World Socialist Web Site
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 16:30 UTC
Delivered to the Economic Club of Washington, DC, an appreciative audience whose sponsors include the major arms manufacturers Boeing and Northrop Grumman as well as financial giants like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, the defense secretary's speech presented an unabashed declaration of Washington's intentions to assert its hegemony over the world's markets and resources by whatever means necessary, up to and including a nuclear holocaust.
The biggest increase proposed in the Pentagon budget is the quadrupling of funding for the US military buildup against Russia in Europe—projected to rise from $800 million to $3.4 billion.
This proposal represents a flagrant and provocative violation of the agreements reached with Moscow in the wake of the Stalinist bureaucracy's dissolution of the Soviet Union not to station large numbers of NATO troops on Russia's borders.
In addition, large quantities of military hardware, including tanks, artillery, infantry fighting vehicles and other weaponry, are to be stockpiled in close striking distance to Russia to allow for the speedy intervention of additional US combat brigades from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to Poland Bulgaria and Romania.
President Barack Obama issued a statement Tuesday declaring that the 400 percent increase in funding to encircle Russia "will enable the United States to strengthen our robust military posture in Europe and improve our ability to uphold our Article 5 commitments to NATO members."
The other major focus of Carter's speech and of the proposed budget itself is the buildup of US military pressure against China under the banner of the "pivot to Asia," with particular emphasis on the modernization of the US war fleet for confrontations in the South China Sea.
Carter did not mince words about Washington objectives, which are to use military force to maintain US hegemony in Asia and quell any threat to its dominant position from the rising economic power of China, subordinating China to US economic and strategic interests and reducing it to a semi-colony of US imperialism.
The US, the defense secretary said, would act to "maintain the stability in the region that we have underwritten for 70 years," warning China that "to disrupt the security environment where half of humanity lives and half of humanity's economic behavior is not a good idea."
Washington, he continued, was carrying out its military buildup to be able "to impose unacceptable costs on an advanced aggressor that will either dissuade them from taking provocative action or make them deeply regret it if they do."
Employing the language of total war, Carter added, "In this context, Russia and China are our most stressing competitors."
All of these proposals to escalate military confrontations that lead in the direction of global catastrophe are being made without even the semblance of a public debate, never mind the support of the American people, who have repeatedly demonstrated their hostility to militarism and war.
The massive spending on war preparations is to be paid for through ever more draconian attacks on the living standards, jobs and social conditions of the broad masses of working people.
In July 2014, the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) issued a statement entitled "Socialism and the Fight Against Imperialist War." The statement drew out the fundamental dynamics of the drive toward world war that find expression in Carter's speech and the Pentagon's proposed budget. It declared:
"The danger of a new world war arises out of the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist system—between the development of a global economy and its division into antagonistic nation states, in which the private ownership of the means of production is rooted. This finds its most acute expression in the drive of US imperialism to dominate the Eurasian landmass, above all those areas from which it was excluded for decades by the Russian and Chinese revolutions. In the west, the US, in league with Germany, has orchestrated a fascist-led coup to bring Ukraine under its control. But its ambitions do not stop there. The ultimate objective is to dismember the Russian Federation, reducing it to a series of semi-colonies to open the way for the plunder of its vast natural resources. In the east, the Obama administration's pivot to Asia is aimed at encircling China and transforming it into a semi-colony. Here, the objective is to ensure domination of the cheap labour that is one of the key global sources of the surplus value extracted from the working class and the life-blood of the capitalist economy."
In the year and a half since the ICFI issued its statement, these contradictions have only sharpened, intensifying existing wars and heightening the danger of new ones from the Middle East, to Eastern Europe, to the South China Sea, while at the same time driving the working class into increasingly bitter struggles against austerity and exploitation.
The historic question confronting humanity is the necessity for the working class to carry out the world socialist revolution before the capitalist ruling class can complete its descent into a war that threatens nuclear extinction.