Five Reasons for Washington’s War Addiction

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the U.S. military-industrial complex recognized a giant business opportunity, writes William J. Astore.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba at the Pentagon, Feb. 22. (DoD. Lisa Ferdinando)

By William J Astore

Why has the United States already become so heavily invested in the Russia-Ukraine war? And why has it so regularly gotten involved, in some fashion, in so many other wars on this planet since it invaded Afghanistan in 2001?  

Those with long memories might echo the conclusion reached more than a century ago by radical social critic Randolph Bourne that “war is the health of the state” or recall the ancient warnings of this country’s founders like James Madison that democracy dies not in darkness, but in the ghastly light thrown by too many bombs bursting in air for far too long.

In 1985, when I first went on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, a conflict between the Soviet Union and Ukraine would, of course, have been treated as a civil war between Soviet republics. In the context of the Cold War, the U.S. certainly wouldn’t have risked openly sending billions of dollars in weaponry directly to Ukraine to “weaken” Russia. Back then, such obvious interference in a conflict between the USSR and Ukraine would have simply been an act of war. (Of course, even more ominously, back then, Ukraine also had nuclear weapons on its soil.)

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, everything changed. The Soviet sphere of influence gradually became the U.S. and NATO sphere of influence. Nobody asked Russia whether it truly cared, since that country was in serious decline.

Soon enough, even former Soviet republics on its doorstep became America’s to meddle in and sell arms to, no matter the Russian warnings about “red lines” vis-à-vis inviting Ukraine to join NATO. And yet here we are, with an awful war in Ukraine on our hands, as this country leads the world in sending weapons to Ukraine, including Javelin and Stinger missiles and artillery, while promoting some form of future victory, however costly, for Ukrainians.

Here’s what I wonder: Why in this century has America, the “leader of the free world” (as we used to say in the days of the first Cold War), also become the leader in promoting global warfare? And why don’t more Americans see a contradiction in that reality? If you’ll bear with me, I have what I think are at least five answers, however partial, to those questions:

* First and above all, war is — even if so many Americans don’t normally think of it that way — immensely profitable. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the U.S. military-industrial complex recognized a giant business opportunity.

During the Cold War, the world’s biggest arms merchants were the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.  With the Soviet Union gone, so, too, was America’s main rival in selling arms everywhere. It was as if Jeff Bezos had witnessed the collapse of Walmart. Do you think he wouldn’t have taken advantage of the resulting retail vacuum?

“With the Soviet Union gone, so, too, was America’s main rival in selling arms everywhere.”

Forget about the “peace dividends” Americans were promised then or downsizing the Pentagon budget in a major way. It was time for the big arms manufacturers to expand into markets that had long been dominated by the U.S.S.R. 

Meanwhile, NATO chose to follow suit in its own fashion, expanding beyond the borders of a reunified Germany. Despite verbal promises to the contrary made to Soviet leaders like Mikhail Gorbachev, it expanded into Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania, among other countries — that is, to the very borders of Russia itself, even as U.S. weapons contractors made a killing in supplying arms to such new NATO members. 

In the spirit of management guru Stephen Covey, it may have been a purely “win-win” situation for NATO, the U.S. and its merchants of death then, but it’s proven to be a distinctly lose-lose situation for Russia and now especially for Ukraine as the war there drags on and on, while the destruction only mounts.

* Second, when it comes to promoting war globally, consider the U.S. military’s structure and mission. How could this country possibly return to anything like what, so long ago, was known as “isolationism” when it has at least 750 military bases scattered liberally on every continent except Antarctica?

How could it not promote war in some fashion, when that unbelievably well-funded military’s mission is defined as projecting power globally across all “spectrums” of combat, including land, sea, air, space and cyberspace?  What could you expect when its budget equals those of the next 11 militaries on this planet combined or when the Pentagon quite literally divides the whole world into U.S. military commands headed by four-star generals and admirals, each one a Roman-style proconsul?  How could you not imagine that Washington’s top officials believe this country has a stake in conflicts everywhere under such circumstances? Such attitudes are an obvious product of such a structure and such a sense of armed global mission.

