no third solution

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What is the True Cost of American Empire?

June 30th, 2010

On military expenditures, the U.S. spends nearly as much as the rest of the world, combined. Why? A common refrain alludes that the world is a dangerous, asking , “We need someone (the military) to protect us from them!” But as I’ve previously written:

America’s chief export is war — and practically all of the countries that “hate us” are running a massive trade deficit in that department.

the death starWithout the state using our tax dollars, our sweat, blood and labor, to finance the military-industrial complex and to push capitalist-imperialism all over the globe, how many enemies do you think “we” would really have?

At the end of the day we are talking about a system the sole purpose of which is to make the rest of the world “safe for American interests”. And make no mistake about this: you are emphatically not one of the “American interests” which the military-industrial complex has any interest in safeguarding. You and your family are merely collaterally “safe”, which is more attributable to geography than to military spending.

“American interests” in this context means almost exclusively multinational corporations and their shareholders, who grease the wheels of politics around the world in order to look out for their own interests.  Aside from full-scale invasions (like an un-winnable war with neither objective nor identifiable enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan) or exporting prohibition (another un-winnable war) to lands near and far (like Mexico and Afghanistan), the Empire has other means at its disposal:

  • Flooding lesser-developed countries with “capital investments” in the form of loans from the IMF/World Bank which are then used to finance large-scale construction/infrastructure projects in what amounts to a kickback scheme writ large (contracted out to “American interests” like your pals at Halliburton, etc., of course), resulting in unsustainable debt-burdens which are eventually leveraged for political favors and further exploitation of the native people, lands, and resources.  Just look at the track-record of countries on the receiving-end of the IMF butt-ram stick: “Any list of countries ‘helped’ by IMF programs reads like a casualty list.”
  • Financing coups or paramilitary hit-squads in order to assassinate political leaders who are not willing to suck American c*ck, and then hand-picking the new “leaders” (those willing to sell out their constituency) for the puppet governments of those banana republics. The people of Ecuador or of Nigeria, doubtless, would never have agreed to the programs which now destroy their ecosystems and livelihoods while simultaneously siphoning all that lucrative crude straight in to the pocketbooks of BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, etc.

    “The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years”

  • Or as in Afghanistan, where the mainstream media has reported that there are an estimated $1 Trillion worth of valuable minerals under the country’s soil. Under the terms of the mineral rights belong to the puppet government put in place by the U.S., they do not belong to the people of Afghanistan or their provincial/municipal governments. The history of occupied nations lends credence to Justin Raimondo’s theory, that the Afghan government will probably sell these minerals, or lease the rights thereto, to U.S. corporations at a fraction of their fair-market prices. That’s why the U.S. can’t abandon Afghanistan: there is too much money buried beneath the soil, and the people who want that money have sufficient sway in American politics and foreign policy.

The price tag for imperialism is over half a trillion dollars a year — not so much less than last year’s Bank Bailout, which was rejected by a near unanimity of the public-at-large. The military-industrial complex spends that much money every year, and nobody bats an eye.

This enormous sum only pays for the explicit military costs of imperialism, the true costs of American empire, which would reckon the costs in human live (yes, brown people in Nigeria and Mexico count, too) and destruction of the environment, the fomenting of terrorist factions which “hate us”, and the productivity gains which we could’ve realized had that military budget been reduced or eliminated (anyone else in favor of a 20-hour work week?), etc., are several orders of magnitude greater.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics