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May 6, 2020
WN: The article highlighted below represents a brilliant and multiplex presentation of the worldwide realities of the premier world blight of militarism. One could call it the Ultimate Virus, the Unremitting Pandemic–that few even recognize for the Monstrous World Nightmare it is.
The other day I was forwarded an Opinion piece in Canada’s Maclean’s magazine entitled: China was in violation of International Health Regulations. What do we do now? It was written by Errol Patrick Mendes, Marcus Kolga and Sarah Teich–all part of the Canadian liberal Establishment. They ended their article thus:
Canada’s political leaders must find the courage not to allow themselves to be intimidated by China’s totalitarian regime, and stand up against their crimes against the Uyghurs, other human rights abuses including the arbitrary detention of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, and rampant corruption. However, now is also the critical time to put in place plans to eventually hold them to account for the global spread of COVID-19.
The Opinion piece below that was by Conservative Party leader hopeful, Peter MacKay: Canada and its allies must hold the Chinese government to account. In it we read:
This clear threat to Canada’s national security has not been properly addressed or fully acknowledged, despite ample evidence over the past several years. Canada must learn from its allies, including Australia and the U.S., who have successfully implemented legislation to curb foreign influence . . .
Canada must stand together to defend our values and principles: democracy, freedom, human rights and respect for the rule of law. United, we can protect these values and principles from the alliance of malevolent and aggressive regimes that do not share our basic values and actively seek to undermine and subvert our societies, our independence, and our best interests.
In light of the Swanson material below, one wonders: Just what world do MacKay and the other writers inhabit? That leads to a further question: How does Canada stand up to the longstanding malevolent and aggressive regime to Canada’s south–bar none vis à vis our Planet–the Ultimate Totalitarian Regime? The answer is patently clear. We do not. On the contrary: through NATO and myriad government and business alliances we are in bed with the Most Dangerous Rogue State on Earth. It is also the most deadly Bully Nation.
Several posts on this website deal with the U.S. And Empire/American Empire. See also An Open Letter to Michelle Obama. My Home page is dedicated to the Gospel as Counter-Narrative to Empire. On it you may read:
American Empire has always and supremely been about “plundering, butchering, and stealing”, “the sack of cities, the rape of populations, pyramids of bones, acres of desolation”, leaving “desolation”, “destruction and misery and death” in its wake (while calling it “peace and freedom”), and long since has been in voracious bid for worldwide domination, in order to extract maximum wealth from all peoples and the Planet. Our call is simply to practise insurrection against Empire in all its avaricious, brutal and horribly destructive ways. (No small order!)
There is much else to consider on that page. One more quote:
In this historical moment that supreme manifestation of Empire is the United States – to which the entire Western world is tied in various supportive ways; under which domination the rest of the world suffers: in the Greater Middle East as only one example, which endures brutal will to domination and oppression at the hands of American Empire. I reflect on this in an introduction to a posting here.
An agonizing in-depth look at one aspect of the horrors of American militarism is arms sales. The New York’s Times exposé “Why Bombs Made in America Have Been Killing Civilians in Yemen” makes one weep in horror and rage. Looking at all those (white) faces behind the obscenely massive U.S. arms sales industry, my mind returned repeatedly–and don’t excuse my french— to the words: “Those God-damned bastards!” And I thought of Bruce Cockburn’s “If I Had a Rocket Launcher:”
But those Huey helicopter pilots targeted in the song were merely the puppets. The puppeteers were and are of course the arms manufacturers, the dealers, the politicians–all of whom oversee those massive death-dealing murderous Industries of Horrors! Such are vile, loathsome, inhuman, evil, disgusting–adjectives pile up–Merchants of Death making billions off literally shredding others’ lives–indiscriminately infants, children, innocent civilians “over there” but so far NIMBY. They are “Sons of Bitches (Cockburn)”, Dr. Deaths à la Nazi Slaughterhouses. They are execrable!
But it does not stop there! Nick Turse wrote The Complex: How the Military Invades our Everyday Lives, a description of which reads:
Now in paperback, a stunning breakdown of the modern military-industrial complex―an omnipresent, hidden-in-plain-sight system of systems that penetrates all our lives.
From iPods to Starbucks to Oakley sunglasses, historian Nick Turse explores the Pentagon’s little-noticed contacts (and contracts) with the products and companies that now form the fabric of America. He investigates the remarkable range of military incursions into the civilian world: the Pentagon’s collaborations with Hollywood filmmakers; its outlandish schemes to weaponize the wild kingdom; its joint ventures with Marvel Comics and NASCAR. Similarly disturbing is the way in which the military, desperate for fresh recruits, has tapped into the “culture of cool” by making “friends” on MySpace.
A striking vision of this brave new world of remote-controlled rats and super-soldiers who need no sleep, The Complex will change our understanding of the militarization of America. We are a long way from Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex: this is the essential book for understanding its twenty-first-century progeny.
Is Canada however any different? This article is about merely one aspect of the lucrative contracts our arms dealers supply to Saudi Arabia–around the world too. This article, “Canada’s checkered history of arms sales to human rights violators” concludes:
In actual fact, if previous debates on arms sales are anything to go by, Canada is less vigilant on human rights than it was in 1946, or even in 1999. It has some way to go before it approaches the standards that once prevailed.
The arc of Canadian arms sales is long, but it seems to bend away from, not towards, human rights.
In reality arms sales alongside human rights is a laughably ludicrous oxymoron!
