Will the United States Return to War?
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
At present, no country in the world comes close to the military power of the United States, but apparently that will not define a country’s world domination in the 21st century. Everything suggests that the dominant country of the future will be the one that has not worn itself out with wars. It was wrong to think that the United States invaded lands far from its territory in order to appropriate their natural resources. Their aim was to create wars, destroy urban areas, infrastructure and industries and then rebuild them with great profit for the Pentagon and its mercenary hawks.
Now it is evident that this cruel business has not been profitable since the Korean War, and that the occupation of Iraq alone is costing them $4 billion a month. In order to sustain its military imperialism, the United States has suffered huge net losses as the Afghanistan war alone, up to December 2014, cost it a trillion dollars, equivalent to ten annual military budgets of Russia.
In 2008, Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics, titled his book, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict. And according to a report out of the Watson Institute for Public and International Affairs at Brown University, the United States government has spent 4.79 trillion dollars on military conflicts since 2001 and its military loans amount to 453 billion dollars.
According to the Watson Institute, the good that the United States could do if that large sum of money were used to fight world hunger would be huge, if at least it went towards improving the living conditions of Americans. But what actually exists is a public debt of 20 trillion dollars which represents 102.6% of GDP. This debt has quadrupled in the last 14 years, for at the beginning of the century it was 5.62 trillion dollars.
But the most interesting thing about this debt spent on wars is that half of the creditors are foreigners (China and Japan add up to 37.2% of the total). In other words, the great military power owes money to some one hundred countries in order to be able to pay for the wars that have left it bankrupt.*
In the 1950s the United States accounted for 50% of the world’s GDP and today it is not even as high as 20%. According to IMF calculations based on GDP adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity, China has already surpassed the US and by 2040 China will have 40% of world GDP, US 15%, India 12% and the EU 5%.
The United States is now a ruined, ineffective military power. Its spending in 2015 was $601 billion, a figure that is more than the sum of the seven richest countries in the world and accounts for 41% of global military spending. This military spending leads to major deficiencies in other items of the state budget, even though the country has not managed to win any war since World War II in 1945.
Another of the great failures of the United States is now being experienced in Syria, where, due to the incompetence of its diplomats, it has been left out of peace talks between Russia, Turkey and Iran. And as far as the incomprehensible war against terrorism is concerned, the chaos is such that Julian Assange, the Wikileaks reporter, stated that the CIA lost control of a large arsenal of cyber weapons that could be on the black market at the disposal of hackers all over the world.
That is why Trump has proposed to wage more wars again. “We have to win, we have to start winning wars again,” he said on Twitter, and he has raised the Defense Department’s budget by 54 billion dollars, to the detriment of the budgets for the environment and education.
For its part, China has always been characterized by a scrupulous respect for other countries. Its wars have always been to repel aggressions and abuse by other empires. But it is finally being rewarded with global power that now depends more on economics than on war.
During the official US visit to China in 2015, President Xi Jinping told the Wall Street Journal that “strengthening national defenses does not lead to military adventures, as China has never had that in mind,” and he reminded US officials that China has no military bases outside its borders. Trump, in the meantime, is committed to spending US money on weapons, wars and walls, following the same history as previous presidents.
Addendum: Although history indicates that all geopolitical predictions have always been different from actual events, there is no doubt that the 21st century will not see the resurgence of the old business of wars planned in faraway places to enrich a few scoundrels with a high level of xenophobia, narcissism, hypocrisy and evil.
The world of the immediate future will be conducted in a way that we are still unaware of, but there is no doubt that luckily the wars to colonize and those planned to earn wealth will not return because all those countries are bankrupt.