It sets out how the US military intends to keep ahead of those trends. Although imbued with flowery technocratic language, when read closely in the context of recent history, the document is ultimately a blueprint to shore-up a dying empire, and reveals much about the reigning ideology of US military supremacism. Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, an investigative journalist and international security scholar, has written an informative article on the US hegemonic policies. It is published by the London-based news portal, the Middle East Eye.
However, there seems to be challenges in the way. The new National Military Strategy claims that “The United States is the world’s strongest nation, enjoying unique advantages in technology, energy, alliances and partnerships, and demographics.” “However, these advantages are being challenged.”
The report notes that globalisation is catalysing “economic development” while simultaneously “increasing societal tensions, competition for resources, and political instability”.
Of course, the strategy document does not mention that since 1980, under the age of neoliberal globalisation, even as GDP per head has risen, the “vast majority of countries” have experienced a “sharp increase in income inequality,” as documented by a flagship 2014 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In the wake of the new era of slow growth and brutal austerity ushered in after the 2008 global banking collapse, the risk of the dire economic climate sparking civil and political unrest is increasing. But what the document also misses is that growing risk is itself a symptom of the uneven “economic development” that constitutes GDP “growth”.
The US Joint Chiefs of Staff document goes on to highlight the danger of “shifting demographics”. In the Middle East and Africa, the document warns that “Youth populations are rapidly growing” amidst an environment of “resource shortages, struggling economies, and deep social fissures”.
In Europe and north Asia, the demographic challenge comes in the form of aging populations, set against a declining labour force that some see as a potential economic time-bomb.
More generally, the document flags the general risk of immigration from rural to urban areas, and “across borders and seas,” which is fuelling “cultural differences, alienation and disease” and “placing strain on nations that receive them”.
Unsurprisingly, the document released by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, fails to grasp that much of these problems are entirely symptomatic of the current structure of global imperialism, dominated by a tiny minority of transnational banks and corporations which are dependent on fossil fuels to prop-up debt-creation as an instrument of profiteering for the few.
Relatedly, while recognising the persistence of “resource shortages” and “competition for resources,” the document does not once recognise the role of climate change in accelerating these problems.
To some extent, that is to be expected given that this is a military strategy document, but it highlights the problem of applying military thinking to address challenges that are not, in reality, military in origin.
The age of empire did not end with the collapse of the old colonial order, but continued in a new form. Since the end of the Second World War, the most powerful nations have used their overwhelming military and economic superiority against former colonies to forcibly absorb them into the orbit of a US-dominated economic order.
The document tries to inculcate that the US leadership that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges. At first glance, this all sounds great, until we take a glimpse at the nature of the “open international economic system” that the US seeks to protect, and the “allies and partners” that are integral to this “rules-based international order” subordinate to “US leadership”.
Across the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, US allies and partners consist almost entirely of brutal dictatorships, monarchies, and corrupt regimes engaged in systematic human rights abuses against their own populations.
The US, in other words, is committed to supporting Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories in violation of international law and countless UN resolutions – such as the latest UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israeli war crimes against innocent civilians during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Human Rights Watch noted that “The lack of support by the United States - the only state to vote against shows a disappointing unwillingness to challenge impunity for serious crimes during the Gaza conflict and to stand up for the victims of war crimes during the conflict.”
As for Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Pakistan, senior US military and government officials themselves concede that these states are complicit in financing the very “violent extremist organisations” the US now claims it is intent on destroying. Egypt and Bahrain are also engaged in egregious abuses of their own populations, all in the name of fighting “terrorism”. Yet this is packaged as supporting “respect for universal values at home inside the United States and abroad”.
In this context, international norms are used to beat others over the head – not to regulate the conduct of the US itself, or its allies. Military power is seen throughout the document as integral to US leadership of the international order, sanitised by claiming its objective is to maintain “international security and stability” - which should be read as security and stability for predatory US-dominated global finance capitalism.
The US Joint Chiefs promised that they would preserve their alliances, expand partnerships, maintain a global stabilising presence, and conduct training, exercises, security cooperation activities, and military-to-military engagement. There is a by-product to this strategy not mentioned in the document, but obvious nonetheless from examples like Egypt - popular revolutions that overthrow existing regimes allied to the US, no matter how dictatorial or abusive, are largely seen as a threat to the US-dominated order.
The risk of a US war with another state is low “but growing”. The document sees four main countries as threatening US domination of the international order: Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. Russia is accused of conducting a “proxy war” in Ukraine, although the US role in interfering in Ukrainian politics is conveniently ignored. The US tries to bring Ukraine, a major gas transshipment route, into the orbit of Euro-American power, and to access untapped regional oil and gas resources.
Iran is accused of pursuing nuclear weapons technology, contrary to the repeated findings of the US intelligence community, and of sponsoring what they like to refer to as “terrorism”. Israeli war crimes in Gaza and Lebanon, the US invasion of Iraq, US-backed proxy war in Syria and the US-backed Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen, on the other hand, are not terrorism, but part of the US-backed efforts to promote “universal values”. Supporting the oppressed is a principle in Iran’s foreign policy.
North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is condemned, but the backdrop to its paranoia is ignored. During the Korean War, 1950-53, US bombing killed up to a third, around 3 million of the North Korean population. The US was also the first during the war to install nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. The ongoing US military presence in the region, including nuclear-armed submarines, and regular military exercises simulating an invasion of North Korea is of no help to reduce tensions.
According to the US strategy document, “China’s actions are adding tension to the Asia-Pacific region,” referring to China’s “aggressive land reclamation efforts that will allow it to position military forces astride vital international sea lanes. The South China Sea, which contains untapped oil and gas resources and is also significant for fisheries, is the annual route for $5 trillion of global shipping. China’s territorial claims are challenged by US allies in East Asia, namely, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan – all identified in the document as part of the US-backed “order”. US interests are, as usual, not about peace and democracy, but about rolling back China’s sphere of influence and maximising access to the resources of the South China Sea for the US and its allies.
Under the guise of promoting peace and stability, the new US military strategy is in fact simply a blueprint for sustaining global US hegemony in the face of the rising geopolitical influence of its major rivals. Control of resources remains a core factor in its considerations. The Middle East and North Africa remain pivotal to these concerns. The report - the new National Military Strategy of the United States of America- released by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that: “US involvement in the Middle East is unlikely to alter significantly, as the region will almost certainly continue to have a significant bearing on what they called “global stability and security, ” better to read their own vested interests, global hegemony.