(Note: the map above is dated, and certainly doesn’t show the secret bases all over Africa.)
Here’s the report by the DoD media spokesman on Mad Dog’s Jan. 19 speech at Johns Hopkins University in Washington. He says it’s a good fit with Herr Trump’s NSS (most said Mattis helped write that one, a well), but that this is rather an ‘American Strategy’ (a variant on #MAGA, or #MASA, Make Amerika Safe Again™, and even more of bombastic, especially: the warnings. I’d call it a Declaration of War on any other nation on the planet that dares to defy Total US Imperial Command and Control coupled with paranoid projections onto his/their ‘enemies’. No multipolar world is allowable, and it sure has nothing to do with ‘Defense’. The hyperlinked document is a pdf, 14 pages. I’ve bolded a few passages, and have reproduced portions of his Cliffs Notes. Yep, it’s long, and you may not want to read it; neither did I, but it’s all stuff we need to know to move forward in any meaningful way. If ending war happens to be your most important issue, I’d urge you to check into Ballotpedia to see how folks you’re considering voted for…voted on military and FP issues. There are prizes for those who finish. ;-)
New Strategy Reclaims ‘An Era of Strategic Purpose’
“Today, America’s military reclaims an era of strategic purpose and we’re alert to the realities of a changing world and attentive to the need to protect our values and the countries that stand with us,” the secretary said. “America’s military protects our way of life and I want to point out it also protects a realm of ideas. It’s not just about protecting geography. This is a defense strategy that will guide our efforts in all realms.”
Threats have changed since the last strategy. There is increasing global volatility and uncertainty with challenges from Russia and China coming to the fore. “Though we will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists that we are engaged in today, but great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security,” the secretary said.
The strategy will provide the American people the military required “to protect our way of life, stand with our allies and live up to our responsibility to pass intact to the next generation those freedoms that all of us enjoy here today,” Mattis said.
The strategy expands the U.S. military’s competitive space, prioritizes preparedness for war, provides clear direction for significant change at the speed of relevance and builds a more lethal force to compete strategically.
In forming the strategy, officials had to make tough choices, “and we made them based upon a fundamental precept, namely that America can afford survival,” Mattis said.
“We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia are from each other, nations that do seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models, pursuing veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic and security decisions,” he said.
The threat from rogue regimes like North Korea and Iran persist. And even though ISIS’s physical caliphate is no more, the group — and other extremist organizations — continues to sow hatred.
“In this time of change, our military is still strong, yet our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare: air, land, sea, space and cyberspace, and it is continuing to erode,” the secretary said.
‘Our Military Will Win Should Diplomacy Fail’
Sixteen years of war, rapid technological change, defense spending caps, and seemingly continuous continuing resolutions “have created an overstretched and under-resourced military,” he said. “Our military’s role is to keep the peace; to keep the peace for one more year, one more month, one more week, one more day; to ensure our diplomats who are working to solve problems do so from a position of strength and giving allies confidence in us. This confidence is underpinned by the assurance that our military will win should diplomacy fail.”
Mattis said the supremacy of American military is not preordained. “It is incumbent upon us to field a more lethal force if our nation is to retain the ability to defend ourselves and what we stand for,” Mattis said. “The defense strategy’s three primary lines of effort will restore our comparative military advantage.”
The strategy commits the department to build a more lethal joint force. It calls for strengthening old alliances and building new ones. “At the same time, we’ll reform our department’s business practices for performance and affordability,” the secretary said.
An enemy will attack any perceived weakness, Mattis said. The American military, therefore, must be able to fight across the spectrum of conflict. “This means that the size and the composition of our force matters,” he said. “The nation must field sufficient capable forces to deter conflict. And if deterrence fails, we must win.”
Mattis added, “To those who would threaten America’s experiment in democracy, they must know: If you challenge us it will be your longest and your worst day. Work with our diplomats: You don’t want to fight the Department of Defense.”
This strategy means nothing if the resources are not in place, Mattis said. “No strategy can long survive without necessary funding and the stable, predictable budgets required to defend America in the modern age,” he said. “Failure to modernize our military risks leaving us with a force that could dominate the last war, but be irrelevant to tomorrow’s security.”
Continuing Resolutions Harm Military Readiness
Mattis added, “Let me be clear. As hard as the last 16 years have been on our military, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined impact of the Budget Control Act’s defense spending cuts, worsened … by us operating, nine of the last 10 years, under continuing resolutions, wasting copious amounts of precious taxpayer dollars.”
The military continues to work tirelessly to accomplish the mission with now inadequate and misaligned resources, simply because the Congress cannot maintain regular order, Mattis said.
Under the Constitution, it is Congress that has the authority to raise armies and navies, Mattis said.
“Yet as I stand here this morning, watching the news, as we all are, from Capitol Hill, we’re on the verge of a government shutdown or, at best, yet another debilitating continuing resolution,” he said. “We need Congress back in the driver’s seat of budget decisions, not in the spectator seat of Budget Control Acts’ indiscriminate and automatic cuts. We need a budget and we need budget predictability if we’re to sustain our military’s primacy.”
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
From the document pdf:
We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order—creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.
China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea. Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors. As well, North Korea’s outlaw actions and reckless rhetoric continue despite United Nation’s censure and sanctions. Iran continues to sow violence and remains the most significant challenge to Middle East stability. Despite the defeat of ISIS’s physical caliphate, threats to stability remain as terrorist groups with long reach continue to murder the innocent and threaten peace more broadly.
In support of the National Security Strategy, the Department of Defense will be prepared to defend the homeland, remain the preeminent military power in the world, ensure the balances of power remain in our favor, and advance an international order that is most conducive to our security and prosperity.
