Socialist Worker

Full spectrum dominance

Issue No. 1789

'War fighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict.' That is what all this weaponry is for. The war against Afghanistan and the preparations to attack Iraq are part of the US's drive for global dominance.

It wants to be able to bestride the globe, and space, without hindrance. It wants a world where everything is subordinated to US interests, and where multinational companies can plunder the globe at will. It is striving for what it calls 'full spectrum dominance'. This vision was summed up in 1998, long before 11 September, in a US government report called The Long Range Plan. It called for building up US military power.

The US already uses the economic power of its multinationals and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund to exploit workers and the poor around the world.

Behind this system of economic might stands the threat of the US's colossal war machine. Some $8 billion of Bush's military budget has been earmarked for the 'Son of Star Wars' Ballistic Missile Defence system.

It aims to allow the US to intimidate the other countries with its nuclear weapons while neutralising any counter-threat. It brings back from the grave the nightmare of an attempted first nuclear strike. The arms drive is because US rulers fear revolt. The Long Range Plan worries that 'widespread communications will highlight disparities in resources and quality of life-contributing to unrest in the developing countries...

'The gap between 'have' and 'have-not' nations will widen, creating regional unrest.' Bush wants to use that threat of overwhelming military might to quell any future popular revolts or any 'rogue states' which challenge the US.


Ready for war in weeks

'THERE ARE 40 or 50 countries which harbour terrorists, and which could be targeted for diplomatic, financial or military action.'
US vice-president Dick Cheney

'AFGHANISTAN is part of a much wider effort. It will likely be sustained for years, not weeks or months. You take care of the Afghanistan situation and move on to other areas.'
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

'WE ARE going to turn the world into a pincushion.'
US intelligence source

'NORTH KOREA is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction while starving its citizens. Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hopes for freedom. Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror... States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.'
George W Bush, State of the Union speech, January 2002

'WHATEVER IT takes, whatever it costs, this patient, this resolved nation will win the first war of the 21st century.'
George W Bush, January 2002

'NOT ONE-OFF air strikes, but the destruction of states.'
US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz outlining the plans for war in September 2001

'I'D SAY almost everywhere one has seen progress. A lot of that progress is motivated by the sense of American seriousness and the fear of getting on the wrong side of us.'
Paul Wolfowitz, January 2002


Billions on destruction

US PRESIDENT George Bush is pushing through obscene increases in military spending to enable him to threaten war on any state that challenges US interests. His total military budget for next year will be an astronomical $396 billion (£246 billion).

That's a $48 billion jump in the huge amounts the US already spends on arms. It is the biggest rise in US military spending since the early years of Ronald Reagan's administration in the 1980s. It is a 14 percent hike on yearly average military spending during the Cold War.

It dwarfs the money spent on arms by other countries in the world. According to the Centre for Defence Information, it is:

More than six times the military budget of Russia, the second biggest spender in the world.

More than 26 times the combined spending of seven of the countries identified by the US as threats to peace-Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and Cuba.

More than the combined military spending of the next 25 countries.

If Bush gets his way, by 2007 US military spending will be £451 billion a year. Bush's military spending spree has nothing to do with fighting the 'war on terrorism', and everything to do with the US threatening to use its military might around the world.


Another world is possible

The $396 billion could be used to improve the lives of the millions of people around the world living in absolute poverty. It could save the 19,000 children who die every day from malnutrition and disease because of debt repayments to Western banks and governments. The United Nations Human Development Report estimates that just two months of the US's military spending would be enough for everyone in developing countries to have:

  • Basic health and nutrition.
  • Basic education.
  • Clean water and sanitation.
  • Access to reproductive care.

Just think what could be achieved if the whole year's military budget-six times as much-was spent to help people. According to the latest report from the Jubilee Debt Campaign, $46 billion a year would halve the number of people living in absolute poverty in the world's 42 most indebted countries.

That's less than the latest increase in US military spending. The US also spends far more on arms than it does on the health and education of its own citizens. It has the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Yet it claims to be protecting the world from 'evil' governments that spend on arms while their own people live in misery.


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Features
Sat 2 Mar 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1789
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