"We Can't Afford the Pivot"
by Bruce Gagnon
I'm at the Washington airport waiting to fly home. The three days of meetings on Obama's "pivot" of 60% of US military forces into the Asia-Pacific went very well. I'll write more about the meetings later on. For now it's evident that we are building a good national/international working group around the US military strategy to surround and provoke China. We came up with some good plans to help the peace movement and the broader public get engaged in thinking and talking about this expensive, provocative and dangerous strategy.
I was up early this morning and left the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House where I stayed the last three nights. As I was waiting at the metro stop for it to open at 7:00 am I saw a big rat scurry by. Then finally on the subway we passed over the river and I was struck by the rusting bridge. Even the towering Washington monument is framed with supports as a recent earthquake tremor cracked the nation's leading phallic symbol. The signs of internal decay and collapse are all around us if we just open our eyes and see.
As the metro headed toward the airport we came to the Pentagon subway stop. I noticed a series of propaganda signs there - all colorful and bright - lit up just for the thousands of Pentagon personnel who daily pass through this metro stop heading to work. One of the signs really stuck with me - it pictured a phalanx of US Navy warships steaming ahead with the words "Securing Our Shores". (Other weapons industry sponsored mind washing signs had similar messages like "Security Through Strength").
The "Securing Our Shores" one though really grabbed me. It represents the pivot - or "re-balancing" as the Pentagon is now calling it. An aircraft carrier led battle group "forward deploying" to the Asia-Pacific to encircle China's coastline. The Zumwalt "stealth" destroyer with the capability to sneak up on China and blast them with the new "electro-magnetic rail gun". What's this got to do with "securing our shores"? Absolutely nothing.
It's all about offense. That is what the Pentagon and their legion of weapons corporation allies do these days. They encircle China and Russia and when those nations respond the Pentagon uses that response as fuel on the fire. I've heard our Maine congressional delegation say many times, "OMG, look at China! They are building up their military. We need more $$$ to build more destroyers at BIW!" That's how the game works.
For along time the American people could afford to ignore this kind of talk and go on with their lives. But the rats are running around in broad daylight these days and our physical and human infrastructure across the nation is crumbling and collapsing. So now folks are starting to pay attention. The details matter - we can't afford the pivot.
What is really out of balance these days is the ratio between Pentagon spending and domestic spending. It might just be time to consider redefining the word "security". How secure are we at home if there is no money to repair water and sewer systems, to fix our roads, to fund our schools, to pay for health care and to feed our families?
The Pentagon and their corporate leeches are bleeding us dry. It's more than time that we not fall for the propaganda that has been fed to us for so long.