So, obviously, Washington needs to spend more money
A recent US war-game report certainly made dramatic headlines claiming that in a conventional war with either Russia or China, American forces would get a whipping.
All the more remarkable was that the assessment came from the Rand Corporation, which is closely aligned with the Pentagon. It may seem therefore a rather rude admission by a Pentagon-funded think tank that US military forces would be so humiliated by would-be adversary Russia or China.
The Rand lead analyst put the scale of defeat for the American side rather colourfully. "The US would get its ass handed to it," he is quoted as saying.
The simulated war scenario found that US military formations in every domain would be vanquished.
What's going on here? Is the Pentagon, through its think tank, really admitting to such stark defeat? No.
For a start, the war-gaming is highly unrealistic. It envisages a limited conventional war scenario. In real life, if the US was staring at a wholesale military defeat, we can be sure that the American rulers and their Pentagon chiefs would have no hesitation in hitting the nuclear buttons. In which case, the conventional war would go straight to the nuclear conflagration, and most likely presage the end of the planet as we know it.
But here's another factor that raises scepticism about Rand's apparently scathing defeatist report — the timing.
The Trump administration is coincidently proposing a new federal budget for 2020, and the Pentagon is seeking an even bigger slice of the fiscal pie than it usually devours.
Trump is planning to hike the annual military spending to $750 billion, up from the current allocation of $716 bn, which itself was a record increase on previous budgets. Those figures represent more than half of the total federal discretionary budget.
A big part of the extra funding for the Pentagon is in missile defence. Trump is earmarking $14 bn, while the Rand Corp is recommending $24 bn.
That's what the scaremongering Rand report is all about. It's an attempt to frighten the US public into acquiescing to yet another colossal injection of cash to the Pentagon's military-industrial complex.
It seems significant that Rand's war-gaming places emphasis on Russia and China's new generation of hypersonic missiles as a threat to US security, requiring massive new funds to counteract through missile defence systems.
This is a risible repetition of an old ruse. Make the people fearful of some implacable, diabolical enemy, and the people will duly give the rulers and their military-industrial complex a blank cheque to syphon off billions of more dollars to private corporations and Wall Street investors.
Meanwhile, trillions of dollars are to be slashed from vital public services of healthcare and education in the Trump administration's budget.
Rand Corp was established in 1948 at the beginning of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. One of its founders was General Curtis LeMay who was chief of US air force command. LeMay was notorious for his "strategic bombing" of Japan during the Second World War, masterminding the firebombing of Tokyo and the atomic incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
During the John F Kennedy administration in the early 1960s, LeMay wanted to bomb Cuba during the missile crisis and he was also an advocate of pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the Soviet Union.
The Rand Corp he set up was a major proponent of media stories warning of a "missile gap" and "bomber gap" with the Soviet Union. The notion instilled in public perception was that the US was being outpaced by Soviet weapons. Consequently, as intended, the Pentagon was deluged with taxpayer dollars to "correct" the purported security gaps.
It turned out years later that the so-called missile and bomber gaps were complete fiction, as even former President Lyndon Johnson candidly admitted. The reality was that the US actually always had quantitatively more firepower than the Soviet Union or China.
The Rand Corp served as a pump-primer for funds to its masters in the Pentagon through the hoary old technique of terrorizing its own people.
Today, nearly three decades after the Cold War supposedly ended, nothing much has changed. The American public is still manipulated like children by being told scary stories so that they hide under their blankets while the "adults" empty the coffers of their nation.
The absurdity of it all is that the US spends more money on military than the rest of the top 15 other nations — combined. The Pentagon's annual budget is some three times that allocated by China and more than 10 times that spent by Russia.
Part of the explanation for this gross discrepancy is that Russian and Chinese military development is more efficient than American. They are achieving way more bang for their bucks. And no doubt in a hypothetical conventional war, Russia or China would give the Americans a formidable challenge.
But the point is this: if America is supposedly vulnerable to being wiped out by an adversary, as Rand makes out, after spending the exorbitant excesses it already does, then how is such an inept military supposed to get any better by spending even more billions?
Rather than spending more on such a losing military, the logical answer would be to liquidate it altogether and rebuild again.
However, the efficiency of US military defence is not the real issue and never has been. Rather, it's all about finding excuses, pretences and charades in order to funnel unlimited amounts of public money into the Pentagon military-industrial complex.
The biggest national security threat for Americans is not Russia nor China. It is their own parasitic, insatiable and incompetent war machine that is so fundamental to American corporate capitalism.