The Answer to ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’

The United States is interested in safeguarding the profits of monopoly capital, which carries politicians in Washington around in its pockets like loose change, writes Roger McKenzie.

U.S. Air Force munitions handler from a CENTCOM inspects a fighter jet in southwest Asia in 2001. (Dod, Dave Nolan)

By Roger McKenzie
Peoples Dispatch

Imagine the uproar if China or Russia — or any other country for that matter — said it aimed to exercise military control over land, sea, air, and space to protect its interests and investments.

This amazingly has been the stated United States policy since 1997.

Full spectrum dominance, as the doctrine is known, is the reason the United States behaves the way that it does on the international stage.

The United States demands that the world bow down to its leadership. A failure to do so is met with the full force of the international military-industrial complex controlled by the U.S.  government.

Enforcement has included everything from the funding of opposition forces in sovereign nations, the removal or even assassination of political leaders who refuse to toe the line, economic sanctions, and military intervention.

Of course, there are choices to be made by the United States about which approach — or combination of approaches — it might take. There are also decisions to be made about the degree of action within each approach.

But fundamentally the point is that Washington believes it has a right to inflict on the rest of the world its interpretation of democracy — which seems to essentially amount to agreeing with whatever course of action the United States wants to take.

So, what is full spectrum dominance really for?

There’s a famous scene in the Oscar-winning film Reds where the great revolutionary journalist and activist John Reed, played by Warren Beatty, was asked at a dinner what the war in Mexico he had just returned from was all about. Before sitting down he said just one word: “profits.”

The United States is interested in safeguarding the profits of monopoly capital, which carries politicians in Washington around in its pockets like loose change.

No Room for Rivals

The Beijing headquarters of China National Petroleum Corporation and PetroChina. (Charlie Fong, Wikimedia Commons)

The United States also will not tolerate others, such as China, muscling in on potential new markets or swaying people away from its sphere of influence.

China is seen as the biggest threat to the profits of the companies that currently decide pretty much what we will eat and even when we can eat it.

Anyone who expects the Chinese to simply sit back and take the provocations dealt out by the two-faced United States is living in cloud cuckoo land.

China’s State Council Information Office recently issued a report that accused the United States of being the world’s biggest offender of human rights.

In “The Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2022,” the Chinese government said the United States “has sanctions in place against more than 20 countries, including Cuba since 1962, Iran since 1979, Syria since 2011 and Afghanistan in recent years.”

Calling the United States out as the most prolific enforcer of unilateral sanctions in the world, the report said Washington pursues power politics in the international community, frequently uses force, provokes proxy wars and is a saboteur of world peace.

The report added that under the guise of anti-terrorism activities, the U.S. has killed some 929,000 civilians and displaced some 38 million others in 85 countries.

Between 2017 and 2020, the United States launched 23 “proxy wars” in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific region, the report stated.

The report said that violations of immigrant rights and the refusal of Washington to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp created “an ugly chapter of unrelenting human rights violations.”

The report slammed the United States for holding up to 780 people at Guantanamo, most of whom were held without trial for years, while subjecting them to cruel and inhumane treatment.

Essentially the United States will go to any lengths to enforce what it sees as its unipolar dominance of the world.

No Consequences

June 16, 2010: U.S. soldiers run infront of Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp Delta detention center. (Joint Task Force Guantanamo, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

As far as it is concerned, “might is right,” and there are no consequences for its behavior.

There is no legal redress as the United States is not part of the International Criminal Court — which it lauds for threatening to prosecute Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though Russia is also not a signatory.

[Related: The ICC’s Selective Prosecution]

It has a veto at the United Nations and much of the world relies on its military shield as well as the mighty dollar with which to trade.

Given the cards stacked against those of us who oppose U.S.  full spectrum dominance and the seemingly invincible power of the biggest bully on the planet, the question is: What can we do?

The answer to full spectrum dominance is full spectrum resistance and organizing.

It is necessary to gear our efforts away from piecemeal change and toward revolutionary transformation.

This will mean bringing together unions, climate activism, equality organizing and a range of other social and economic movements in a serious change away from liberal posturing.

