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Trump’s Pernicious Military Legacy

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/07/trumps-pernicious-military-legacy

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Remember when the US government minded it’s own business around the world and wasn’t the biggest bully on the block, yeah me neither.
China has already outsmarted our leaders, building islands in the South China Sea for their aircraft, instead of aircraft carriers like US. But then, China only wants to protect their interests, not control the world, and has lifted millions of their citizens out of poverty in the last 20 years or so, while we have increased our poverty numbers in the same time period.


Empires overreach. Always. Then implode. “Oh when will they ever lean? When will they ever learn?”


Klare’s focus is a transition in USA military strategy, from the Global War on Terror (GWOT) to what they now abbreviate GPC – Lord have mercy, little Ida-Jane, some fresh bullshit just hit the fan.

This shift in outlook from counterterrorism to what, in these years, has come to be known in Washington as “great power competition,” or GPC, was first officially articulated in the Pentagon’s National Security Strategy of February 2018…

For the Department of Defense and the military services, this meant only one thing: from that moment on, so much of what they did would be aimed at preparing to fight and defeat China and/or Russia in high-intensity conflict.

That’s from Klare. But war profiteers are obviously going to probe for any way to extract money from your wallet to theirs, forevermore – twas ever freaking thus, dude! Another thing: I’m almost certain I’m not the only one who remembers BO’s “pivot to China.” I’ll bet even Klare remembers BO’s “pivot to China.”

So precisely whose “pernicious military legacy” are we talking about, Michael Klare? When you seem to be attempting to hang the whole mess on Orangeman, you undercut your credibility with thinking people who know better, and you probably don’t make much headway with the thoughtless, either. So why the childish, patronizing, counter-historical distortion? What purpose does it serve?

If you can’t think as deeply as 50% of your readers, it might be time to give up on writing. That sounds too harsh. I went back and reviewed to make sure Klare is doing what I think he’s doing. Yep: he’s lying (more kindly: fabricating a fabulous fantasy) about this “GPC” transition, and he knows it. I’ll remember this.


And I’ll take the liberty of re-emphasizing that Dave Lindorff’s would be a great column for CD to run. They’ve done so occasionally in the past. I have no idea what the venerable master might have written to rub someone the wrong way. My humble opinion is that Lindorff’s view of USA’s “forever war” in Afghanistan is a more substantive examination of our most urgent military legacies:

We’ve known for a long time that the US has been losing or at best managing a stalemate in Afghanistan for years, and given that situation it’s obvious that whenever the US does finally leave, the Taliban will take over the country, so that unavoidable reality is not a great argument for not pulling out remaining troops.

But somehow, the idea of Trump’s saying he’s going to end the deployment of US troops in Afghanistan just causes the media to lose it. Perhaps it’s having to admit the US has lost another war, or maybe it’s just the need to keep justifying a Pentagon budget that consumes 50% of each year’s federal discretionary spending.



It’s clear to me that Biden will continue the “pivot to Asia” thinking that Obama and then Trump embraced. BO’s modernization of the nuclear arsenal is an indication that Big Wars were in his mind. There is no evidence that Biden will abandon the foolish missteps that we have already taken.


Like some others here I see this article as disingenuous at best. It has all the appearances of a partisan hit piece and as such is useless as to its content.

The reality.

Barack Obama started the modernization of the US Nuclear arsenal with some trillion dollars invested so as to modernize and streamline that arsenal. This included those tactical weapons the Pentagon was claiming as “usable” which Mr Klare suggests was a Trump initiative. The modernization introduced by Obama , with Joe Biden as VP , was the single largest investment in the US Nuclear arsenal since Reagan.

The Pivot to Asia was an Obama thing. He directed the US Military to direct more of its Military forces to the far east so as to contain China. He sent diplomats abroad to get other Countries on board with this contain China policy.

The increased friction with Russia was also a Barack Obama thing. The Doomsday clock was moved 2 minutes closer to midnight under the Obama Administration as his administration brought the US and Russia closer to a Nuclear exchange. This was due to a multiple of actions on the part of the Obama administration but included.

Sponsoring a Coup in the Ukraine where a Government that was legally voted to power and was friendly to Russia was removed and replaced by a Western friendly Government.

Used deception to get Russia to agree to a no fly zone in Libya at the security council. Russia was told that if they did not veto the action that NATO would NOT use it to force regime change. NATO lied and people died. This outraged Russia.

The attempt at regime change in Syria. This started under Obama and Obama in fact launched multiple missile strikes against Syria. Russia did not want a repeat of what happened in Libya and so acted directly to support Assad. It was reported that this even included Russia shooting down US Missiles enroute to Syria.

Biden was VP through all of this.


Perhaps I am far too cynical but the gist of this artciles seems to be that when the USA fighting that GWOT against those “ragtag militias” the millions that have died due to that GWOT and will continue to die are really not that big a concern as they were all Arabs or Muslims

Mr Klares biggest worry seems to be in that next war it might mean Americans dying.


I think Klare is right to warn of the dangers in seeking confrontation with China and/or Russia even if the motive of the warmongers may be more to make a pile of money from the weapons they sell. But we still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are still supporting the war against Yemen, we are still involved n Syria, and threatening Iran. So we have both the endless wars and the superpower conflicts to warry about.
While the US is the main transgressor, we truly need worldwide peace movement including in Russia, China, UK and France, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel-Palestine, Turkey, Armenia-Azerbaijan, India-Pakistan, Libya…


My reading of Michael T. Klare’s work is that he is reportorial and not polemical. It’s just the facts, ma’am, and he doesn’t propound an ideology. He’s done thorough work particularly with respect to documenting how conflicts among nations will escalate as populations increase and resources dwindle. Part of that is assessing what shifts have occurred in the US military under TrumPutin, which is what Klare has done in his article.

News of a somewhat like a decoupling of CIA and Pentagon today, speculation of it to be used to facilitate facing major rivals directly instead of the third world countries that the US usually mows down.


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That is good news, thanks Helen.