On Wednesday 10 May, Republican Study Committee (RSC) chairman Mike Johnson and RSC National Security & Foreign Affairs Task Force chairman Joe Wilson released the “RSC National Security Strategy: Strengthening America & Countering Global Threats.” The document advocates further escalation of the geopolitical and military provocations and threats against China, Russia and Iran in particular, and ‘doubling down’ on the US’ frenzied military spending spree. The following day, a key bipartisan Senate committee demonstrated that it is a bipartisan affair.
On Thursday 11 May, the Senate Armed Services Committee authorized massive spending programs to purchase 95 F-35s and establish a new ‘hub’ (presumably Senate-speak for a massive new military base, or expansion of an existing base) somewhere in the Indo-Pacific region.
The announcement came just a day after the Republican Study Committee (RSC) published a new National Security Strategy. The document calls for measures that would push the US’ already record military spending even higher as the document denounces and threatens the US ruling class’s favourite villains – ‘Communist China: A new strategy for countering America’s top threat’, ‘Russia: Rolling back aggression through a strategy of deterrence’, and Iran, ‘Advancing American interest in the Middle East: Confronting Iran and the jihadi terrorist movement’.
It would also continue to deepen the already historic levels of inequality and militarization within the US as the people are squeezed to pay for the ruling classes’ extravagant military adventures.
The introduction proclaims:
Today, our constitutional government, our American way of life, and the U.S.-led world order based on freedom face a variety of growing threats from abroad. Our nation’s two political parties are offering very different ideas for how we tackle those threats.
For eight years, President Obama’s failed policies allowed our greatest adversaries to grow stronger while weakening America’s position as the world’s preeminent power. During this time, Communist China and Russia went completely unchecked, Iran was gifted a plane full of cash, jihadist groups such as ISIS were casually dismissed as the “JV squad,” key allies were offended, foreign aid and United Nations dues failed to advance U.S. interests, and America behaved sheepishly on the world stage.
In contrast, since taking office, President Donald Trump has restored bold American leadership and credibility by advancing an “America First” national security and foreign policy agenda. This approach seeks to advance American global interests above all else and restore confidence in America’s purpose. It recognizes the United States is the best force for good in the world and that our strength creates more freedom, prosperity, and potential for people everywhere. The idea of “American Exceptionalism” shines bright again. As a result, America is standing up to Communist China for the first time in decades, Russia has been exposed as a national security threat, Iran’s sweetheart nuclear deal has been replaced with a maximum pressure campaign, and we have decimated traditional ISIS strongholds. Additionally, international governing bodies and recipients of U.S. foreign aid have been put on notice that American support comes with “America First” conditions. And importantly, President Trump has stood by our most important ally in Israel, even taking the long overdue, extraordinary step of moving our embassy to Jerusalem.
Congressional Democrats have fought this commonsense “America First” strategy at every turn. They have repeatedly questioned the president’s aggressive posture against Communist China, even defending China’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Despite supporting President Obama’s weak posture on Russia, they now claim to be “Russia hawks” even though there is ample evidence to the contrary. They were outraged when President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and even more upset when he took down terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani in defense of American lives. Instead of celebrating our embassy’s move to Jerusalem, Congressional Democrats expressed silence or open disdain. They continue to support the same failed foreign policies that undermined American credibility, damaged our alliances, and emboldened tyrants and terrorists…
The strategy would increase polarization and hostility and result in two implacably opposed camps – the US, NATO and their allies, and Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela and their allies. Apart from hurling the world into another extremely expensive and destructive arms race – which would probably be enough to finish off many of the planet’s already heavily polluted and damaged ecosystems in itself, even if the weapons are never used in anger or through a misunderstanding – the world would return to (or remain in) a state of maximum alert and tension.
The extremely reckless and dangerous military showdowns between air and naval forces in particular would become even more common, risking the outbreak of armed hostilities that could very easily escalate to unprecedented proportions within a matter of minutes (such as the US ‘freedom of navigation’ navy patrols and manoeuvres around China LINK, and maritime and air force confrontations with Russia over the Black Sea LINK). It must be emphasized that these provocations and confrontations all occur just outside Russia’s, China’s and Iran’s borders, many thousands of kilometres from the US. It is indisputable who the aggressor is in each instance.
