What’s behind restoration of the Cold War is a fall off in the global armaments trade after the capitalist-versus-communist Cold War ended with the 9 November 1989 opening-up of the Berlin Wall, and after the ideological excuse for buying and using nuclear weapons thus ended when the Soviet Union and its communism and its Warsaw Pact military alliance against America’s NATO alliance ended soon thereafter, in 1991. Weapons became less needed, because there was no longer an ideological excuse available for invading, and for perpetrating (and/or backing) coups in, foreign countries. And this reduction in the weapons-market harmed the major investors in arms-manufacturing international corporations. Their business was suffering.
Any nation’s armaments-industry is crucial to that given nation’s aristocracy; and, so, the fall-off in the arms business was especially problematic for international capitalists—the people whose wealth depends largely upon these types of companies, whose markets are their own and allied governments (which these same people also control). Therefore, any capitalist nation’s aristocracy is heavily invested in that given nation’s ‘defense’ (or, more typically, invasion) industry. These investments in arms-production produce income not only from the aristocracy’s own country’s government (which especially purchases these weapons), but also from the governments of countries whose aristocracies are allied with that given country—those other nations’ aristocracies. Furthermore, the weapons that any given nation has at its disposal and which are paid for by that nation’s entire taxpaying public (thus enabling that aristocracy to extract wealth from the given nation’s general public in order for the government to buy these weapons from them), also provide a vital means of enforcing that nation’s aristocracy’s property-rights in all other countries—the guns and military to enforce their will there—and aristocrats tend to be invested in many countries, and so to be very much in need of this international enforcement.
For a while after the end of communism and end of the Soviet Union in 1991, the U.S. aristocracy and its allied aristocracies in Europe, Japan and elsewhere, experienced declining sales of armaments, and nothing seemed capable of turning that situation around: their investments became increasingly bad as the ‘post-Cold-War’ period (which “post” on the Russian side was real from 1991 on, but not on the U.S. side, where the Cold War was actually only temporarily suspended and never yet ended) proceeded through the 1990s. For America’s aristocracy (and its allied aristocracies abroad), this decline in weapons-income was tolerable so long as the U.S. group were able to siphon some wealth out of Russia, and also out of its allies such as Ukraine. But, by the time when George W. Bush became U.S. president in 2001, America’s aristocracy worked in conjunction with Saudi Arabia’s aristocracy—the Saudi royal family, the largest foreign purchaser of U.S. weapons—to replace the Soviet enemy, by a new jihadist enemy, so as to have an ongoing excuse for invasions, to keep those arms-makers busy. And then, after 9/11 (a joint U.S.-Saudi operation), military expenditures promptly quit declining and started rising and thus providing, yet again, good returns to international capitalists. Here that increase, which was indicated in the above chart, is also shown by a graph in an article which extends decades farther back than merely to 1988, “Military Expenditure Trends for 1960–2014 and What They Reveal”, by Todd Sandler and Justin George, published on 7 March 2016:
As is clear from that, the Cold War was a booming business for investors throughout the U.S. and its allied aristocracies, at least from 1960 till around the time when the Berlin Wall ended on 9 November 1989; and, then, after the 1991 end of the Soviet Union, the thirty-plus years-long uptrend in those investments became instead a clear downtrend, until 11 September 2001, when military spending again soared, but this favorable trend for armaments-investors stopped when Barack Obama became the U.S. President in 2009, and military sales then flatlined.
This flatlined military spending was unacceptable to the U.S. aristocracy, who control the U.S. government. Therefore, starting by no later than 2011, the Obama-Clinton U.S. State Department began preparations to overthrow the Russia-friendly democratically elected (in 2010) government of Ukraine, which is the European country that has the longest border with Russia and therefore the most opportunities for placing U.S. missiles on Russia’s border so as to be able to surprise-attack Russia faster than Russia will be able to launch its missiles in retaliation—in other words, to conquer Russia. That U.S. coup in Ukraine was carried out in February 2014; and, afterward, the international arms-trade boomed again.
The United States, which until the end of the Soviet Union, and of its communism, and of its Warsaw Pact equivalent of America’s own NATO, had had an excuse for high military spending, had lost that excuse when, on 9 November 1989, the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev “tore down that wall” separating East Berlin from West Berlin, and, in 1991 he ended the Cold War itself on the Soviet side and became instead the President of Russia—the leading state in the former Soviet federation. The U.S. secretly continued the Cold War, now against Russia alone, and tried to take Russia over by means of constructing a new Russian aristocracy that would be dependent upon the U.S. aristocracy and would provide America’s aristocrats with lucrative new opportunities for exploitation. But Russia’s new President Vladimir Putin in 2000 immediately turned against Boris Berezovsky and Russia’s other U.S.-allied new aristocrats or “oligarchs,” and drove them out of the country and so established Russian national sovereignty over Russia’s natural and other resources—the very things that America’s aristocrats had wanted to exploit.
