The Cost of Empire

With all these generals being called out of retirement to serve as Donald Trump’s “civilian” advisers, whether it’s General James “Mad Dog” Mattis as Secretary of Defense or General Mike Flynn (the real mad dog) as National Security Adviser, it’s difficult to envision the American empire being shrunk anytime soon. The U.S. military is overcommitted around the world, attenuating its strength even as the American taxpayer foots the bill to the tune of over $600 billion a year, not including nuclear weapons, veterans affairs, interest on the national debt related to war and defense spending, and so on.

With its endless wars and global adventurism, the U.S. is slowly bankrupting itself even as President-elect Trump promises higher military spending and more toughness abroad. Imperial over-commitment, for the historically-minded, recalls the fate of the Roman empire. Many moons ago, the classicist Steven Willett wrote the following words to me, words that America’s militarists and imperialists would be wise to read – and heed:

My personal concern is the misallocation of our resources in futile wars and global military hegemony. We are acting under the false belief that the military can and should be used as a foreign policy tool. The end of US militarism is bankruptcy. I agree with [Andrew] Bacevich’s recommendation that the US cut military spending 6% a year for 10 years. The result would be a robust defensive military with more freed-up resources for infrastructure, education, research and alternative energy. Our so-called defense budget is a massive example of what economists call an opportunity cost.

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Ron Paul on Trump’s Taiwan Call – What’s The Motive?

The telephone call between president-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen created quite a buzz over the weekend. It appears that it was not a spontaneous mutual congratulations call, as first reported, but rather a project long in the works among Trump’s more China-hawkish advisors. If the message to China over the unprecedented telephone call was not clear, Trump’s Tweetstorm afterward left little for the imagination. The incoming administration appears to intend to confront China. How strongly? To what end? To whose benefit? We discuss in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump

The CODEPINK Tribunal taking place December 1 and 2, and live streamed by The Real News, is a historic collection of testimonies about the lies and costs of the Iraq war. It takes on new meaning with the incoming Trump administration, and the hawks who are flocking to join that administration with their sights set on starting yet another war in the Middle East, this time in Iran.

My testimony started with the first CODEPINK action against the war that took place in Congress. It was September 18, 2002, the day Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld testified before the House Armed Services Committee about why the US military should invade Iraq. He accused Saddam Hussein of having and hiding weapons of mass destruction, raised the specter of an Iraqi-initiated September 11-style attack and told the Committee that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a global threat.

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Senate Extends Idiotic Iran Sanctions by 99-0 Vote!

Forget that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) agreed between Iran and the so-called P5+1 consisting of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and the European Union has by all accounts been one of the few real foreign policy successes in the eight years of an otherwise war-dominated the Obama Administration. Forget that the promise of normalizing trade relations with Iran would produce untold wealth – and jobs – for both the US and Iran. Forget that the Europeans are flocking in droves to resume lucrative trade with Iran, despite president-elect Trump’s inexplicable Iranophobia. Forget that as the “Germany of the Middle East,” Iran brings to the table “80 million people, an educated workforce, and a proud tradition of manufacturing”and a potential economic bonanza for its partners.

Nope. The US Senate is proof that habitually ingesting mainstream media “fake news” is extremely harmful for your mental health.

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Tell the Washington Post: ‘Smearing is not reporting.’

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To: Martin Baron, Executive Editor, The Washington Post

Smearing is not reporting. The Washington Post’s recent descent into McCarthyism – promoting anonymous and shoddy claims that a vast range of some 200 websites are all accomplices or tools of the Russian government – violates basic journalistic standards and does real harm to democratic discourse in our country. We urge The Washington Post to prominently retract the article and apologize for publishing it.

Background:

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Ron Paul on the Coming Fall Of Aleppo: Victory For Whom?

Over the past week, the Syrian military has re-taken more than 40 percent of the territory in east Aleppo that had for several years been controlled by the rebels. Most believe that this last large population center not controlled by the government will soon return to government control. After this, the nearly six year insurgency would likely soon be completely defeated. Meanwhile Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly desperately attempting to make an agreement with the Russian government to halt the Syrian army advance into rebel-held east Aleppo. The Obama Administration fears a new US policy toward Syria would be launched by the incoming Trump Administration and is eager to preserve a flicker of the regime-change project in Syria. What happens next? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.