There would be no room for a ‘non-aligned movement’, the unilateral and illegal economic sanctions and blockades imposed by the US would force all countries to actively support the US & co. policies and actions or face severe punitive measures. All (legal) trade and investment between the two blocs would cease as all investments of targeted countries in the US and European Union/ NATO are at risk of being held hostage and confiscated at will (as has already occurred with Venezuela, Iran and Libya in particular).
The strategy would shred what little is left of international law, stability and security. It is inconceivable that China, Russia or Iran will submit to US ‘full spectrum dominance’, and the few international arm’s control treaties and agreements that are left would become meaningless.
Moreover, the document glorifies the cowardly and criminal murder of Iran’s military commander Qassem Soleimani, failing to mention that it was followed by probably the US’ greatest military defeat and humiliation ever, or at least since the war against Vietnam (or maybe Afghanistan), as US troops in Iraq cowered in their fortified bunkers waiting for the reprisal attack against the US most powerful base in Iraq, an attack which was announced in advance and to which the US had no response.
The Republican ‘national security strategy’ claims that its policies and objectives are distinct from those of the Democrats. The reality, that US ‘wars of choice’, provoking a new cold war with Russia and China and the associated hyper-militarization of the United States and the world are a bipartisan affair, was revealed the next day, as the Senate Armed Services Committee announced that it wants to spend nearly $7 billion over two years to launch an aggressive new military effort aimed at deterring China and reinforcing U.S. military installations in the Pacific region. It’s also calling for strategic deployments of additional weapons and platforms “to keep China and other threats, including Russia, at bay”.
The Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill produced annually to set policy and financing for the Department of Defense, also includes a total of $9.1 billion to buy 95 more F-35s made by Lockheed Martin – 14 more than the White House asked for in its budget request.
The Pacific Deterrence Initiative, approved as part of the Senate version of the 2021 defence budget and policy bill, includes $1.4 billion for next year and plans $5.5 billion for fiscal 2022 to augment missile defence, fund new efforts in support of regional allies, and forward-posture more troops in the region.
“The best way to protect U.S. security and prosperity in Asia is to maintain a credible balance of military power but, after years of underfunding, America’s ability to do so is at risk,” a summary of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, released by the Senate Armed Services Committee, reads.
The Senate-approved NDAA “encourages” the Air Force to establish a new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter operating location in the Indo-Pacific region “quickly to posture ready forces in our priority arena,” the bill summary states.
In April, Pacific Air Forces took delivery of its first two F-35s, stationed at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The base is set to have 54 of the aircraft by December 2021. The Senate’s version of the NDAA includes a total of $9.1 billion to buy more of the stealthy fifth-generation fighters.
Elements of the Pacific Deterrence Initiative also include improving active and passive missile-defence systems for bases and operating locations in the region; building up the military’s system of prepositioned stockpiles, including vehicles, weapons and fuel; and starting to transition the military’s operating model in the Pacific from large and difficult-to-defend bases to “dispersed, resilient, and adaptive basing.”
The PDI would follow the European Deterrence Initiative, launched in 2014 in response to the Russian annexation of Crimea. The EDI, initially known as the European Reassurance Initiative, allowed the U.S. to deploy more troops to Europe for exercises and presence missions to reassure allies.
The Senate’s NDAA would also require the secretary of the Army to draft and present a plan to station or deploy its two batteries of interim cruise missile defence capability into operational theatres. This refers to the Israeli-made Iron Dome weapons system, purchased by the Army in 2019 to fill an ‘urgent capability gap’. The service is set to take delivery of the first of two Iron Dome batteries in December.
In addition, it would require the chief of naval operations and the head of U.S. European Command to collaborate on a “detailed plan” to base two additional guided-missile destroyers in Rota, Spain, a hub that has been used for quick-response missions to Africa and the surrounding region.
The Senate bill, which totals $740.5 billion, must still be reconciled with a House version. The House Armed Services Committee plans to mark up its version of the bill later this month. LINK
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