Door #1-Ebola Safety, Door #2-WW III: US Chooses Door #2
According to Patrick Martin in “Political issues in the Ebola crisis”, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has infected more than 8,000 people and 4,000 have died. There are no signs that this outbreak is about to be controlled.
The collapsed healthcare systems of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, among the poorest countries in the world, support that perspective. According to Martin, only 20% of the at-risk populations have access to medical care. Ebola tragically has killed residents of African rural areas in the past. But now it has the potential to become a “global plague”. Liberia has a population of one million. The epidemic has reached the urban center of Monrovia. It could soon strike more populated countries like Nigeria and travel to South and East Asia.
According to Martin the clearly inadequate US as well as global response to this Ebola epidemic already proves that capitalism is a system that FAILS HUMANITY. Profits uber alles, and that includes people, no matter what the scenario. No matter how many.
Martin on the “world of capitalism” as creator of the conditions for an Ebola epidemic as well as an under-responder to it:
A society organized on the basis of production for private gain and divided into antagonistic nation-states, with a handful of imperialist powers dominating the rest, is incapable of the systematic, energetic and humane response that this crisis requires. ...
It is no accident that the Ebola outbreak takes place in countries that are former colonies of imperialist powers. Guinea was a French colony, Sierra Leone a British colony, and Liberia a de facto US colony since its founding by freed American slaves. Despite their nominal independence, each country remains dominated by giant corporations and banks based in the imperialist countries, which extract vast profits from the mineral wealth and other natural resources. ...
These countries are unable to provide even rudimentary healthcare services to their populations, not because they lack resources, but because they are exploited and oppressed by a global economic system controlled by Wall Street and other financial and commodity markets. This economic system is so unequal that the 85 richest individuals on the planet control more wealth than the poorest three billion people, nearly half of humanity.
But the response to the Ebola crisis is carried out by national governments driven by competing national interests, and concerned, not with the danger of the virus to the world’s people, but with how it affects the interests of the ruling class in each nation. ...
Martin explains that the Obama administration is sending 4,000 US troops to Liberia to ostensibly build health treatment centers. Martin asks why heavily armed soldiers who know nothing about Ebola or who know little about the practical construction of health care facilities? Since healthcare workers and journalists are becoming infected, why would soldiers not be at high risk to contract Ebola as well, and to bring it home to their families? The three impacted countries are in desperate need of effective health care workers as well as serious help improving quality of life challenges such as insufficent sanitation. This must be done not only for their welfare but for the welfare of the entire world population.
The real agenda of Washington is to secure a basis for its Africa Command (AFRICOM), up to now excluded from the continent by local opposition, thus advancing the interests of American imperialism against its rivals, particularly China.
Martin reminds us that the potential of Ebola as a global plague is not a new fear. There have been specialized studies, books and even popular movies about the possibility such as The Andromeda Strain, Outbreak, 28 Days. But Martin maintains the “profit system” will not make the Ebola outbreak a serious priority even though the dire consequences if strong action is not taken are predictable. Predictable to all except a corporatist, sociopathic mindset, which, by the way, now completely controls the US government and its military.
The detection of Ebola in the mid-1970s should have been the occasion for the launching of an intensive effort to study the virus, analyze how it is transmitted and develop antidotes and a vaccine. This did not take place, in large measure, as a report last month suggested, because the giant pharmaceutical companies that control medical research saw little profit in saving the lives of impoverished villagers in rural Africa (see “Profit motive big hurdle for Ebola drugs”).
What little research has been conducted on possible cures and vaccines was funded by the US Pentagon, for dubious reasons: at best, to protect US soldiers who might be deployed to the jungles of central Africa as an imperialist invasion force; at worst, to determine whether the virus could be weaponized for use against potential enemies.
Martin sees the only serious and saving response to the Ebola crisis as “an internationally coordinated” one. This would require vast resources and international cooperation to prevent a global scale outbreak!
It would mean the mobilization of doctors, nurses, public health workers and scientists from America, Europe, Russia, China and the rest of the world to fight back against a deadly threat to the entire human race. And it would mean taking control of this response out of the hands of the national military establishments, particularly the Pentagon, and the giant pharmaceutical firms, one of the most corrupt and rapacious detachments of big business.
In “US Army drafts blueprint for World War III” Bill Van Auken and David North address the profound escalation of military violence in the Middle East. The "deciders" of such violence will not be distracted from their quest for full spectrum military and economic dominance by a potential global plague.