“What could you expect when it … divides the whole world into U.S. military commands headed by four-star generals and admirals, each one a Roman-style proconsul?”

* Third, consider the power of the dominant narrative in Washington in these years. Despite the never-ending war-footing of this country, Americans are generally sold on the idea that we constitute a high-minded nation desirous of peace.

In a cartoonish fashion, the U.S. is always the good guy and enemies, like President Vladimir Putin’s Russia now, uniquely evil. Conforming to and parroting this version of reality leads to career success, especially within the mainstream media. As Chris Hedges once so memorably put it: “The [U.S.] press goes limp in front of the military.”  And those with the spine to challenge such a militarist narrative are demoted, ostracized, exiled, or even in rare cases imprisoned. Just ask whistleblowers and journalists like Chelsea ManningJulian AssangeDaniel Hale and Edward Snowden who have dared to challenge the American war story and paid a price for it.

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* Fourth, war both unifies and distracts. In this century, it has helped unify the American people, however briefly, as they were repeatedly reminded to “support our troops” as “heroes” in the fight against “global terror.” At the same time, it’s distracted us from the class war in this country, where the poor and working class (and, increasingly, a shrinking middle class as well) are most definitely losing out. As financier and billionaire Warren Buffett put the matter: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

* Fifth, wars, ranging from the Afghan and Iraq ones to the never-ending global war on terror, including the present one in Ukraine, have served as distractions from another reality entirely: America’s national decline in this century and its ever-greater political dysfunction. (Think Donald Trump, who didn’t make it to the White House by accident, but at least in part because disastrous wars helped pave the way for him.)

Americans often equate war itself with masculine potency. (Putting on “big boy pants” was the phrase used unironically by officials in President George W. Bush’s administration to express their willingness to launch conflicts globally.)  

Yet by now, many of us do sense that we’re witnessing a seemingly inexorable national decline. Exhibits include a rising number of mass shootingsmass death due to a poorly handled Covid-19 pandemic; massive drug-overdose deaths; increasing numbers of suicides, including among military veterans; and a growing mental-health crisis among our young.

Storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (TapTheForwardAssist/Wikimedia Commons)

Political dysfunction feeds on and aggravates that decline, with Trumpism tapping into a reactionary nostalgia for a once “great” America that could be made “great again” — if the right people were put in their places, if not in their graves. Divisions and distractions serve to keep so many of us downtrodden and demobilized, desperate for a leader to ignite and unite us, even if it’s for a cause as shallow and false as the “stop the steal” Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. 

Despite the evidence of decline and dysfunction all around us, many Americans continue to take pride and comfort in the idea that the U.S. military remains the finest fighting force in all of history — a claim advanced by presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, among so many other boosters.

All the World’s A Stage

About 15 years ago, I got involved in a heartfelt argument with a conservative friend about whether it was wise for this country to shrink its global presence, especially militarily.

He saw the U.S. as a benevolent actor on the world stage.  I saw the U.S. as overly ambitious, though not necessarily malevolent, as well as often misguided and in denial when it came to our flaws. I think of his rejoinder to me as the “empty stage” argument.  Basically, he suggested that all the world’s a stage and, should this country become too timid and abandon it, other far more dangerous actors could take our place, with everyone suffering. My response was that we should, at least, try to leave that stage in some fashion and see if we were missed.  Wasn’t our own American stage ever big enough for us?  And if this country were truly missed, it could always return, perhaps even triumphantly. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken with the local police tactical team in Brussels on March 25, 2021, before departing a NATO meeting where he called for an expansion of the military alliance into Asia. (State Department, Ron Przysucha)

Of course, officials in Washington and the Pentagon do like to imagine themselves as leading “the indispensable nation” and are generally unwilling to test any other possibilities.  Instead, like so many ham actors, all they want is to eternally mug and try to dominate every stage in sight. 

In truth, the U.S. doesn’t really have to be involved in every war around and undoubtedly wouldn’t be if certain actors (corporate as well as individual) didn’t feel it was just so profitable.

