Monday, April 16, 2018

The War State Is Lashing Out Because It Knows It Won’t Last Much Longer

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If there’s any comfort in the expanding war campaigns, increasing repression, and Orwellian propaganda that the U.S. political establishment is engaging in, it’s that the establishment is reacting to its impending demise. The recent Pentagon training video which appears to prepare troops for a massive social breakdown by 2030 shows what the ruling elite are anticipating. And last week’s attack on Syria was another example of the extremes the war state is going to during its period of collapse.
This is nothing new. Declining empires always resort to irrational and ever-expanding war campaigns to try to regain their former power. As the U.S. rapidly shrinks in influence, it’s fulfilling this behavior by wildly expanding its military campaigns in eight countries, threatening to invade Iran and North Korea, and starting a new cold war which involves China and Russia. An ever-expanding military budget is part of the effort to compensate. As is the obsession with strengthening security through active shooter drills, police militarization, and authoritarian propaganda.
“This is how military empires fall and fail: by spreading themselves too thin and spending themselves to death,” wrote John Whitehead this year. “It happened in Rome. It’s happening again. Not content to merely police the globe, in recent decades, America has gradually transformed its homeland into a battlefield with militarized police and weapons better suited to a war zone. Since taking office, President Trump—much like his predecessors—has marched in lockstep with the military. Now Trump wants $716 billion to expand America’s military empire abroad and billions more to hire cops, build more prisons and wage more profit-driven war on-drugs/war-on-terrorism/war-on-crime programs that eat away at the Fourth Amendment while failing to make the country any safer.”
This underlying weakness in the system is our main hope for defeating the war state, since I don’t think the United States is going to get a major antiwar movement. The lack of a draft has made it so that mainly the poorest of people-the ones who have to resort to joining the military-feel the full consequences of war. This has left most other people detached from the horrors that the U.S. government perpetuates around the world, and has neutralized the opposition to war.
But the war state is collapsing on its own, and we can help speed up its collapse. This can be done by using the war state’s growing dysfunctionality to destroy the people’s faith in it. The political establishment is now trying to shift the blame for its instability onto scapegoats, like Russia and other foreign or imagined entities. But if we keep the public aware that neoliberalism, militarism, the Democratic and Republican parties, and media propaganda are to blame for our crises, an uprising could happen.
It could happen because even in North Korea, one of the most repressive states on earth, something comparable is happening. Amid North Korea’s economic strains, more and more people aren’t privately honoring Kim Jong Un, making for almost open dissent. As this happens much more visibly in the United States, with spreading strikes, growing populist movements, and a rise in awareness of the deep state, the establishment is getting desperate to stop this all from heading towards revolution.
“The mass media propaganda machine is very busy,” observed Caitlin Johnstone last month. “It’s got wars to manufacture consent for, it’s got Russia to lie about, it’s got a CIA-packed midterm election to sell as healthy democracy, it’s got end-stage ecocidal neoliberalism to disguise as freedom and sanity, and it’s got a corporatist oligarchy to dress up as a constitutional representative republic.” Keep organizing. Keep informing. Keep chipping at the power structure’s foundations. I believe we’re very late in the lifetime of this two-hundred-year-old war empire.

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