US stoking fears for public to support "the next wild burgeoning arms race
in the Pacific."
At a news briefing at the Pentagon today, President Obama revealed today
his strategy for a new defense strategy.
“This ‘slimmed down’ plan continues
the trend to rely increasingly on fighting the two wars with technology
(drones) and ‘precision’ strategic bombing," stated Beau Grosscup,
professor of international relations at California State University in
In the preamble to the new
Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,
As we end today's wars and reshape our Armed Forces, we will ensure
that our miltary is agile, flexible, and ready for the full range of
contingencies. In particular, we will continue to invest in the
capabilities critical to future success, including intelligence,
surveillance, and reconnaissance; counterterrorism; countering weapons
of mass destruction; operating in anti-access environments; and
prevailing in all domains, including cyber.
While media has focused on fiscal tightening creating defense budget
cuts, some experts question whether austerity measures have really hit the
Catherine Lutz, chair of the department of anthropology at Brown
[T]he new proposal for Department of Defense base budget reductions
over the next five years represents only a 4 percent decline in real, or
inflation-adjusted, terms, according to the Project on Defense
Alternatives. And the Pentagon’s budget will remain far larger than it
was ten years ago. On top of this, all of these calculations exclude, as
they should not, billions in funding for the current wars.
The new defense plan also calls for an increased presence in
Asia/Pacific region. From the plan:
U.S. economic and security interests are inextricably linked to
developments in the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia
into the Indian Ocean region and South Asia, creating a mix of evolving
challenges and opportunities. Accordingly, while the U.S. military will
continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity
rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.
Alice Slater, the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
and member of the coordinating committee of Abolition 2000, a disarmament
coalition, stated today:
On a recent trip to Australia, Obama opened a new military base there
that will grow to 2,500 troops and promised that ‘we will allocate the
resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this
region.’ A Pentagon report warned Congress that China was increasing its
naval power and investing in high-tech weaponry to extend its reach in
the Pacific and beyond. What did we expect? And now having provoked
China to beef up its military assets the warmongers in the U.S. can
frighten the public into supporting the next wild burgeoning arms race
in the Pacific and what appears to be the threat of endless war.
The strategy outlined also entails an increase in the use of drones.
“This ‘slimmed down’ plan continues the trend to rely increasingly on
fighting the two wars with technology (drones) and ‘precision’ strategic
bombing," stated Beau Grosscup, professor of international relations at
California State University in Chico.
Slater also stated:
It seems that we are moving to a more mechanized war-fighting posture
cutting out military forces below the previously planned cuts from
570,000 to 520,000 to an Army of 490,000 troops. However we will be
increasing our reliance on drone attacks, that have now been used by
Obama in several countries — Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya,
Somalia, and Yemen.
Daryl G. Kimball and Tom Z. Collina writing for the Arms Control
note that the strategy says nothing about the U.S. nuclear weapons
arsenal. They write:
Panetta said that the plan will maintain a “safe and effective
nuclear deterrent,” but did not explain how many nuclear weapons will be
required for deterrence or how much we can afford to keep spending to
maintain and modernize that force.
However, the strategy document “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership:
Priorities for 21st Century Defense” clearly says that “It is possible
that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force,
which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as
well as their role in U.S. national security strategy.”