Bruce Cockburn’s song therefore falls overwhelmingly short of targeting the true devils: above all, arms industry leaders, politicians. But in the end: “We have seen the devil–and it is us!” We are God-damned bastards all! Or: tell me it ain’t so!? (But back it up!)
The final chapter of Rogue State, by noted American foreign policy dissident William Blum, asks:
How do they get away with it? How does the United States orchestrate economies, subvert democracy, overthrow sovereign nations, torture them, chemicalize them, biologize them, radiate them… all the less-than-nice things detailed in this book, often in the full glare of the international media, with the most stunning contradictions between word and deed… without being mercilessly condemned by the world’s masses, by anyone with a social conscience, without being shunned like a leper? Without American leaders being brought before international tribunals, charged with crimes against humanity? (p. 243)
Sheer romantic mystique, and a gargantuan propaganda machine are Blum’s explanation.
Another reason from a different context is supplied by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in No Future Without Forgiveness:
The former apartheid cabinet member Leon Wessels was closer to the mark when he said that they had not wanted to know, for there were those who tried to alert them (p. 269).
And there is Jesus (Matthew 23:29 – 31):
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets.
I did not hear back from the friend who sent me the Maclean’s magazine article, after I pointed him to some of the above material–in juxtaposition to concerns about China. We in the West have copious quantities of blood on our hands. Many prophets have tried to alert us. Jesus without question above all declares “Woe to you Canadians and Americans, you Western hypocrites . . .“
Jesus and the Prophets say repeatedly (Matthew 11:15):
Whoever has ears, let them hear.
A new collection of maps found here displays what militarism looks like in the world. Here’s a brief guide to using and understanding them.
Across the top are 10 drop-down menus on these topics: Wars, Weapons, U.S. Weapons, Money, Nukes, Chemical and Biological, U.S. Military, Air Strikes, Law, and Promotes Peace and Security.
Some of the topics only include one map, others multiple maps. The one with the most has eight maps. When you click on the name of a map in a drop-down menu, you’ll see that map displayed. If the map contains data for multiple years, you can see previous years by changing the date at the bottom. You can even make it scroll forward through the years like a short video. You can select a particular country from a list or on the map. You can zoom in or out. You can click on the color key to display only the countries in a particular range of data (such as those with the highest spending on wars or suffering the highest number of air strikes). You can print any map or get a direct link to any map set to any date and other settings.
Each map has a year as part of its name. While the maps have all just been updated for 2020, the latest available data for some of them is from 2019 or an earlier year. The dates on the maps correspond to the years the data is from. None of the maps reflect any changes already brought about by or predicted or hoped for as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s a bit of information about each topic that has been mapped . . .
- Wars . . .
- Weapons . . .
- Money . . .
- Nukes . . .
- Chemical and Biological . . .
- U. S. Military . . .
- Air Strikes . . .
- Law . . .
- Promotes Peace and Security . . .
The third map displays data gathered by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen on U.S. drone “strikes.” Unlike all the other maps, this data is cumulative. That is to say, the figure of 13,072 drone strikes on Afghanistan for 2020 is the total number over the past several years. But, notice that the total by 2019 was 5,888. This means that drone strikes on Afghanistan in the past year have exceeded those of all previous years combined. We also see a major increase in Somalia. In contrast, since the number for Pakistan is unchanged from 2019 to 2020, there have been no drone strikes recorded there in the past year. The reason the data for this map does not come from the U.S. government which surely knows it, is that the U.S. government does not provide such data to the public; this data has to be obtained by journalists working in the nations where people are being blown up.
Weapons Exported as Percentage. This map shows what percentage of total global weapons exports was exported by each country. The United States was 78.5%. No other nation even reached 5%.
Weapons Exported to Least Democratic Countries as Percentage. The United States accounts for 66%, the UK 11%, Russia 11%, China 9%, Germany 2%.
Almost all oppressive governments have the support of the U.S. government.
Spending in Millions of 2018 U.S. Dollars. This map shows the millions of dollars spent by each nation on militarism in each year. The data is all in constant 2018 dollars and exchange rates. The data all comes from SIPRI, which provides data up through 2019, whereas the U.S. State Department provides similar data only up through 2017. To compare that State Department data go here. The $718,689,000,000 figure for 2019 U.S. military spending that SIPRI provides falls far short of the $1,250,000,000,000 that the U.S. government is actually spending on militarism when all agencies and departments are included, yet the maps still show a striking contrast between U.S. spending and that by all other nations. One explanation for why the U.S. government seems so incapable of addressing the coronavirus threat while generally being credited with very professionally holding off the Russian, Iranian, Chinese, and North Korean menaces may be that the latter are imaginary. Russian military spending, which went down two of the past three years, is 8.9% of U.S. military spending. Iranian is at 1.3%. China is at 37%. Data is unavailable on North Korea, but its spending is a small fraction of that by the U.S. Meanwhile, Venezuela, as of 2017 (the most recent year with data), was at 0.001% of U.S. spending that year. As SIPRI has noted, global military spending increased significantly in 2019. Thus far in 2020 that trend seems to be continuing. Military spending by NATO members, led by Germany with the largest increase, has been up in recent years, following public badgering by U.S. President Donald Trump to spend more.
Instead of planning for nuclear disarmament, the nuclear-armed states appear to plan to retain large arsenals for the indefinite future, are adding new nuclear weapons, and are increasing the role that such weapons play in their national strategies.”
Please click on: Mapping Militarism 2020