Militarism the winner in Biden’s budget

Jun 2, 2021

The Biden budget of $6 trillion dollars is being sold as a turn to liberal reform, but the media has largely neglected one significant fact. The budget allows for $1.52 trillion that is ‘discretionary’ spending. Half of that figure will be devoted to the military. It is a record figure. The US has an economy to restore and a pandemic to fight, but the bottomless pit of military spending just continues to rise.

At the same time as budget allocations were being discussed, the president launched an intense propaganda campaign, resurrecting the debunked story that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese laboratory. The two stories, of military build-up and a campaign of misinformation and falsification, can only sound alarm bells. China, we must always remember is the enemy and has committed an inexcusable crime. It has risen as an economic power to not only rival the USA but to become a global economic hegemon.

The report from the WHO counts for nothing in the eyes of the US administration and their allies. It comes after lurid accounts of Uyghur genocide and has a disturbing echo of President Bush and the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ lie that led to war against Iraq. Wars are so often built on lies. There are also some absolute truths to consider.  Among these truths is the Pentagon’s ‘shopping list’ that is to be funded from the Biden budget. It includes: long range strike bombers, ballistic missile submarines, more Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, a new aircraft carrier, and the list goes on and on. Some of the big-ticket spending includes $24.7 billion for an upgrade of American nuclear weaponry, a substantial expansion of air and nuclear-capable naval force, and $112 billion for ‘research and development.’

All of this is for a reason. Military provocations against China are not uncommon. Obama had his ‘pivot to Asia’ but Biden is taking things further. He has seriously undermined the long-standing ‘One-China’ policy regarding Taiwan. His ‘Pacific Deterrence Initiative’ that is placing a range of missiles on the territories of Japan, South Korea and importantly, Taiwan, is set to get $5.4 billion in his budget. China not surprisingly has stated that this can only be regarded as an act of war.

If the Chinese needed any persuasion as to the intent of Washington, the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, were quick to set them and the world straight. The two were speaking before the House Appropriations Committee. They felt no need to dissemble. Austin first reminded his audience of America’s military dominance before stating that “we must maintain and improve this advantage on land, at sea, in the air, and in emerging domains, including space and cyberspace. I am confident that the President’s budget request helps us do that. The request is driven by our recognition that our competitors—especially China—continue to advance their capabilities.”

He outlined the ‘regional challenges’ as the US perceives them. They include China, the Indo-Pacific region, North Korea, Iran, Russia and of the need to counter China’s potential influence in Latin America. The challenges apparently reach to the Arctic and into space. Such a worldview hardly engenders anything like a feeling of optimism for the future. However, despite having to potentially engage with or against everyone on the planet, his co-speaker, Mark Milley brought the audience back to what is the real and pressing concern for the USA.

While America engages in war-games, sets up missile installations on Taiwan and shifts its fleet to the South China Sea, Milley, without a blush, accused China of challenging the peaceful status quo in the region and that China must be countered and countered quickly. In words that were meant to be threatening he declared that “the operating environment of the future will likely not afford us the luxury of time to project force, so having modernized forces in sufficient size and readiness will be the key to sustaining deterrence and maintaining the peace, and if deterrence fails then fight and win … many enemies have grossly underestimated the United States and the American people in the past. They’ve underestimated our national resolve. They’ve underestimated our capability, our skill and our combat power, and each made a fatal choice which ended with their enrolment in the dustbin of history.”

China’s military build-up is real. Its power is real. Its capacity to defend itself is real, and so is its fear that it is under direct threat from the United States. The USA and its allies consistently point the finger at the threat that a rising China poses and, after all, a lie, told well enough and repeated often enough gains a certain traction. It is a simple matter to see where China’s army, navy and air-force are stationed. It has no missile barrages in Mexico that target Texas. Northern American cities are safe from missile strikes from Chinese forces in Canada and yet US missiles are just minutes flying time to major population centres in China. This might be logical. This might be the truth, but wars are seldom prepared on the basis of truth.

Biden’s budget might be hailed as a big-spending budget to promote growth and to support the poor, but nobody worries about the exorbitant rise in military spending that is part of that budget and steals from the poor. Biden can, with nary a blink of the eye engage in the deceit that COVID-19 was the result of work done in a Wuhan laboratory. The WHO might inspect Wuhan and find nothing untoward. It will count for nothing, but then, who was concerned that Hans Blix could not find weapons of mass destruction. Truth counts for nothing when enemies have already been lined up.

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