Faux Populists Shill for the Permanent War State

by | Jul 21, 2021

Faux Populists Shill for the Permanent War State

by | Jul 21, 2021

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American imperial policy has sharply trained its sights on Russia and China. Under President Joe Biden, sanctions have been levied against both countries and, along with its allies, the U.S. military, has maintained a near constant, hostile, military presence in both states’ near abroad. This is occurring most frequently in the Black Sea and the South China Sea.

Washington decidedly blew its coveted post-Cold War shot at so called “unipolarity” by getting itself bogged down in the disastrous War on Terror. The American government, instead of taking its lessons and abandoning the “fool’s errand” of world dominance, like a drunk at a bar, is instigating closing time brawls it cannot possibly win.

Regardless of which party is in power, the U.S. is becoming increasingly belligerent toward Moscow and Beijing.

The Global War on Terror, including the nearly two decades long occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the wars and interventions in Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, etc. killed and caused the deaths of multiple millions of people and displaced tens of millions more across North Africa, the Middle East, and South Central Asia.

Studies have determined the ultimate price of the war at well over $6 trillion. The interest alone on the debt accumulated to fund the war is expected to cost $8 trillion. Washington attempts to still justify, at the American people’s continued direct expense, further growth of its bloated and unsustainable, globe-spanning, hyper-interventionist military presence.

To do this, American government foreign policy apparatchiks and the arms industry funded neocon think tanks, along with their cohorts in the military, point to their new favorite red menace: China.

Enter Saagar Enjeti, Krystal Ball’s co-host on the world’s number one hit politics podcast “Breaking Points.” Ball was formerly an MSNBC talking head. Enjeti is a neocon disguised as a populist. Ball’s previous cohost on The Hill’s “Rising,” the show which preceded “Breaking Points,” was Buck Sexton. Sexton incidentally hailed from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Enjeti was the subject of a recent exposé, on Mintpress News, by investigative journalist Alan Macleod. Enjeti is explicitly committed to opposing the emerging multi polar world and prefers to the stick with the now defunct neoconservative Project for a New American Century’s priority of preventing the rise of another great power. Enjeti postures as a pro-worker, pro-union, populist outsider who can work with the left. However, his hawkishness on Beijing is more in line with those of the neoconservative ideological persuasion who ceaselessly promote war, higher military spending, and further confrontation.

Macleod documents Enjeti’s bizarre trajectory of studying “counterterrorism” at a Deep State connected Israeli university to working at neocon think tanks with the likes of Scooter Libby and the Kagan clan.

Like his former boss Tucker Carlson, Enjeti is part of a larger trend of putative outsiders carrying water for the neocon China hawks. Carlson is the Rachel Maddow of Fox News when it comes to China. Like Enjeti, Carlson somehow successfully markets himself as a kind of populist outsider even though, as Macleod writes he is the “stepson of the heir of the Swanson food empire.”

Moreover, Carlson attempted to join the CIA, worked for Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard, and has had his own shows on CNN, MSNBC, and now Fox News. How many people have that kind of résumé? Additionally, Carlson’s father, Richard “Dick” Carlson, was deeply enmeshed in the National Security State serving not only as a Cold War era director of Voice of America, but also as the public liaison for the U.S. Information Agency, as well as President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. From 2003-2011, “Dick” also served as Vice Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the notorious anti-Iran neocon think tank.

The implications of faux populists connected to the neoconservatives, spreading anti-China propaganda from their large platforms, ultimately manufacturing consent for Washington’s new Cold War is deeply troubling.

In 2018, the Pentagon announced a shift away from their failing policy of counterterrorism in the Middle East and North Africa toward a new National Defense Strategy of so called “Great Power Competition,” with Russia and China. Instead of turning toward peace, free trade, and diplomacy, this policy change will come at enormous opportunity costs such as further distorting our economy, practically guaranteeing boom-bust cycles of ever intensifying severity, as well as reducing the average American’s standard of living. It would impoverish the very people who desire genuine populism.

Cold War 2.0 will doubtless also entail the sacrifice of our last vestiges of liberty in exchange for a dubious security, and put Americans on the fast track to brinksmanship (or worse) with China and Russia, the next two greatest nuclear superpowers.

