Same Old, Same Old

Green Party activists, especially those motivated by anti-war sentiment, have no difficulty demonstrating the alignment between the Republican and Democratic parties, upholders both of the American Empire, through brutal military means.

David Swanson imagines Trump’s budget originating in the thought,

If I cut everything that everybody values out of the budget but move the money to the military, my spineless war-adoring opponents will tie one hand behind their backs before they even try to put up a fight.

The “spineless war-adoring opponents” include the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, and church leaders:

Here’s Richard Trumka, top labor leader in the United States, opposing Trump’s budget at length, without ever mentioning the existence of the U.S. military. Here’s the Sierra Club, top environmental group, doing the same. Here are 100 Christian “faith leaders” doing the same thing.

The Congressional leaders of the Democratic Party are as silent on the question of military build-up as are the leaders of liberal opinion.

Most of the Democrats in Congress, and even more so the media coverage of them, are following the same line as the liberal organizations. Schumer gives no indication that the military exists at all. Pelosi gives a brief nod to her desire that it remain somewhere around its current gargantuan size, pushing the idea that it’s good for us but that we wouldn’t want to have too much of that good. Sanders has a reasonable statement on his website, but news reports depict him as droning on about tax cuts for billionaires and cuts in services, as if that were what was happening here. Someone should ask Sanders to compare the wealth of U.S. billionaires to the size of U.S. military spending in a single year, and then in 10 years.

There is of course a plain enough reason for this striking anomaly. The liberal Establishment, including most prominently the leaders of the Democratic Party but extending to non-governmental lobbying groups, are not upset with a state of constant warfare, such as we have had continuously since the end of the Second World War. We do not question the American Empire.

Empires have always had to be aggressively expanding, in order to maintain their viability; once they stop expanding, they are subjected to attack. The classic example is Hadrian’s Wall, protecting Roman Britain from the unconquered Picts.

Hadrian’s Wall marked a turning point in Roman Britain. It marked the point at which the Romans first marked a limit to their conquest of Britain. Although the Romans would advance again into Scotland and build the Antonine Wall, the advances were short lived and within a few decades the border was again back on Hadrian’s Wall; where it would stay until the very end of the Roman occupation of Britain.

Where once the historical quiver had to rely on the arrow of the Roman world, the rise of more cosmopolitan interests in the last half century provides a broader perspective. The current issue of Journal of World History includes a long review of Jeroen Duindam’s 2016 survey Dynasties: A Global History of Power:

Duindam . . . surveys the features of the dominant form of political regime that governed the world’s parts and shaped their interactions: heritable monarchies prevailing over large and expanding territories with a common commitment to the promotion of the bonum publicum. It is a majestic work of amalgamation and cross-regional research, weaving an astonishing amount of detail into a narrative of global commonality. Dynasties, for all their vernacular expressions, had some shared features . . . By the end of the story, two themes emerge. One is that dynasties sustained themselves by expanding: pushing outward from Peking, Madrid, Delhi, Tenochtitlan, or Kiev was an important means to externalize tensions; conquering, grabbing, and plundering on the fringes helped to dissolve internecine conflict back home. The aura of indomitable power covered epic intrigue and habits of war-making.

Until and unless we connect the brutal oppression the United States imposes on its subordinate states abroad with the similar oppression practiced upon the lower ranks of our population at home, we will never confront our problems at their roots. No major political figure today does that which Martin Luther King did, back in 1967, or that President Eisenhower did, in 1961.

About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Bradley Manning, Brian Willson, Dan Handelman, Economics, Elections, Empire, Fascism, Gar Alperovitz, Global, Inequality, Iran, Israel, John Schweibert, Marxism, Pacific Green Party, Permaculture, Police, Ronald Reagan, Spiritual life, U.S. Constitution, US Senate, War. Bookmark the permalink.

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