If my five answers above were ever taken seriously here, there might indeed be a wiser and more peaceful path forward for this country. But that can’t happen if the forces that profit from the status quo — where bellum (war) is never ante- or post- but simply ongoing — remain so powerful.

The question is, of course, how to take the profits of every sort out of war and radically downsize our military (especially its overseas “footprint”), so that it truly becomes a force for “national security,” rather than national insecurity. 

Most of all, Americans need to resist the seductiveness of war, because endless war and preparations for more of the same have been a leading cause of national decline.  One thing I know: Waving blue-and-yellow flags in solidarity with Ukraine and supporting “our” troops may feel good but it won’t make us good.  In fact, it will only contribute to ever more gruesome versions of war. 

[Related: PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Great Acquiescence — Glory to Ukraine]

A striking feature of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is that, after so many increasingly dim years, it’s finally allowed America’s war party to pose as the “good guys” again. After two decades of a calamitous “war on terror” and unmitigated disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and so many other places, Americans find themselves on the side of the underdog Ukrainians against that “genocidal” “war criminal” President Vladimir Putin. 

That such a reading of the present situation might be uncritical and reductively one-sided should (but doesn’t) go without saying. That it’s seductive because it feeds both American nationalism and narcissism, while furthering a mythology of redemptive violence, should be scary indeed.

Yes, it’s high time to call a halt to the Pentagon’s unending ham-fisted version of a world tour.  If only it were also time to try dreaming a different dream, a more pacific one of being perhaps a first among equals. In the America of this moment, even that is undoubtedly asking too much.

An Air Force buddy of mine once said to me that when you wage war long, you wage it wrong. Unfortunately, when you choose the dark path of global dominance, you also choose a path of constant warfare and troubled times marked by the cruel risk of violent blowback (a phenomenon of which historian and critic Chalmers Johnson so presciently warned us in the years before 9/11).

Washington certainly feels it’s on the right side of history in this Ukraine moment. However, persistent warfare should never be confused with strength and certainly not with righteousness, especially on a planet haunted by a growing sense of impending doom.

William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and professor of history, is a TomDispatch regular and a senior fellow at the Eisenhower Media Network (EMN), an organization of critical veteran military and national security professionals. His personal blog is “Bracing Views.”

This article is from TomDispatch.

The views expressed are solely those of the authors and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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43 comments for “Five Reasons for Washington’s War Addiction

  1. Steve
    May 14, 2022 at 06:42

    The US invaded Iraq on a false pretense of stopping a WMD program. How was that any different than Putin’s invasion of Ukraine? George W Bush is just as much a war criminal as Putin

  2. Jim Yost
    May 14, 2022 at 02:44

    There’s a sixth reason which hardly anyone cares to think about, which is the demonic component (which is the major driving force behind all wars).

  3. Peter Loeb
    May 13, 2022 at 09:35

    Rehashing the so-called “cold war” narratives will always lead us in circles. In 1972, Joyce and Gabriel
    Kolko replaced the cold war myths with another definition. It is in their book “The Limits of Power”,
    page 31. Eerily enough, it applies perfectly to the “Ukraine conflict” as well.

    For an analysis of US previous policies I recommend Francis Jennings, “The Creation of America” and his
    other works. They even consider others as human beings, specifically if Black or Native American(“Indian”).
    Our founding father considered themselves English almost to the last minutes before the revolution.

    Whether the coalition of the bribed (NATO et al) will remain solid when their citizens realize the cost
    remains a question.

    Do nations really believe that the US weapons are “free”? Some day those F-35’s (Lockhart) and other weapons
    will have to be paid for.

  4. Bobby
    May 13, 2022 at 08:00

    Trump bashing, turned out to be the real reason for the article. … yawn

    • Robert Bruce
      May 15, 2022 at 16:46

      Why do you say that? The author just made a point that all the wars helped Trump get in. That issue alone probably did get Trump the win. It was the main reason I voted for him, and many others.

  5. Thot
    May 13, 2022 at 03:13

    “Une caractéristique frappante de l’invasion russe de l’Ukraine est qu’après tant d’années de plus en plus sombres, elle a finalement permis au parti de guerre américain de se présenter à nouveau comme les « gentils ».