The guardians of capital are highly organized and put the resources where they need to go to protect and expand what they have. Activists generally just pretend that we are organized and fall out with each other at the first available opportunity.

I am not arrogant enough to believe I have all the answers. But what I do know is that we have to gaze beyond the Global North for what radical transformation might look like.

It really is time to shift the paradigm and bring movements together to work out how to pool our resources for real results — full spectrum resistance and organizing.

Roger McKenzie is the international editor of the Morning Star newspaper. Follow Roger on Twitter at @RogerAMck.

This article is from Peoples Dispatch and was produced by Globetrotter.

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

21 comments for “The Answer to ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’

  1. Arch Stanton
    April 7, 2023 at 12:43

    The US government is nothing but a malignant cancer on this planet. It has spread and infested itself all over its host, slowly suffocating and killing it.
    This cancer only survives on conflict, often pitting nation against nation for profit, and bringing death and despair to where none existed previously.

    Let’s hope for humanities sake that the BRICS and Global South unite and cut this rot out before it’s too late. This year, with all that’s going on in Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine and Saudi, offers us all a glimmer of hope. There will be pain, but as they say, no pain no gain. It all starts with this counteroffensive planned in the Donbass, let’s pray it fails.

  2. Mile
    April 6, 2023 at 04:34

    Full Spectrum Dominance?

    Such sick desires and aspirations can only have those who have no control over themselves (and no knowledge about it).

    The lack of knowledge, having no control over oneself, leads to the desire/ aspiration to control/ dominate others (or the world).

    To achieve their goal (dominance), they literally walk over the dead bodies. This time, however, they have gone much too far, and that will have catastrophic consequences.

  3. Rafi Simonton
    April 5, 2023 at 22:05


    Yeah, sure. Just like “Arbeit Macht Frei.”

  4. Realist
    April 5, 2023 at 17:18

    Reply to Piotr Berman

    It’s almost as if the American medical care providers, the institutions of higher education, and the manufacturers of digital electronic devices of all sorts are in cahoots with the American credit card industry and the banks that sponsor said cards. Get born, your parents are immediately pauperized by medical costs. Grow up living a typical American childhood, they are further pauperized via what’s become an ever more expensive socialization process involving hideous but expensive fashions, structured social activities and all the peripheral computers, smart phones and other mobile devices needed to fully integrate into the culture. Attend university, graduate school or professional school, what used to be a modest burden you could pay for during summer employment becomes a long-term liability the size of a home mortgage. Long before you ever “leave the nest” both you and your parents are saddled with so much systemic long-term debt that it’s no wonder that so many Americans essentially live off the stack of plastic they carry in their wallets. Now, go out into the world, buy an essential car, rent an essential roof over your head, attempt to build relationships and find romance and the prospects of paying off all that accumulated debt before you pass on from this mortal coil vanishes on your personal event horizon. Is there any wonder why the youngest couple of generations of Americans have largely stopped having children (at least the financially “responsible” ones). Unless you were born into wealth, what can you even dream of leaving to your progeny but DEBT! People are so strapped that incineration of their dead body is the preferred means of its disposal now because it’s the cheapest. At least the kids of centuries past only had childhood labor and childhood diseases to contend with before “seeking their fortune” and making a life.

    • Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
      April 7, 2023 at 09:35

      Superb !

  5. Realist
    April 5, 2023 at 16:27

    The United States should say what it means most succinctly in the original German: “Macht macht richtig.” After all, it is the single most unifying value and policy the tyrants running this country have ceaselessly coerced throughout the entire 76 years of my life on this planet. If the United Nations ever actually carried out the tasks laid before it in its charter either most American federal administrations would have wound up behind bars for long prison terms, or the United Nations would have been laid to rubble long ago by the militaristic tyrants in Washington. The rest of the world has long ago earned the right to some peace and relief from the incessant bullying and braggadocio by our arrogant rude so-called leaders. I could actually get nasty about it if the louts keep pushing it.

  6. lester
    April 5, 2023 at 15:56

    There have been no major wars fought in North America since the 1860s. All our 3d world murder campaigns have had few repercussio0ns at home. The 9/11 attacks were the major exception and it left most of us stunned. The shock was mostly to our pride and our sense of invulnerability. We reacted with tantrums throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

    But would hot war with China or Russia leave us untouched at home? Or would we be leveled and occupied like Germany and Japan? Or worse, given nuclear weapons?

