By Hua Zhang
While the Ukraine crisis is still fermenting, the US cannot wait to stir up another regional conflict. Mike Minihan, US Air Mobility Command commander, predicted in a recent memo that Washington will engage in a war with Beijing over the Taiwan question in the next two years. His sensational remarks were soon echoed and affirmed by McCaul, the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a TV program.
Some Americans already predicted earlier that a conflict will break out between China and the US over the Taiwan question in 2027. Now Mike Minihan and his like have moved the deadline forward to 2025, indicating how eager these war-lusting politicians are to wage new conflicts in order to fish in troubled waters.
Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer-winning journalist who used to work for the New York Times, hit the nail on the head by saying that instigating wars in the world to mitigate its own domestic political problems is an old trick played by the US.
War, a monster that most countries want to avoid, is a darling for American elites. This is mainly because of America’s unique geographical location – located far from the geopolitical hotspots on the Eurasian continent, it has been able to directly or indirectly engage in large-scale wars many times and profited from them without worrying about the war spreading to its doorstep. The two world wars are prime examples. The US, always having a flair for jumping on the right bandwagon, found its way into the winning camp in both wars, and vaulted itself to be the strongest power in the world with its industrial production and foreign trade soaring on the waves of the wars.
American elites are more than happy with the fact that they have taken all the advantages out of the war without ever losing a penny. Especially as the military-industry complex that grew during WWII has gradually gripped power, America has increasingly become the biggest warmonger in the world. Incomplete statistics show that from the end of WWII in 1945 to 2001, there were 248 armed conflicts occurring in 153 regions across the globe, 201 of which, roughly 81% of all, were initiated by the US.
But this war-oriented approach has got less effective and popular in the new century. The Iraqi War waged by the US on the excuse of fighting terrorism and biochemical weapons made it pay a hefty price of 50,000 casualties. The false charges it spun for starting the war, its “stop-at-nothing” bullying without UN authorization, and its barbarities of killing the innocent and abusing prisoners in Iraq all rendered the image of a “democracy and human rights defender” that Washington had worked so hard for so long to keep up a pathetic joke.
The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) based in Doha, capital of Qatar, published a poll that showed 81% of the correspondents thinking America’s Middle East policy has threatened regional security and stability. The Afghan War that America started in the name of wiping out “al-Qaeda” protracted for 20 years on top of costing an astronomical amount of money. To free itself of this gigantic burden, Washington made an abrupt and hastened withdrawal, leaving its NATO allies and the Afghan government on the line and making its “security commitment” to allies worthless.
The many domestic problems that are currently plaguing the country cannot be solved through a war either. The country is looking at an astounding rich-poor gap, with 17 million children living in hunger and more than 30 million citizens without medical insurance; infrastructure nationwide is clapped-out, with 43,586 bridges having served 68 years on average and tens of billions of dollars needed for repair and reinforcement; the abuse of drugs and guns leaves over 100,000 people dying of overdose and 40,000 of gunshot every year; and racial discrimination has only worsened, with the “George Floyd” case repeating itself over and over, hate crimes on the rise, and people of African and Asian origin living on tenterhooks. Moreover, the federal government has exceeded its debt cap more than once, constantly sounding the alarm of debt default, credit downgrading and government shutdown.
作为一国政府，理应投入更多精力和资源去解决这些复杂的国内问题。然而，世人看到的却是，美国军费年年上涨，到2023 财年将达到8130 亿美元，不仅高居世界第一，还超过了包括中国和俄罗斯在内的其他九个国家的军费总和。但美国疾控中心和环保署得到的拨款却分别只有100多亿美元，改善国内安全局势的预算也仅有300多亿美元。
Under such circumstances, the government should have spent more energy and invested more resources to solve its complex domestic woes. Yet what we see is America’s military spending rising year by year and on track to reach US$813 billion in the fiscal year of 2023, ranking far on top in the world and well over the combined military expenditure of nine other nations, including China and Russia. In comparison, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have each been allocated a little over US$10 billion, and the budget for improving public security at home is just over US$30 billion.
Clearly, the American politicians that pride themselves on speaking for the people and generals who claim to defend the country have long been reduced into military conglomerates’ puppets. Their clamoring for war is less to cure America of its ills than to satisfy their own desires and line their pockets.
Editor’s note: The author is a commentator for china.com.cn. This article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information and opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.