    Il me semble que c’est faux, les médias mainstream, premiers faiseurs de guerre, racontent que le monde voit les Russes comme les méchants, dans la réalité, les peuples connaissent bien le cancer américain et son profil pathologique de tueur et le déteste, malgré les dollars investi dans le mensonge permanent qui est le modus vivendi de ce pays en couche-culotte ( ce pauvre pays qi n’a même pas trois cent ans ‘existence !!! mouardfffffff, l’adolescent éternel, l’idiocrate parfait, l’exemple de tout ce qu’il faut éviter, en fait, merci au cancer américain, au moins, il aura servi à quelque chose …..

  6. May 12, 2022 at 21:17

    Credibility is devastated, even where in large part, coherent arguments are made, when Trump is trashed and the Democrats responsibility for almost all of today’s problems are ignored. I personally find Mr. Trump obnoxious and self-lauding and his policies, while effective, short sighted, concentrating on symptoms rather than cures, but I also know that starting with the Clinton takeover, the Democrats have been nothing but deep state tools, depriving us of liberty and the world of peace, and making purported journalism a pejorative.

    • michael888
      May 14, 2022 at 18:19

      War is bipartisan and corrupt and politicians in both parties feel they’ll soon be rich if they support the Establishment MICIMATT. The Democrats have become the Major party of war now, but withdrew from their constituencies, the Poor and Working Class, long ago (no money there); they are so out of touch they mirror Versailles under Louis XIV thru Louis XVI. Congress IS the State.

      Trump and his policies were ineffective because he had almost no powerful allies in Government. He gets some credit for no new wars due to the ineptitude of John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and his milquetoast generals, and a general refusal of DC to follow and slow-walk his Presidential orders. The only non-Establishment President in my lifetime, he gets more credit for exposing the “soft” corruption that predominates in Washington, which is accepted as normal and even hidden by State Media.

  7. Anon
    May 12, 2022 at 18:23

    LA$T MIN WAGE RAI$E doesn’t even mention Computers as a biz class?
    You xplain That Logic2 Me… I’ll Agree

  8. Anon
    May 12, 2022 at 18:11

    Insightful brilliance again from Mr Astore…
    Mention of timing re: mil svc (& succeeding POTUS) given…
    Don’t mind a BJ Myself… But… Appears CO$T 2 US Taxpayers FAR EXCEED$ the “Stormy” Incident!!!

  9. May 12, 2022 at 17:59

    The American people will never understand real war until they experience being attacked and carpet bombed. When they lose over twenty-seven million people like Russia did, have their cities leveled and destroyed with millions dead, and injured, will they understand the horror of war. Americans and Canadians are protected now because we are surrounded by two oceans. In the future that may prove to be not as important as others resort to revenge against the west, with different weapons.

  10. Lois Gagnon
    May 12, 2022 at 16:30

    We have the same type of corrupted aristocracy that Europe had during their imperial heyday. They won’t be easy to dislodge, but I suspect Russia and China along with the majority of countries that refused to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine have had more than enough with the US having its way unimpeded in the world. Karma is coming.

  11. robert e williamson jr
    May 12, 2022 at 16:20

    Five reasons, yes an the one that counts not mentioned.

    Look this is much simpler that you might think.

    The reason for the war addiction are the same as for all greed. Bad character, the bad actor, the sick-os who lust for wealth and power, I agree. The TYPE are drawn to the circus in DC because the pickings are easy. These people act as though this is normal. Still no one is ever held accountable, even a bit as accountable as the wretch who steal a pizza for his third felony. He gets life in the 3 strikes and your out counties and states.

    By all indications the populace in DC has more criminal minded per capita than anywhere and most know some one in a powerful or very wealthy position and no one holding them accountable for their mis-deeds. Criminals charged with white collar crimes doing government work or business with the government should be relentlessly pursued and charged with the maximum allowed punishment – no plea deals. They will not be needed by way of the elimination of the practice. No parole and one appeal of sentence.

    They are there because the system allows them to act with impunity. “Well, you know how things work here in DC”. That Guy who had the show “soft ball “, used to say that constantly.