  7. lester
    April 5, 2023 at 15:49

    I fear that a societal blood lust is part of it, too. We have been very warlike since Jamestown and Plymouth Rock. The wars in the 3d world of my lifetime have been waged with all the rape, eopbbery, torture and murder of our vile Indian Wars. Many of us like it. Listen to sones like “Kick Ass, USA!”

    Many of us can’t imagine life without constant warfare.

  8. CaseyG
    April 5, 2023 at 13:22

    America is that sad place, where the military is known as not winning any war since WW2).

    America is that place that pretends that it knows all, and pretends it controls other nations. It can’t even control what is best for its own nation—— governMENTAL insanity seems to be rampant here.

  9. bardamu
    April 5, 2023 at 01:56

    I am arrogant enough to imagine that I have some handle on answers. I doubt that we can afford to let imperfections convince us that we cannot.

    We need a sort of post-activism–a relative cessation of cooperation with the deranged system. Try to not work for them. Try to not buy from them. Set up an alternate economy so that you do not have to. Start at your front door; gradually make larger groups. Start with water, food, shelter. Work towards education, child care, medical care, alternate financing.

    It feels a bit inchoate and directionless at first, but gains momentum.

    • Piotr Berman
      April 5, 2023 at 09:41

      The recent amok in the Western alliance seems to break the back of docility and deference in the “Global South”. The stakes were raised and the bonus for not going along with sanctions and for neutrality exceeded the tooth of American wrath once India jumped the ship. Thus “alternate economy” seems to appear, more and more ships are loaded and unloaded despite Western frowning and more and more payments for the cargoes, insurance etc. bypass Western financial institutions. Monopolies crack like Antarctic ice sheets, in both cases, a gradual process, but, let’s hope, much faster in the case of “alternate economy”.

      Domestically, it is still tall order. Hard to see how to crack corporate grip on our life in “food, shelter, medical care”. Perhaps in the case of alternate financing, the huge gap between credit card charges and the cost born by banks can open room for alternatives.

      Brookings (not 100% financialist/imperialist): “The roughly half of U.S. families who revolved credit card debt[1] paid an estimated $111 billion in fees and interest in 2021. That figure approaches the amount of interest paid by all households on auto loans and leases.[2] A large subset of credit card revolvers carry their debt for protracted periods, sapping their ability to save, using up available credit lines, and, when excessive card debt leads to delinquency or default, leaving them unable to access less expensive forms of long-term credit.”

  10. Thomas L Johnson
    April 4, 2023 at 21:47

    Nobody wants to say the word Clinton. They are scared of all the things that come with it. Why? What happened that changed our world? He did something that needs to be corrected, but like all of us,”we must look at our past”.

  11. Kiwiantz62
    April 4, 2023 at 21:29

    Change won’t be coming from the Global North or American people or Organisations you promote here, the people are completely brainwashed, gaslighted & propagandised & the Union movement you mentioned has been defanged & the Protest movements have disappeared into irrelevance! The only way the change you state will happen is by the Alliance of Global South Nations led by Russia & China & the destruction of the USD Petrodollar System which will bring about that change & the collapse of the US Empire & with it the inability of it to fund it’s Military Adventurism & Worldwide Terrorism as it won’t be able to fund it’s MIC & corrupt Political system via its worthless Weimar Republic currency which the USD will become when it loses its World reserve currency status, it’ll be Game Over for the US Empire!

    • Valerie
      April 5, 2023 at 13:16

      Meanwhile until/if that happens:

      “US to open embassy in Vanuatu as it seeks to counter China in the Pacific”
      “Washington, which has ties with the island nation but has been represented by diplomats based in New Guinea, also plans embassies in Kiribati and Tonga”
      (Reuters 3rd April)

    • Humwawa
      April 5, 2023 at 13:19

      This is spot on. To think that a grass root resistance can overcome the US empire is delusional. One doesn’t have to like Putin or Xi Jinping; however, without Russia’s and China’s resistance against the US empire, the US will destroy or undermine every and each resistance movement. Putin’s and Xi’s resistance against US dominance empowers resistance worldwide. If the US can’t impose its will on China and Russia, all other countries have an alternative to US hegemony. The US is the only country with full-spectrum dominance. In a multipolar world that doesn’t have to submit to US rules, there won’t be any power with full-spectrum dominance because the different poles will balance each other. There is no way that China could acquire full-spectrum dominance even if it wanted to because there will be other powers to prevent it. India is certainly not going to bend to Chinese rule.

  12. Lois Gagnon
    April 4, 2023 at 18:38

    Love this! This is unvarnished truth about the US. It’s long past time to face this reality and get really serious about pushing back against the imperialist monster that is the US government. All life on earth depends on it.

  13. shmutzoid
    April 4, 2023 at 18:27

    As I commented after another piece—–> from the Monroe Doctrine to the Wolfowitz Doctrine, US foreign policy has been steeped in a sense of entitlement, arrogance and self-righteousness. “You’re either with us or against us” —-> US foreign policy in a nutshell……..Thanks to unrelenting jingoistic propaganda, as well as an education system imbued with US empire-centric themes, people in the US are the most politically disoriented in the world. Add to that a corporate junk culture that deadens humanity as well as critical thinking, and you begin to see how hapless and hopeless things are here in the US.

    The only question remaining is——> How far will the US go in attempting to forestall the inevitable emergence of a multipolar world??? Will Full Spectrum Dominance play out with the use of nukes??? Or, will the US eventually accept its role as a regional power only – just one of 193 countries?? ……. a US empire in rapid decline makes it the most dangerous and unpredictable entity in the world.
    ………. stay tuned

    • Bushrod Lake
      April 5, 2023 at 11:00

      The Soviet Union’s decline didn’t take the rest of the world with it…and they suffered the indignities of having their county manipulated by outside Nations (us) for profit and domination.
      Nobody wins a nuclear war, but it is hard to convince knuckle headed hawks in this country (U.S.) that nuclear Winter won’t lead to starvation. While having at least 1500 active nuclear weapons, we are currently trying to produce 80 “pits” per year – these are nuclear fission bombs that are needed to trigger much larger hydrogen fusion bombs – smugly using the “deterrence” argument. That is, increasingly arming the military with the offensive threat of taking down the rest of the world with us. This is about as evil as it gets setting the stage for our extinction, or the possible death of 6 billion people and many other forms of life.

      • Humwawa
        April 5, 2023 at 13:39

        Nuclear annihilation of life on this planet has become a distinct possibility. One reason this may happen is that the public has become oblivious to the nuclear threat. This is a far cry from the peace demonstrations of the 1980s which brought millions onto the street in opposition to the stationing of intermediate range missiles in Europe. Today, the INF treaty has been scrapped without any protest and the public hardly seems to notice that we are about to see the stationing of the next generation of hypersonic intermediate range missiles, which will reduce the prewarning time to as little as 5 minutes. In the current climate of increased distrust between the nuclear powers in which diplomatic relations are at a dead end, the probability of an accidental nuclear strike increases to the point where it has to happen sooner or later.

        Nobody knows what the Neocons will do if they see their last adventure in Ukraine go down the drain together with the US’s dominance over the world. Are the Blinkens, Nulands, and Sullivans of this world ready to live in a world where Bejing has more influence than Washington? Are they ready to go to Beijing asking for a bailout? Difficult to imagine.

        Perhaps humanity’s only hope is a revolution in the US that will topple the empire from within without bloodshed.

        • shmutzoid
          April 5, 2023 at 23:12

          Well said. ……….The US has not till now felt its global dominance slipping away like it is. Imperial managers of the empire are in desperation mode. Baiting Russia into a military response over Ukraine is only step one. Step two —plans for a military confrontation with China are well underway. ………THIS is what makes the US so unpredictable and dangerous. Anyone who doesn’t think the US has gamed out several scenarios involving the use of nukes is naive.
          …Beware of cornered rats……and…..collapsing empires.

        • Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
          April 7, 2023 at 09:38

          Superb !

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