootdown of Iranian Airliner Flight 655­
U.S. Infowar: Kosovars, Kosovo, Kosovans, Serbian Albanians, Croatian Serbs, Bosnians…
War between US and Russia Could Be Sooner than Later: “The Danger of a Nuclear War”
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu