Perpetual War and the Military Industrial Complex
Perpetual war refers to a lasting state of war with no clear ending conditions. It also describes a situation of ongoing tension that seems likely to escalate at any moment, similar to the Cold War or it’s successor The War on Terror. It has over the past sixty plus years formed the basis of America’s crony capitalism and corporate welfare.
The Cold War, began with the Truman Doctrine in 1947 and ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Cold War refers to a polarized state of hostility between economically capitalist allied nations and economically communist nations. The phrase also generically denotes a polarized condition where nations are not actively fighting one another, but are fighting each other through client states, economic policies, and are prepared to engage one another with maximum force at any moment. The cold war emphasized a theory of Balance of power in international relations and, due to the possession of thousands of nuclear weapons by each belligerent, used the doctrine Mutual assured destruction. During proxy wars, the major powers provided aid and support to their respective client state. Soviet rhetoric called these “wars of national liberation” and allied rhetoric called these “Anti-communism” or “Freedom Fighter” wars. When the major powers became directly involved, as the U.S. did in the war in Vietnam, or the Soviet Union did in the Afghanistan, the results were a disaster for the major power due to diminished economic opportunity cost, combat readiness, military morale, and public morale. In these wars both sides found themselves in a long protracted Guerrilla War, in which the native fighters were in their own home environment, and knew the area, and could easily defend the area against any incursion alongside bands of local community supporters. Guerrilla Wars are notoriously hard to win, and leads to the defeat of the attacker, who are eventually forced to withdraw (examples are the Vietnam War, Afghanistan, and the American War of Independence.
Some analysts, such as Noam Chomsky, states that a state of perpetual war is an aid to and is promoted by the powerful members of dominant political and economic classes, helping maintain their positions of economic and political superiority. Living under a state of perpetual war becomes progressively easier in a modern democratic republic, such as the United States, due to the development of a cozy relationship network between people who wield political and economic power also owning capital in companies that financially profit from war, lobby for war, and influence public opinion of war through influence of the media. A relationship between congress, the wealthy and the defense department promulgate the perpetual war state. The relationship of networking between people wielding such power is known as the military–industrial complex and was briefly described by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 17, 1961.
The idea that military action can be seen as a form of market-creation goes back at least as far as speeches beginning in 1930 prior to the publication of War Is a Racket in 1935. The economic make-up of the 5th century BC Athens-led Delian League also bears resemblance to the economic ramifications of preparing for Perpetual war. Aspects of any given empire, such as the British Empire and its relation to its domestic businesses that were owned by a wealthy minority of individuals, such as the East India Company, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and De Beers, manifest an observed relationship between a minority of individuals influencing Empire or State policy, such as the Child’s War in India, the Anglo-French conflicts on Hudson Bay in Canada, and the Second Boer War in South Africa. These conflicts follow a pattern where the Empire allocates resources following and sustaining policies that financially profit the Empire’s domestic business’s owners. With the dawning of perpetual war, communities have begun to construct War Memorials with names of the dead while the wars are ongoing. The best memorial to War veterans might in fact be a Peace memorial although there would be no profit in it.
Historian, Alexis de Tocqueville, made predictions in 1840 concerning Perpetual war in democratic countries. In his book Democracy in America is asserts:
“No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country. Not indeed that after every victory it is to be apprehended that the victorious generals will possess themselves by force of the supreme power, after the manner of Sulla and Caesar; the danger is of another kind. War does not always give over democratic communities to military government, but it must invariably and immeasurably increase the powers of civil government; it must almost compulsorily concentrate the direction of all men and the management of all things in the hands of the administration. If it does not lead to despotism by sudden violence, it prepares men for it more gently by their habits. All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and the shortest means to accomplish it. This is the first axiom of the science.”
The only way we can overcome peace and its negative economic impact on America’s Military Industrial Complex as well as its negative political impact on the wealthy who profit from this kind of tyranny, is to make certain that our world is in perpetual chaos and through the perpetration of Perpetual War.