Putin replaced the previous, U.S.-allied, oligarchs, by his own friends, who agreed to obey Russia’s leader as the representative of Russia’s national sovereignty, even if and when Putin would tell them to do things that are against their own pecuniary interests—he demanded this loyalty from them, loyalty to what he as the representative of the Russian people determined to be in Russia’s national interest. For forcing out and replacing the previous, U.S.-backed, oligarchs, Putin was called a brutal dictator, by the aristocrats who control the U.S. government and news media and weapons-producing firms.
The post-9/11 restoration of the sales-volumes of the U.S. aristocracy’s weapons-firms turned out to be insufficient, it ended within eight years, because only with a return of sales of nuclear-arms production, and the huge missile systems to deliver them, could the old glory days of America’s aristocracy return again.
Communism is gone. The Soviet Union is gone. Its Warsaw Pact is gone (and almost entirely absorbed now into America’s NATO military club—they’re aimed now against Russia, instead of against the U.S.). All of the pretext for the Cold War was gone; and therefore to call this new war against the lone and non-communist rump Russian government a ‘new cold war’ (at a time when Russia’s former Soviet partners have been switched to enemies, and the Warsaw Pact of allies has been switched to the NATO pact of enemies) is preposterous; it is nothing of the sort. It is U.S. aggression. And a pretext was thus needed in order to be able to call Putin’s Russia the world’s most aggressive country. One pretext was to call the two breaks-away from Ukraine, one by Crimea (which had voted 75% for the government that Obama overthrew) and the other by Donbass (which had voted 90% for that government), ‘aggressions’ on the part of Russia (and to ignore that Obama’s coup in Ukraine had caused both). The Obama regime denied the right of self-determination of peoples, when it pertained to those breakaway regions from Ukraine, even though Obama accepted the right of self-determination of peoples when it pertained to Scots in UK, and to Catalans in Spain.
The other pretext was that Russia backed the allegedly brutal secular leader of Syria, and not the actually brutal sectarian leader of Saudi Arabia who was determined to conquer secular Syria by infiltrating into Syria jihadist allies of Al Qaeda in order to create a Wahhabist dictatorship in Syria, which would be in debt to the Sauds and to the Americans.
For these reasons, nuclear war is now not only on the table, as it was during the Cold War, but, in the currently spreading now hot war using jihadists and other proxy fighters in order to overthrow and replace Russia’s allies, America is finally going for the nuclear jugular. Even if it’s not a sound thing to do if those weapons are ever used, it’s the only way America’s aristocrats know to boost the value of their investments, at least in the short term (which is the time-perspective that increasingly has come to dominate among America’s aristocrats and their allies).
America’s new president, Donald Trump, will have to decide whether to culminate this, or whether instead to condemn and repudiate it. If he decides to do the latter, then he will be condemning and repudiating the entire U.S. aristocracy, which no U.S. president (except for Jimmy Carter in his retirement) has ever done. American presidents have been assassinated for less than that. And, in any case, courage is not a trait that’s commonly attributed to Trump, even by his own most ardent admirers. However, unless he turns out to be a person of extraordinary courage, World War III now appears to be virtually inevitable, to occur rather soon, and the only real question would be: Which side will nuclear-blitz-attack the other the first?
Every well-informed person now knows what the full import was of U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower’s elliptical parting words as president, from his Farewell Address, on 17 January 1961: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”
What he was so vaguely warning against has actually occurred, and is proceeding toward its ever-likelier climax: the end. It is an end so horrific that no scientific estimate of its result to the planet has been allowed to be published. It would release at least the 3,176 already-deployed nuclear warheads (the 100-plus-kiloton bombs that would be used in a U.S.-Russia war: 1,765 on Russia’s side, plus 1,411 on America’s). However, a release of only 100 nuclear warheads (each only 15-kilotons) (thus, roughly 200 times smaller release in total, than a U.S.-Russia war would entail) was allowed to be published; and here that is. (The study itself says that: “Our results show that this period of no food production needs to be extended by many years, making the impacts of nuclear winter even worse than previously thought.” But, clearly, a U.S.-Russia war would simply end a livable planet.)
If that would be the result of cowardice, then what would such a coward be fearing that he would consider to be even worse? Sometimes, human stupidity is hard to understand. But this is utterly insane. Yet, it is where we are now heading. And the U.S. aristocracy is driving us there.
This article originally appeared in Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910–2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.