    If some a-hole CEO’s golden parachute of $400 million depended on this being fixed, were it the private sector, I bet we would damned sure see some debate on the subject!

    My Dog! You just don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to see this. This money is worse than any drug. The US goes in throwing it around by the semi truck load and people get addicted to it.

    In this case you don’t treat the symptoms you treat the disease. You serve in the military, you DO NOT work in the defense related industries after. You serve in CIA, NSA or the other fifteen you don’t run for office. Full STOP.

    It’s time to stop kicking the can down the road to perdition and we all know it, so what is the hell is up with continuing to let the crooks run DC? Oh, Oh, oh that’s right that is the way the system had been designed to work.

    Move along folks nothing here to see!

    Look kids I know what is above could be considered inflammatory, disturbing, then there is some other shit about Putin or WTFE, it makes no difference.

    My thought for the day is that everyone so inclined feel free to write you people in DC and let them know that we all have had just about enough of this tired ass ole song and dance.

    I just saw on MSM — yes yes I know, hush! They say democrats are already worded about republican retribution for the current 1 -6 investigations. The dimos are fearful of the repugs -> You cannot make it up!

    See y’all in the funny papers.

    Thanks CN

    • Thot
      May 13, 2022 at 03:19

      merci, donc, un petit sarmat sur DC la folle rendrait le monde plus sûr ! mais ça, on le sait depuis la première guerre d’agression des usa, qui n’ont fait que des guerres d’agression=crime de guerre, depuis toujours et qui LES ONT TOUTES PERDUES ( pour les soi-disant meilleurs militaires du monde, bon ….. ) ! c’est drôle, ce pays soi-disant riche n’a jamais eu les moyens de payer pour ses besoins alors il est allé partout massacrer et voler, un pays voyou, Le pays voyou, pas étonnant qu’il couche avec les nazis de kiev !!

    • David Otness
      May 13, 2022 at 15:28

      @robert e williamson jr
      Your mention of Rhodes Scholars brings forth an entirely overlooked purview hiding in plain sight while pointing to some of the most focused perpetrators of this whole mess. Methods to madness: purposeful megalomania cloaked in trappings of majesty and gravitas.
      It’s a wicked, wicked world.

      • robert e williamson jr
        May 15, 2022 at 19:23

        Yes sir, I couldn’t agree more.

      • robert e williamson jr
        May 16, 2022 at 17:31

        I had some doubts about my last comment 5-15-22 @20:36. I thought it incomplete, not so much after this addendum

        This phenom of highly educated members of the so-called “High Brow” graduate student class is something I gained much insight to from Jane Mayer’s book dark money. But only for her effort of edification of the reader in this specific case.

        This topic seems to me to be a much understudied and less understood by the masses, as you seem to infer here.

        Big money donors wined and dined university influencers and paid to acquire certain specific curriculums. These are matters I only vaguely understand, if at all. But the end game I get.

        Mayer writes in this book that many of those who ultimately studied these materials were paid to take the classes according to her writing. From this I can only speculate and I will, that a method of moving to adopt certain economic theories was in fact implemented. “The Fix” being put in. Maybe not for all, however certainly for those who were “in the know” and smooching to correct “Gluteus Maximus” during the process.

        More of the super wealthy elitist cementing their futures by hook and crook, mostly crook! Brings one William Jefferson Clinton to mind!

        My use of the term, Rhodes scholar was an attempt to lend gravitas to my view that these individuals where very adept at being schooled, however such an education is not required to understand the MICCMAT for exactly what it is or the problems that it creates.

        Thanks CN

  12. susan mullen
    May 12, 2022 at 16:20

    As a US citizen and taxpayer enslaved to the US war machine, I identify very much with the Russian Federation. The US regime has treated both of us like subhuman garbage for several decades. Thus, I wish the Russian Federation all the best in whatever it does. In US in 1990s, it was common belief that Russia was “ours to lose.” Accordingly in 1990s the US plundered newly independent Russia, left it for dead, and laughed about it. US was generally respectful of Soviet Union officials, though the Pentagon was always eager to start nuclear with USSR esp. during JFK. US must be neutral or it must be broken up into 3 parts.