The surest way to prevent war is to be prepared to win one.
Prioritize preparedness for war. Achieving peace through strength requires the Joint Force to deter conflict through preparedness for war. During normal day-to-day operations, the Joint Force will sustainably compete to: deter aggression in three key regions—the Indo-Pacific, Europe, and Middle East; degrade terrorist and WMD threats; and defend U.S. interests from challenges below the level of armed conflict. In wartime, the fully mobilized Joint Force will be capable of: defeating aggression by a major power; deterring opportunistic aggression elsewhere; and disrupting imminent terrorist and WMD threats.’
[wd here: Be strategically predictable, but operationally unpredictable on page 7 is almost funny, but among the many passages of Amerikan Exceptional hysteria is this under Expanding Our Alliances:]
‘Fortify the Trans-Atlantic NATO Alliance. A strong and free Europe, bound by shared principles of democracy, national sovereignty, and commitment to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty is vital to our security. The alliance will deter Russian adventurism, defeat terrorists who seek to murder innocents, and address the arc of instability building on NATO’s periphery. At the same time, NATO must adapt to remain relevant and fit for our time—in purpose, capability, and responsive, and decision-making. We expect European allies to fulfill their commitments to increase defense and modernization spending to bolster the alliance in the face of our shared security concerns.’
Bill Van Auken at wws.AMPorg has synopsized some of the document, including some of the most eye-blinking themes in his Jan. 20 ‘Pentagon unveils strategy for military confrontation with Russia and China’
“What emerges clearly from the Pentagon document is a vision of US imperialism besieged on all sides and in mortal danger of losing global dominance. It reflects the thinking among the cabal of retired and active-duty generals that dominate the Trump administration’s foreign policy that the past 16 years of unending wars in the Middle East and Central Asia have failed to further US strategic interests, creating a series of debacles, while grinding down the US military.
The thrust of the document is a demand for a vast buildup of the American war machine, which already spends more than the next eight countries combined, including nearly triple the military spending of China and roughly eight times the amount spent by Russia.
The overriding objective in terms of modernization is the buildup of the US “nuclear triad”—Washington’s array of intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and strategic bombers, capable of destroying life on the planet many times over.
It added that “Modernization of the nuclear force includes developing options to counter competitors’ coercive strategies, predicated on the threatened use of nuclear or strategic non-nuclear attacks.” In other words, the US military is prepared to launch a nuclear war in response to a conventional or cyberattack.”
Now this I’d missed in the document:
“Mattis warned that the war plans outlined in the document will require “sustained investment by the American people,” noting that “past generations” had been compelled to make “harsher sacrifices.”
These new “sacrifices” will take the form of savage cuts to essential social services, including the gutting of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, with the transfer of resources to the military, the arms industry and the financial oligarchy.”
Van Auken indicated that neither Moscow nor Beijing were amused by the ‘strategy’. Additionally, formerly ‘out of NATO Tweeter-in-Chief ah…kinda changed his mind, and got peeved that member nations weren’t ponying up their 3.5% of GDP. So how will the citizens in member and aspiring member nations react to moar war fees and their further immersisation?
Now as far as Herr T’s ‘Defense Strategy’, even at the end of Dec. 2017, Pepe Escobar in his ‘The Petro-Yuan Bombshell’ noted that the administration was keenly aware of the discussions at the BRICS summit in Xiamen last September, Putin having been quoted about concerns over global financial architectures that don’t due regard to the weight to emerging economies, as he stressed the need to ‘“overcome the excessive domination of a limited number of reserve currencies”.
“That was a clear reference to the US dollar, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of total reserve currency around the world and remains the benchmark determining the price of energy and strategic raw materials.
And that brings us to the unnamed secret at the heart of the NSS; the Russia-China “threat” to the US dollar.
The CIPS/SWIFT face-off
The website of the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) recently announced the establishment of a yuan-ruble payment system, hinting that similar systems regarding other currencies participating in the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will also be in place in the near future.
The decision follows the establishment by Beijing, in October 2015, of the China International Payments System (CIPS). CIPS has a cooperation agreement with the private, Belgium-based SWIFT international bank clearing system, through which virtually every global transaction must transit.
What matters, in this case, is that Beijing – as well as Moscow – clearly read the writing on the wall when, in 2012, Washington applied pressure on SWIFT; blocked international clearing for every Iranian bank; and froze $100 billion in Iranian assets overseas as well as Tehran’s potential to export oil. In the event Washington might decide to slap sanctions on China, bank clearing though CIPS works as a de facto sanctions-evading mechanism.”
“It ain’t over till the fat (golden) lady sings. When the beginning of the end of the petrodollar system – established by Kissinger in tandem with the House of Saud way back in 1974 – becomes a fact on the ground, all eyes will be focused on the NSS counterpunch.” (the lengthy rest is here, including many fascinating developments and initiatives of new economic and cooperative alliances.)
In conclusion, several new games are afoot, and Trump’s generals are doing tantrums over it. Given that he’d already given military control to them, it’s likely that they’re running his FP. Will there come a day when those who love War (including and especially the D political class are sent packing by a global anti-war, Rabble class economic equality non-violent revolution? First people must wake up and realize there actually are alternatives. And as the wsws authors note: some sort of vision for a just anti-capitalistic economic system must come before that day; I’d add anti-Imperialism to the mix.
Now if you’ve managed to finish this long piece, here’s your prize; hope ya love it: ‘From the Book of Amos, the words went into the dream, Let justice run down like water, righteousness like a mighty stream..’
(cross-posted at caucus99percent)