Sat | Mar 17, 2018

Mark Wignall | Feeding the ravenous beast

Published:Thursday | April 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM

In America electing as its president a man with nothing solid as his core beliefs but with a fascination with stoking violence, the measure of the man is now beginning to tilt the globe more towards conflict and less towards using diplomacy to avoid another great war.

His recent strike on the Syrian regime by launching 59 cruise missiles at an air base from which it was said Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad had planes loaded with nerve gas to drop on his own people, including women and children, has given him some respite from the Russia probe and it has also given him a five percentage point uptick in his popularity. Dangerous!

Trump's statements about what motivated him to act deep concern for seeing children suffering and dying rings hollow because the world knows where he stands on immigrants from that country. He abhors them. He is on record in saying that families of terrorists (including children) should be killed.

What the world should focus on is President Trump's cabinet and its top-heavy military personnel and a complement of socially disconnected billionaires. It was always on the cards that Trump would go beyond sabre rattling and open up new theatres of war based on the hawks in his cabinet.

It is not only that Trump will want to up the ante on moving the doomsday clock to just one minute to midnight, the military men in his cabinet fully know what their real roles are. To supply the fuel in support of the military industrial complex.

The great World War II general and US president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had seen life from both ends. From the hell of war to the fog hiding political realities. One essential part of his presidential farewell address said, " ... we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together".

Eisenhower was never making out a case against having a fully equipped army. Instead, he was pointing out the potential of the military industrial complex to drive public policy and keep the state in perpetual war, contained or global in scope.


How long will it last?


With a naval strike group including an aircraft carrier and destroyers headed to the Korean Peninsula with heated rhetoric on the rogue regime in North Korea being spouted from both the president and Secretary of State Tillerson, one is left to wonder how long will that knife-edge diplomacy last.

What will the crazy man leading North Korea think while the crazy man in the White House, having just launched 59 cruise missiles against a sovereign state, is sending a strike force his way? Will he think that Trump, and Tillerson, a Secretary of State who is as hawkish as the men in the Pentagon, are inviting him for a party at Mar-a-Lago?

The five-year civil war in Syria is being seen as one of the most ruinous human disasters of the 21st Century. Companies like General Dynamics, which produces the Tomahawk cruise missiles know that the shelf life of their products is only as good as the use of them in the field to create destruction and to take life.

Politicians who are tempted to add to the bottom lines of companies like Lockheed Martin, the world's number-one manufac-turer of arms (jet fighters, rocket launchers, Trident-based missiles, etc.), satisfy their dumb constit-uents by wading only in asymme-trical warfare where 'the enemy' feels most of the destructive heat of warfare and US forces operate mostly in remote positions globally.

The Trump White House has no sane voice of diplomacy which could bring some reassurance to the global community. We are told that Ivanka made her dad launch cruise missiles on Syria. Hogwash!

Instead, it was the beast that needed its fix.