Global Military Spending Tops $2 Trillion for First Time in History

Global military expenditures surpassed $2 trillion for the first time ever last year, with the United States spending more on its war-making capacity than the next nine nations combined, according to new data published Monday. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported an all-time high of $2.1 trillion in worldwide military spending for 2021, a 0.7% increase from 2020 levels and the seventh straight year of increased expenditures. With $801 billion—or 38% of total global military spending—the United States spent more in 2021 than the next nine nations combined: China ($293 billion), India ($76.6 billion), the United Kingdom ($68.4 billion), Russia ($65.9 billion), France ($56.6 billion), Germany ($56 billion), Saudi Arabia ($55.6 billion), Japan ($54.1 billion), and South Korea ($50.2 billion).

— source commondreams.org | Apr 25, 2022

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$770 Billion For the Military—Poisoned Water for Military Families

Concerns from hundreds of military families living on the Joint Naval Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawai’i about foul-smelling drinking water were dismissed on November 29th, 2021, by Naval Commander Captain Erik Spitzer, who assured residents the water was safe to drink. Spitzer declared that he and his staff were drinking the water, so surely reports of a gasoline-like odor, cramps, and vomiting were nothing to worry about. Then, less than a week later, on December 5th, Spitzer took to Facebook to issue an apology.

What had happened in the days between initial denials of water contamination and the issuing of the apology? As it turns out, the complaints of nearly 1,000 military and civilian households weren’t unfounded. Rather, a November 20th jet fuel spill at a fuel storage facility near the base had leaked into the water supply, rendering the tap water of 93,000 residents, both military families and civilians, hazardous to drink. Tested samples from the Red Hill water shaft, one of three sources of water for the base, contained “total petroleum hydrocarbons diesel range organic” 350 times the levels considered safe for drinking water. Tests also showed “gasoline range organics” at more than 66 times the safe level. In short, despite the base commander’s assurance on November 28th that the water on the base was totally safe to drink, it was indeed contaminated with petroleum and jet fuel. Just two days later, on November 30th, the state health department urged families to avoid using tap water for drinking, cooking, or oral hygiene.

While Hawai’i’s Department of Health warned residents on the base against using the water, the Navy continued to deny any danger. Behind the scenes, however, the Navy had halted

— source commondreams.org | Liz Walters | Mar 27, 2022

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Germany Refuses to Send Arms to Ukraine

Germany, where the new coalition government has refused to send weapons to Ukraine, even as the United States and other European nations have sent military support. Germany also banned Estonia from supplying German-origin howitzer weapons to Ukraine. Germany did send Ukraine 5,000 combat helmets last week to help protect soldiers in case of an attack by Russia. Germany’s defense minister said the move was a signal to Ukraine that, quote, “We are on your side.” But the move was ridiculed by others calling for a stronger stance, sending active military weapons. This comes as the head of the German Navy resigned this month after he made comments that downplayed the crisis, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin deserved respect. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised his country is in tune with EU and NATO policies towards Russia, but insisted, quote, “We don’t provide any lethal weapons.” Scholz spoke earlier this month at the World Economic Forum.

— source democracynow.org | Feb 01, 2022

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Bill Clinton’s Role in the Crisis Over Ukraine

The militarization of American foreign policy has evolved over the past thirty years. Ironically, this took place in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which should have led to reassessing U.S. national security policy and defense spending. Democratic presidents have played a major role in this militarization because they are unwilling to challenge the Pentagon and the defense industry.

Bill Clinton was initially responsible for the militarization. He abolished the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and began the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Barack Obama believed that war in Afghanistan was a “good war,” and reappointed Robert Gates as secretary of defense to appease the uniformed military. President Joe Biden even appointed a retired four-star general to the position of secretary of defense, and has given diplomacy a back seat in the twin struggles with Russia and China. The postwar presidents understood the need to divide Moscow and Beijing, but Biden has taken actions that have inspired Russia and China to grow closer.

But it all started with Clinton, whose relations with the Pentagon were tenuous from the outset. Clinton came into office with a reputation for manipulating the draft laws in

— source counterpunch.org | Melvin Goodman | Jan 18, 2022

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Vladimir Putin is Not the Neville Chamberlain the US/NATO is Looking For

“I think one lesson in recent history,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on January 7, referring to the entry of Russian troops into Kazakhstan to save that country’s allied regime from an uprising of dissatisfied serfs, “is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave.”

That’s the pot calling the kettle black. More than 30 years after the Warsaw Pact’s dissolution, 77 years after the end of World War Two, the US still keeps 40,000 troops in Germany.

For 45 years, the justification was to defend Germany from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. As Germany moved toward reunification, US Secretary of State James Baker assured Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization wouldn’t expand so much as “one inch eastward” into the former Soviet sphere of influence it was created to contain.

That assurance, codified in various negotiations and subsequently declassified documents, was far from “informal” as supporters of an expanding NATO pretend. It may well have kept eastern Europe’s transition toward independence from devolving into the third general European war in a century.

— source counterpunch.org | Thomas Knapp | Jan 18, 2022

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USA! How Many Bombs Did You Drop Today?

The Pentagon has finally published its first Airpower Summary since President Biden took office nearly a year ago. These monthly reports have been published since 2007 to document the number of bombs and missiles dropped by U.S.-led air forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria since 2004. But President Trump stopped publishing them after February 2020, shrouding continued U.S. bombing in secrecy.

Over the past 20 years, as documented in the table below, U.S. and allied air forces have dropped over 337,000 bombs and missiles on other countries. That is an average of 46 strikes per day for 20 years. This endless bombardment has not only been deadly and devastating for its victims but is broadly recognized as seriously undermining international peace and security and diminishing America’s standing in the world.

The U.S. government and political establishment have been remarkably successful at keeping the American public in the dark about the horrific consequences of these long-term

— source commondreams.org | Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J.S. Davies | Jan 10, 2022

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How the US transformed a tiny African state into a hub of imperial aggression

From Djibouti, the US trains proxies and bombs strategically-important countries in the name of democracy and counterterrorism. To justify the country’s militarization, Washington hypes fears over China’s regional ambitions.

In a blatant threat to China’s presence, Djibouti recently hosted the US-led “Allied Appreciation Day,” in which Britain, France, and Japan showcased “a variety of equipment that is part of their military operations in the Horn of Africa” (HOA). The Pentagon’s Combined Joint Task Force-HOA reported that the events fused Armistice, Remembrance, and Veterans’ Days. Attendees participated in “demonstrations featuring a variety of allied military capabilities to include a military flyover.”

Successive Djiboutian regimes have clung to power by promoting their small country in the Horn of Africa as a vital tool in the West’s quest for global dominance. During Europe’s late-19th century Scramble for Africa, the French colonists understood the strategic importance of the region for trade ships and naval deployments. After the Second World War and particularly after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, the Pentagon seized France’s imperial mantle and expanded a major military base, Camp Lemonnier (which, for many years, the US misspelled by leaving out an “n”).

Today, American military and political planners fear the presence of China in what they consider to be “their” African territory. In 2017, China opened its first, and at the time

— source thegrayzone.com | TJ Coles | Dec 31, 2021

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