Global Militarism in now Capitalism's greatest economic engine

Global Military Spending Is Now an Integral Part of Capitalism
by Richard Seymour – 7 March, 1014 – common dreans

China has embarked on a sequence of double-digit increases in defence spending. (Photograph: Chinafotopress/Getty Images)China’s surge in military spending gains headlines, partly because of the ominous implications regarding its regional contest with Japan, but it’s the deeper structures of military spending in general that are far more compelling.

There are few surprises about the distribution of military spending: for all the current focus on China’s growing military outlays – and it is significant that they have embarked on a sequence of double-digit increases as a percentage of GDP – the United States still accounts for 40% of such expenditures. However, the distribution is not the only thing that matters; it’s the sheer scale of such investment – $1.756tn in 2012. The “peace dividend” from the end of the cold war has long since bitten the dust. Global military spending has returned to pre-1989 levels, undoubtedly a legacy of the war on terror and the returning salience of military competition in its context. In fact, by 2011 global military spending was higher than at any year since the end of the second world war.

So, what is the explanation for such huge investments? Is it simply the case that states are power-maximising entities, and that as soon as they have access to enough taxable income they start dreaming war?

In a very general sense, militarisation could be seen as an integral aspect of capitalism. One of the central ambiguities of capitalism is that it is necessarily a global system, with production and exchange extending beyond national boundaries; yet at the same time, units of capital (corporations etc) tend to be concentrated within national states where they are afforded an infrastructure, a labour force, and a great deal of primary investments. Even the process of globalisation presupposes the investment and guidance of national states. The more deeply companies are intertwined with national states, the more they rely on those states to fight their competitive battles on a global stage. Maintaining a military advantage is arguably an intrinsic part of this.

However, once this rather abstract principle is established, the question still remains unanswered. After all, there is no inherent reason why geo-economic competition should lead to defence spending consuming trillions of dollars of value each year. Part of the answer has to be located in the way that high levels of military spending became such an entrenched part of the global landscape in the aftermath of two world wars.

In the context of the second world war, and then in the subsequent cold war, one thing about military spending that became abundantly clear is that it is never just about conflict. As in the conduct of wars themselves, the institutionalisation of military spending quickly becomes entangled in a series of incentives that are entirely tangential to the ostensive motive. …more

Western Imperialist Aggression Projects it "Cold War Prowess"

Political analysts, like Nil Nikandrov, are paying attention to the timing of America’s efforts to replace the government in Venezuela and Ukraine. Washington wants to prove that a superpower is still capable of directing the course of events in different parts of the world to suit its agenda. In this article, the author focuses on the crisis situation unfolding in Venezuela and sets the record straight on what may be the most lied about country in the Western media.

US against Venezuela: Cold War Goes Hot
by Nil Nikandrov – Voltaire.net – 8 March, 2014

During the recent carnival in Venezuela, the isolated pockets of student protests taking place in large cities died out as if by magic. Or, to be more precise, they died out in the privileged areas of the cities. The organisers of the anti-government protests had assured the world that the carnival would not take place, and that the tradition of travelling to Caribbean beaches would be cancelled, since “the dissatisfaction of the people” had reached a climax. Just a little bit more and the regime would come crashing down, President Nicolás Maduro and his comrades would run off to Cuba, and the country would return to “a true democracy”. The protests were widely covered by leading television channels in the West, and now – complete silence. Venezuelans are celebrating and relaxing.

A major role in the information and psychological war against Venezuela belongs to US intelligence agencies. The whole of Hugo Chavez’s presidency was spent amid severe information warfare which the US placed great emphasis on in order to compromise the very idea of building a 21st century socialism in Venezuela. Chavez never promised a speedy success on this journey, but his well thought out social policy achieved many things. According to opinion polls, Venezuelans are among some of the happiest people in the Western Hemisphere.

The achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution with regard to healthcare, education and the construction of affordable housing guaranteed Chavez popular support. A solid home front made it possible for Chavez to successfully counteract America’s subversive operations not just in Venezuela, but in the international arena as well. One of the focal points of this information warfare was the creation of the TeleSur TV channel with the support of allied Latin American countries, and then the subsequent creation of the RadioSur radio station. Local television and radio networks were organised throughout Venezuela, and a national film studio was opened, which produces feature films on patriotic themes. A new Venezuelan film appears on the country’s screens almost every week, attracting just as many viewers as Hollywood action movies. Documentary films are also released that expose America’s policy in Latin America, including the seizure of oilfields and the removal of politicians that Washington finds disagreeable. …more