Van Auken and North:
... the United States Army has unveiled a new document entitled the Army Operating Concept (AOC), which provides a “vision of future armed conflict” that has the most ominous implications. It is the latest in a series of documents in which the Pentagon has elaborated the underlying strategy of preventive war that was unveiled in 1992—that is, the use of war as a means of destroying potential geopolitical and economic rivals before they acquire sufficient power to block American domination of the globe.
The document was formally released at this week’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference, an annual event bringing together senior officers and Defense Department officials for a series of speeches and panel discussions, along with a giant trade show mounted by arms manufacturers to show off their latest weapons systems and pursue lucrative Pentagon contracts.
Van Auken and North disclose that General Raymond Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, now regrets telling Congress in 2012 that the Army could manage with ONLY 490,000 active-duty soldiers, 205,000 reservists and 350,000 Natonal Guard soldiers, making a total of over one million American troops. As the Pentagon more and more embraces “full spectrum dominance” over the entire planet, American “boots on the ground” is not a question. There WILL be American “boots on the ground.” EVERYWHERE!
Van Auken and North:
The only logical explanation for this paranoid scenario is that the US military views every country beyond its borders as a potential enemy. Starting from the premise that the environments, the enemies, the locations and the coalitions involved in future conflicts are unknown, the US Army requires a strategy for war against all states and peoples. This strategy is derived from the unstated, underlying imperative that US imperialism exert hegemony over the entire planet, its markets and resources, and that it be prepared to militarily annihilate any rival that stands in its way.
The document states bluntly that the “character of armed conflict” will be influenced primarily by “shifts in geopolitical landscape caused by competition for power and resources.” For the Army’s top brass, such wars for imperialist domination are a certainty.
The Army’s strategic aim, according to the document, is to achieve “overmatch,” which it defines as “the application of capabilities or use of tactics in a way that renders an adversary unable to respond effectively.”
What do these words entail? In the case of a confrontation with another nuclear power, they encompass the implementation of a first-strike doctrine of mass annihilation. In regard to the subjugation and domination of other areas of the globe, they call for massive ground operations to quell popular resistance and enforce military occupation.
Van Auken and North point out that after over a decade of the “global war on terror” we are leaving Al Qaeda-ville and the new far more ambitious mission of the "US military-intelligence apparatus" will be confrontation with “transnational enemies” that include China and Russia!!!
In the case of China, the document evinces serious concern over Chinese “force modernization efforts,” which it says are aimed at achieving “stability along its periphery,” something that the US military is determined to block. China’s military efforts, it states, “highlight the need for Army forces positioned forward or regionally engaged,” and for “Army forces to project power from land into the air, maritime, space and cyberspace domains.”
Based on recent events in Ukraine, the document accuses Russia of being “determined to expand its territory and assert its power on the Eurasian landmass,” precisely US imperialism’s own strategic goal. Only a powerful deployment of US ground forces, it argues, can deter Russian “adventurism” and “project national power and exert influence in political conflicts.”
The hegemonic and dooming new Pentagon document also takes aim at Iran “for pursuing comprehensive military modernization” and “undermining” the US Army forces quest for energy resources for the US. BLOOD FOR OIL! The mission has never changed, only exponentially escalated since 9/11's opportunity to pretend US global offensiveness had anything to do with national security defense.
Even MORE chilling, if that is possible, is how the AOC Pentagon document addresses future US military operations to “respond and mitigate crises in the homeland” for “defense support of civil authorities.” Further erosion of what remains of our human and civil rights. Ever more a police state!
Van Auken and North predict that the ambitions of the US military elite will not be satisfied with minor congressional adjustments to the already colossal military budget. The kind of massive military buildup they are envisioning and that the corporate elite is demanding will require “universal conscription” -- a draft, and a massive one.
Van Auken and North darkly conclude:
The AOC document is stark testimony to a military run amuck. Involved in these strategic conceptions are advanced preparations for fighting a Third World War, combined with the institution within the US itself of a military dictatorship in all but name.
The founders of the United States repeatedly expressed grave distrust of a standing army. The military as it presently exists and its plan for global warfare represent a hideous modern-day realization of their nightmare scenario. The implementation of this doctrine of total war is wholly incompatible with democratic rights and constitutional government within the US. It requires the ruthless suppression of any political opposition and all social struggles mounted by the American working class.
Within the US ruling establishment and its two political parties, there exists no serious opposition to carrying the militarization of life within the so-called “homeland” to its ultimate conclusion. Civilian control of the military has been turned into a dead letter, with politicians routinely bowing to the generals on matters of policy, both foreign and domestic.
[cross-posted on open salon]