Russia-Ukraine conflict has champagne corks quietly popping in Pentagon: former U.S. official

2022-03-10 13:03:28Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The military conflict between Russia and Ukraine "has the champagne corks quietly popping in the Pentagon, on K Street, in the defense industry, and throughout the halls of Congress," wrote Franklin C. Spinney, a former military analyst for the Pentagon, in a recent commentary.

"Taxpayers are going to be paying for their party for a long time," Spinney wrote in the article entitled "How the Narcotic of Defense Spending Undermines a Sensible Grand Strategy" published on Wednesday in his blog post.

"It is no accident that the United States is on the cusp of the Second Cold War," he added.

Time Magazine called Spinney a "Pentagon Maverick" on a cover in 1983. Spinney served as an analyst in the Pentagon's Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation, and in this capacity, he exposed and decried the overinflated military spending and appeared as a witness in many congressional hearings.

"Future historians may well view the last 30 years as a case study in the institutional survival of the American Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex, together with its supporting blob now saturating the media, think tanks, academia, and the intelligence community," Spinney wrote.

"Perhaps, these future historians will come also to view the Global War on Terror as the bridging operation that greased the transition to Cold War II by keeping defense budgets at Cold War levels after Cold War I ended," he wrote.

"No one wants war, but rising tension and the politics of fear ... and their bedfellow: demonization ... had to be magnified to justify the huge bow wave of defense spending looming in the budgetary offing," he added.

Spinney pointed out: "As it gradually sank in that the First Cold War had indeed ended when the Soviet threat evaporated in 1991, the titans in the defense industry understood their comfortable market for new hi-tech, high-cost weapons could dry up."

"So, they went on a Pentagon subsidized consolidation binge to gobble up access to what threatened to be a stagnating market," Spinney said.

He further said that a lobbying operation named the Committee to Expand NATO emerged in the early 1990 and was headed by a vice president of Lockheed Martin, an American arms corporation.

These forces shaped "the hopes and dreams underpinning the powerful American impulse to expand NATO -- despite promises to the contrary made by leaders in the United States, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom," Spinney said.

Spinney also argued that "the Pentagon's strategy of maximizing its budget has created a growing dependency on defense spending in the American political economy."

He quoted George Kennan, who fathered the dominant U.S. policy of "Containment" for the Cold War, as saying: "Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy."

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Collin Powell, told Xinhua via email that Spinney has produced a concise description of what is driving U.S. defense budget policy and how it relates to the recent military operation of Russia.

"Having observed the formation of defense spending up close and personal for four decades, I can only say Chuck's (Franklin C. Spinney's) arguments describe reality as well as I have seen in a very long time, but in only a few words," Wilkerson said.

"Five presidents and their national security apparatchiks have played a key role by pushing NATO expansion," which has led to the tragic outbreak of the current armed conflict, he added.

Wilkerson said that facing the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the voices of the Western media exhibit "a uniformity of insanity -- but an insanity that makes some people a great deal of money." 


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