by Kevin Carson
January 13, 2012
The US Department of Defense recently
promulgated a new “defense” guidance document: “Sustaining
U.S. Global Leadership - Priorities for 21st Century Defense.”
I use scare quotes because it just doesn’t seem
quite right to use “defense” to describe a document that - like its
predecessors - envisions something like an American Thousand-Year Reich.
The greatest shift in emphasis is in the section “Project power despite
Anti-Access/Area Denial Challenges”:
Project Power Despite
Anti-Access/Area Denial Challenges
In order to credibly deter potential
adversaries and to prevent them from achieving their objectives, the
United States must maintain its ability to project power in areas in
which our access and freedom to operate are challenged.
In these areas, sophisticated
adversaries will use asymmetric capabilities, to include electronic
and cyber warfare, ballistic and cruise missiles, advanced air
defenses, mining, and other methods, to complicate our operational
States such as China and Iran will
continue to pursue asymmetric means to counter our power projection
capabilities, while the proliferation of sophisticated weapons and
technology will extend to non-state actors as well.
Accordingly, the U.S. military will
invest as required to ensure its ability to operate effectively in
anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) environments.
This will include implementing the Joint
Operational Access Concept, sustaining our undersea capabilities,
developing a new stealth bomber, improving missile defenses, and
continuing efforts to enhance the resiliency and effectiveness of
critical space-based capabilities.
The “threat” to be countered is that China and
“will continue to pursue asymmetric means to
counter our power projection capabilities.”
That refers to a long-standing phenomenon:
What Pentagon analysts call “Assassin’s
Mace” weapons - cheap, agile weapons that render expensive, high-tech,
weapons systems ineffective at a cost several orders of magnitude
cheaper than the Pentagon’s gold-plated turds.
In the context of “area denial,” they
include cheap anti-ship mines, surface-to-air missiles, and anti-ship
missiles like the Sunburn (which some believe could destroy or severely
damage aircraft carriers).
Thus the Pentagon defines as a “threat” a
country’s ability to defend itself effectively against attack or
to prevent an enemy from putting offensive forces into place to attack it.
Yes, you read that right:
To the American national security
establishment, it’s considered threatening when you prepare to defend
yourself against attack by the United States.
It’s the perspective of a Family Circus
“Mommy, he hit me back!”
That kind of double standard is pretty common in
the National Security State’s assessment of the world.
What can one say of a situation in which America runs a military budget
equal to the rest of the industrialized world put together, maintains
military bases in half the countries around the globe, routinely intervenes
to overthrow governments, rings China with military bases - then solemnly
announces that China’s military establishment is,
“far larger than called for by its
legitimate defensive needs?”
Considering that the U.S. considers its
“legitimate defensive needs” to encompass outspending the other top ten
military powers in the world combined and maintaining the ability to
preemptively attack any other country in the world, it’s hard to guess what
the Pentagon’s criterion is for determining China’s “legitimate defensive
But it’s safe to say “legitimate” defensive
forces don’t extend to the ability for China to defend its territory against
attack from the main actual threat facing it: A global superpower trying to
turn China’s neighborhood into a battlefield.
And how about attacking Saddam for “making war on his own neighbors” - when
the U.S. actively supported his invasion of Iran in the 1980s?
Not to mention the U.S. Marines waltzing in and
out of most of America’s Caribbean “neighbors” throughout the middle of the
20th century. Did they have “incubator babies” in Nicaragua and
Costa Rica back in the 1930s?
To Washington, any country capable of resisting American attack, or of
“defying” American commands (whether under a UN Security Council fig-leaf or
not) is by definition a “threat.”
And any country inflicting significant losses on
U.S. military forces, in the process of defending itself against American
military attack, is guilty of aggression (against U.S. attempts to “defend
our freedom,” one presumes).
American perceptions of “self-defense” and “aggression” are as distorted
as those of Nazi Germany.
When the only way you can “defend yourself”
against another country’s “threat” is to go to the other side of the world
to fight it, because it lacks the logistical capability to project military
force more than a few hundred miles outside its own borders - and the main
“threat” is its ability to fight back when you attack it - you know
something’s pretty messed up.