  13. Drew Hunkins
    May 12, 2022 at 14:55

    The Dems voting in lockstep uniformity — including the squalid fraud squad — to hand $40 billion to the Russophobic Washington satrapy of Ukraine is a watershed moment.

    • Frank G
      May 12, 2022 at 18:58

      Yes, they must know all about the prior US subversion and provocation campaigns in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
      When in 2008-10 the Dems controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency, they did absolutely nothing.
      The Dems have become no more than a pseudo-opposition controlled by the same bribe funding as the Repubs.

  14. May 12, 2022 at 13:54

    Very important points. I hope more understand

  15. Carolyn L Zaremba
    May 12, 2022 at 13:46

    “I saw the U.S. as overly ambitious, though not necessarily malevolent, as well as often misguided and in denial when it came to our flaws.” Wrong. The United States and NATO are definitely malevolent and have been ever since the end of World War II. It is not only profit (although that is a huge part of it), but ideological. Take Project Gladio. Even before the ashes of Europe had time to cool, the U.S. founded NATO and set up secret “stay behind” armies throughout Europe specifically to fight Communism, in anticipation of what they deemed the imminent invasion of Europe by the Soviet Union. This was eagerly enjoyed by Harry Truman, among others of the rabid stripe. Even though the Soviet Union has ceased to exist, the campaign against Russia is an extension of the pursuit of absolute power and control of the globe by the United States through proxy wars, secret funding and training, etc. In the case of Ukraine, the involvement goes back to 2014 and the coup supported by the Obama administration in collaboration with Germany. The ultra-right wants both money AND total dominance, ignoring the sovereignty of every country on the planet.

    • Theo
      May 13, 2022 at 08:14

      A good summary.

  16. Andy
    May 12, 2022 at 13:23

    These wars are driven by the neocon dream of world empire. The neocon manifesto of 2000 named Russia and China as primary targets, but there were many more, and to successfully get those wars going, “a new Pearl Harbor” would be a great help, so when that casus belli miraculously fell in their lap, Bush went to work on his list of 7 countries to knock off in 5 years. He immediately blundered in Iraq, so Obama — blackmailed by Cheney with dirt collected by the NSA — tried to finish the job on the cheap by leading from behind and making our vassal states do the actual fighting. Biden is going after the top of the list, using Ukraine and Taiwan as sacrificial goats while expecting NATO and Japan to fight these wars once they get started.

    • Frank G
      May 12, 2022 at 18:50

      I wonder whether the “neocon dream of world empire” is a neocon dream that only appears to seek a world empire, but actually seeks to steal resources, control markets, and overthrow competing economies and political systems. In that view, those in power and their supporting factions seek personal economic gains and factional goals like MIC orders, suppressing socialism and expanding Israel.

  17. Alan Ross
    May 12, 2022 at 12:56

    The U.S. should not leave the world stage, just change its purpose from maximizing profit no matter how many innocent people are killed to really being in behalf of justice. Until we change our present crop of corporate rulers and their servants – both Republican and Democrat, I give it little chance. Maybe the impending disaster/catastrophe of climate change may have these men and women awake from their ego dreams of immense profit and power.

  18. Caliman
    May 12, 2022 at 11:16

    I love Bill Astore … he has written some incredibly informed and informative articles over the years helping me understand the depths of our militaristic culture. The article above was excellent, but one area was puzzling:

    “He saw the U.S. as a benevolent actor on the world stage. I saw the U.S. as overly ambitious, though not necessarily malevolent, as well as often misguided and in denial when it came to our flaws.”

    But what, other than “malevolent” would one call a system of gaining wealth and power built on death and destruction. Is this not the very definition of malevolence? Of course, the people responsible do not look or act evil in their daily lives and make noises about spreading “democracy” and “rules based order” around the world.