Any sort of kinetic military conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan could almost certainly mean Beijing’s three stage intercontinental ballistic missiles hitting Americans here at home. A conflict with Moscow over the Donbass region in Ukraine or what NATO members refers to as Russia’s “temporary occupation” of Crimea, in a worst case scenario could mean hypersonic and/or nuclear powered cruise missiles hitting the continental United States.

The word “détente,” or the concept of mutually assured destruction, is but a ghost in our self-obsessed, drunken jingoist culture. When pundits publicly pontificate about how best to stick it to Russia or China, the likely chance of nuclear war goes unsaid.

The Pentagon calls China, already surrounded by hundreds of U.S. bases, its “pacing threat,” or alternately the “number one pacing challenge.” Biden has emphatically declared we are in “extreme competition” with Beijing to “win the 21st century.”

Biden has taken up the mantle from ultra-hawk Hillary Clinton and more specifically his old pal, former President Barrack Obama who launched the “Asia Pivot.” This “pivot” amounts to a dramatic expansion of Washington’s military footprint in East Asia.

As foreign policy expert and documentary film maker John Pilger has said, “American bases form a giant noose encircling China with missiles, bombers, warships—all the way from Australia through the Pacific to Asia and beyond.”

He adds,

I have reported from Asia for many years. In 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the South China Sea was a “security interest” of the United States…In 2011, President Obama announced the “pivot to Asia”—which meant that two-thirds of US naval and air forces would concentrate in the Asia-Pacific, the biggest build-up of military forces since World War II. This was aimed, clearly, at China.

Biden’s regime is spending more than the U.S. government ever has on the military and on so called “defense,” as well as its new Space Force. As ever, the hawks intend to ratchet that spending up, into the future, indefinitely. Genuine conservative populists should be on the front lines alongside libertarians and anti-imperialist leftists opposing this absolute lunacy.

After all, for at least a decade, the U.S. Empire has burdened American taxpayers to the tune of over $1 trillion per year. This figure includes the expenditures involved in running the Veterans’ Affairs Department, as well as the Energy Department’s role in managing the nuclear arsenal, and also the other National Security State bureaucracies such as the “monstrous” Department of Homeland Security.

During the George W. Bush administration, Robert Higgs, the libertarian economist and historian, determined a good rule of thumb to estimate the true yearly price of American imperialism is to double the Pentagon’s official budget, which is currently a whopping $715 billion.

After years of Russiagate and pervasive neocon propaganda, our society has absorbed and sadly grown accustomed to the neoconservative/neoliberal foreign policy consensus. This coopting of the alternative media scene ensures those too smart for the TV news propaganda their parents tragically fell for during the Bush II years, can be scared to death by other means.

As the contrived, and sleep inducing, “woke mob” vs. Bari Weiss’ “Intellectual Dark Web” culture war saga drowns out any discussion of these critical issues, we gladly march, knowingly or unknowingly thanks to the corporate press, into simultaneous wars with Russia and China.

The Robert Kagans and Bill Kristols of the world envisioned the Empire, in this long-awaited era, finally establishing permanent control over the world.

As Scott Horton, Director of The Libertarian Institute, has said,

…at the end of the last Cold War the American foreign policy community, led by the neoconservatives, adopted a doctrine of global dominance… to remake the world our way and keep it that way. They call it leadership, hegemony, preeminence, predominance or even Full Spectrum Dominance. No really, it’s all for their own good though. Keeping the peace; protecting the sea lanes; enforcing the global rules-based liberal international order.

Dick Cheney’s Defense Department’s post-Iraq War I, “Defense Planning Guidance” from 1992 defined the doctrine for the new decade and into the new millennium: The U.S. must remain the single dominant power on the planet, and must maintain enough military power to prevent any possible strategic rivals, such as Germany, Japan, Russia or China, from even considering an attempt to challenge U.S. power.

But it does not have to be this way at all. “Renewed Power Competition” and preserving Charles Krauthammer’s “unipolar moment” is the American Empire’s fight, not the American people’s fight.

The American people’s fight, is our struggle for liberty, peace and prosperity. Our only quarrel is with the American Empire, not China or Russia.

About Connor Freeman

Connor Freeman is the assistant editor and a writer at the Libertarian Institute, primarily covering foreign policy. He is a co-host on Conflicts of Interest. His writing has been featured in media outlets such as Antiwar.com and Counterpunch, as well as the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He has also appeared on Liberty Weekly, Around the Empire, and Parallax Views. You can follow him on Twitter @FreemansMind96

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