Soon after Barack Obama’s election, U.S. rulers spelled out his most pressing new task: preparing for widening wars in an intensifying imperialist rivalry. Public notice came through a November 16th New York Times editorial entitled, “A Military for a Dangerous New World.” Putting economic crises on the back burner, the Times demanded, “the Obama administration will have to rebuild and significantly reshape the military.”
Times editors identified near- and long-term enemies of U.S. imperialism requiring varying levels of mobilization: “The United States and its NATO allies must be able to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan — and keep pursuing Al Qaeda forces around the world. Pentagon planners must weigh the potential threats posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions, an erratic North Korea, a rising China, an assertive Russia and a raft of unstable countries like Somalia and nuclear-armed Pakistan.”
The editorial, triple the usual length, bore the marks of a significant policy declaration. The leading members of the Times editorial board belong to the Council on Foreign Relations ((CFR), U.S. imperialism’s most influential think-tank.
U.S. RULERS COUNT ON OBAMA TO EXPAND ARMY AND NAVY
The Times’s specific recommendations to Obama focus on waging wars to seize and occupy territory, like oil-rich Iraq, while avoiding Bush & Co.’s on-the-cheap errors (Rumsfeld’s “hi-tech,” small mobile force, “shock-and-awe” bombardment). First is “more ground troops.” The rulers’ “newspaper of record” endorses Obama’s campaign call for 92,000 additional soldiers and marines to total “759,000 active-duty ground troops.” It also notes that the U.S. had 200,000 more foot soldiers than “at the end of the Cold War.”
The rulers’ plan implies that Obama, especially with his appeal to so-called “minorities” — who began abandoning the military under Bush — can boost troop strength significantly before resorting to a draft. However, his appeal includes white youth as well. A big part of his “National Service” program includes youth in general, considering ROTC a “service organization,” returning it to the Ivy League colleges, as well as using “National Service” as an umbrella to re-build the entire military — officers, non-commissioned officers and GI’s.
The Times says Obama’s enhanced forces can multiply U.S. might by creating U.S.-led colonial armies in conquered lands. “The military also must field more specialized units, including more trainers to help friendly countries develop their own armies to supplement or replace American troops in conflict zones.”
The rulers, speaking through the Times, also want Obama to ensure that the U.S. war machine can invade wherever it pleases: “The country must ensure its ability — so-called lift capacity — to [transport] enormous quantities of men and material quickly around the world and to supply them when necessary by sea.” In addition to building more fast cargo ships, “the Pentagon needs to spend more on capable, smaller coastal warcraft” says the Times manifesto.
But it also warns that the U.S. should not abandon its lethal carrier groups, which may come in handy against China some day. “China is expanding its deep-water navy, much to the anxiety of many of its neighbors. The United States should not try to block China’s re-emergence as a great power. Neither can it cede the seas. Nor can it allow any country to interfere with vital maritime lanes.”
WARMAKING RULERS ALWAYS EMPLOY BIG LIE
The editorial mentions the rulers’ need to portray their deadly imperialist adventures as “righteous causes.” It calls “the fight in Afghanistan, the war on terror’s front line,” when the war, in fact, represents U.S. imperialists’ efforts to check their Russian rivals’ expansionism. The U.S. and Russian bosses are locked in a bitter, ever-sharpening struggle to control the vast oil and natural gas of the Caspian Sea region, their exploitation and the transport routes to market them.
Bush, Jr. bungled the Big Lie maneuver with his blatantly false “weapons-of-mass-destruction” pretext for invading Iraq. Bush, Sr. had played the Big Lie like a violin, marshalling world support against Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which the U.S. had, in fact, encouraged.
Bill Clinton also proved a master of the Big Lie. Vowing to stop “ethnic cleansing,” Clinton unleashed a bombing campaign — bigger than anything since World War II — on the former Yugoslavia. Here too, the real target was securing pipeline routes to transport Caspian Sea energy riches to the European market, by-passing Russia and erecting military bases to encircle Russia in preparation for global war.
Each of these “noble” U.S. efforts claimed over a million lives, mainly civilian.
The war agenda the Times outlines explains Obama’s bait-and-switch choice of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Deceitfully courting anti-war voters in the primaries, Obama had attacked Clinton’s 2002 Senate vote for invading Iraq. Firmly under the bosses’ control, president-elect Obama makes warmaker Hillary a major agent of U.S. foreign policy.
On the economy, Obama’s appointment of Timothy Geithner to Treasury Secretary signals that whatever the new administration does will favor U.S. imperialists over workers. Geithner is a protégé of the biggest U.S. war criminals. He has toiled for the profit system both at Kissinger Associates and the CFR.
Basically, the Times’ ruling-class plan is a warning to the international working class that U.S. rulers are hell-bent to maintain their military supremacy worldwide, to be in position to launch wars whenever and wherever they feel their “strategic interests” — mainly control of oil — are threatened. Their past adventures which killed millions will seem paltry compared to what’s in the works.
All the more reason for the working class to challenge these murderers, and build PLP into a mass communist party capable of winning millions of workers, soldiers and students to answer their bloodbath with revolution to destroy this hellish, war-producing profit system.