    When one realizes that these are all just slogans and propaganda meant to justify the care and feeding of MICIMATT, one realizes that this is just the banality of evil in modern times and one must call it what it is, as MLK did in his Riverside Speech on Vietnam: we are the world’s biggest purveyor of violence. Our economy is built on this and relies on it. Anyone who participates in this government is stained by it and cannot claim either benevolence or good intentions unless they are one of the few actively working to disable the global empire.

  19. vinnieoh
    May 12, 2022 at 11:09

    Outstanding commentary William Astore. These are the themes I’ve been stressing, and WA’s prose cut through all the static to the core issues. Thanks CN.

  20. David Otness
    May 12, 2022 at 11:01

    “With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, everything changed. The Soviet sphere of influence gradually became the U.S. and NATO sphere of influence. Nobody asked Russia whether it truly cared, since that country was in serious decline.”

    “…. in serious decline.” Particularly so because of the flood of ‘Chicago School’ Ivy League establishmentarian knights and young lords who were leading the charge to assail the yet-quivering, and near-dead body of the world’s largest and most resource-rich land mass, their ambitions unbridled and pockets bulging with endless Wall Street cash which was used for everything from getting in early for the pickings and even going so far as to egregiously insert their lawyerly wisdom into setting up a nearly unassailable Russian constitution which locked in the power of the newly-minted oligarchs, many of them made so via partnerships with ‘American know-how.’

    A precursor to what has befallen Ukraine, a pattern established. Via the usual suspects, of course.
    I can only gaze with wonder as Russia continues, so far, to exhibit such an extraordinarily slow burning fuse.
    But we’d better be believing that fuse is implacably burning away with each ticking of the Big Clock. Midnight is nigh.
    Thanks Mr Astore and CN for another timely and significant piece.

  21. susan
    May 12, 2022 at 09:31

    5 reasons for Washington’s War Addiction: 1) Money, 2) Power, 3) Money, 4) Power, 5) Money…

    • robert e williamson jr
      May 12, 2022 at 11:57

      Marvin Gaye “WHATS GOING ON” 1971 it is the same now as it was then. Listen to a live version.

      51 years later our government is still eating it’s young!

      Thanks CN

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      May 12, 2022 at 13:47

      Hear, hear.

  22. May 12, 2022 at 08:40

    Excellent assessment, and I would add that the US has been in the business of destabilizing the rest of the world (while claiming that we seek stability) in order to keep other nations from becoming too successful. The US wants primacy the world over, and that means whacking moles whenever they pop up. Libya getting too successful? Bomb it back to the stone age (and make a hefty profit at the same time). Russia getting too uppity? Arrange a right-wing anti-Russia coup in the Ukraine, and then arm them to the teeth. It is our way. This will only change when people in this country start demanding change.

    • May 12, 2022 at 13:56

      Unfortunately Mr. Moffet, people in this country are too comfortable and self absorbed to care about our actions outside our borders. If they are given a few crumbs ($15/hr wage and some form healthcare) they will be easy to distract with games and shows.

      • May 13, 2022 at 09:59

        Unfortunately, I couldn’t agree more. Hopefully, younger generations will have such a tough time that Facebook and other distractions won’t deter them from activism (and hopefully tear gas and rubber bullets won’t either). Without a major change in public attitude, the wealthy will continue to totally dominate US policy at home and abroad.

  23. Henry Smith
    May 12, 2022 at 08:05

    It will be interesting to watch when the penny finally drops in the Ukraine and they realise that they are going to be paying off their war debt to the USA for the next 60 years or more. Russia and the UK just finished paying off their ‘debt’ to the USA for WW2. Do the Ukrainians really think that all those weapons are theirs for free ? Dream on boys, you have just signed your future and your kids futures away in the name of USA hegemony.

    • Theo
      May 13, 2022 at 08:33

      That is exactly how it is. In the Western corporate media, the impression is given that all the aid is a gift. Ukraine will be in debt bondage to the West for many decades. Yet Ukraine had every opportunity to become a prosperous country. It started its independence with zero foreign debt and declared neutrality, as the Russian Federation, as the legal successor of the former Soviet republics, took over their foreign debts.

  24. Mikael Andersson
    May 12, 2022 at 05:04

    William, thanks for this article. I’m on the same page. Sadly (terrifyingly?) I think that if modest failures in Afghanistan / Iraq are insufficient to give the USA pause then a major defeat (Vietnam?) will be needed. If that has to be the Red Army blowing the USA expeditionary forces in Ukraine to bits then we are in a world of pain – all of us on Planet Earth. It seems to me that the USA regime intends this outcome. Best regards.

  25. mgr
    May 12, 2022 at 04:43

    Thank you. I agree with everything you have presented wholeheartedly except I believe that you may be overlooking the extreme psychopathy of the cabal of “US ultra-nationalists” that are running the Biden administration. How are they different from the Ukrainian neo-Nazi ultra-nationalists who were preparing to invade the Donbass region of Ukraine and ethnically cleanse its majority Russian related population?

    The Biden “Democratic” administration arrived with a plan to use Ukraine to “get Russia” just as the Bush administration neocons came into Washington with plans to conquer the Middle East. This was always the intent. They just had to manufacture the cause.

    So I suggest that for the Biden admin, in addition to simple greed (never overlook sheer banality), it’s likely more than just war profits, especially since they are literally bankrupting the nation, though notably not its oligarchs. Rather, it’s driven by the personal ethnic hatred held by a relatively small group of psychopaths who, in any rational society, would have been kicked to the curb, but in America are lauded and funded and let loose on the world. No doubt though, as Madeleine Albright expressed it in regards to the 500,000 children who starved to death under US sanctions in Iraq, destroying Ukraine for American ends, “…is worth it (for us, that is).”

    Of course, regarding the worth or rather the cost of their “glorious sacrifice,” we did not speak to the parents of those lost children, nor to the people of Ukraine who are even now losing their country. Perhaps being used and discarded for the sake of the American empire is not their highest priority? Too late now. Oh well, good thing they are not actual people with lives and hopes but just more cannon fodder of the Ukrainian variety for America’s dying dream. Next…

  26. s
    May 11, 2022 at 22:34

    Excellent, thank you so much. God help us all, really.

  27. Fran Macadam
    May 11, 2022 at 22:16

    Always glad to consider your wisdom.

  28. Cara
    May 11, 2022 at 22:05

    The war in Ukraine is indeed another instance for America of regeneration through violence. What in important insight. Glad to see this article republished in CN. Thank you!

  29. Joe B
    May 11, 2022 at 21:43

    There are three primary US interest groups or factions involved in Mr. Astore’s causes and others:
    A. The MIC (hidden political influence of its profits and an oversize military): Mr.Astore’s reasons 1 and 2.
    B. The Rich (seeking to suppress social democracies and communism in Russia & China): Mr.Astore’s reason 4.
    C. The Zionists (seeking to subsidize Israeli land thefts, weaken Russia in Syria, or gain by opportunist support).
    All of these groups are anti-democracy tribalist tyrannies using distractions, propaganda, and suppression of dissent.
    The proposal to take the profits of war and radically downsize the military only addresses cause A.

    The decline of the US as a democracy, and the ascendance of these tribalist tyrants, is due to its failure from 1870-1940 to improve democratic institutions to isolate government from increasingly concentrated economic power. US democracy has been destroyed by money control of mass media and elections, the dictatorship of the rich. Control of mass media by the rich hides the real governing mechanism, in which policy is dictated by bribes to political parties, a gang interaction unrelated to democracy.

    Social and economic dependencies on the tribe make people afraid of their leaders, the perfect opportunity for opportunist tyrants to wave the flag, praise the lord, invent foreign enemies, demand power as protectors, and accuse true patriots and humanitarians of disloyalty. The lowest scammers rise, money=virtue, and war is necessary to rationalize the tyrant “defenders” and seize resources for supporters of the tyrants. We can stop this tyranny.

    When the mass media are protected from domination by money, we will have public debate of all policy viewpoints by experts instead of propagandists. When elections and the federal branches are reformed, we will have far more beneficial policies. This requires amendments to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual contributions, internal checks and balances in every branch, and powers to limit executive power. We must rely upon diplomacy and aid rather than bullying, renegotiate NATO as purely defensive, and eliminate AUMFs.

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