Don’t expect much from the thin new GOP majority in the U.S. House – at least anything that will materially turn the ship of state from its headlong dash toward fiscal disaster. That because on the big issues that really count, the beltway lifers who dominate the GOP’s senior ranks and committee/subcommittee chairmanships are on the wrong side!
That starts with the Warfare State and its symbiosis with the Welfare State, intermediated by the log-rolling politicians of the bipartisan duopoly. The fact is, all of Washington’s abominable spending, borrowing and money-printing flows from that deadly coalition of convenience.
But today’s GOP is not about to sever this convenient nexus, and pivot in favor of nonintervention abroad and drastic curtailment of the Washington spending machine at home. This means, in turn, that the vastly bloated $850 billion defense budget, and the neocon foreign policy of global intervention and Forever Wars which it funds, will not likely shed a single dime of its current budgetary obesity.
That’s because the GOP national security leaders are raving neocon interventionists. The worst of these is Rep. Michael McCaul, who has now become chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Like the overwhelming share of the GOP rank and file on the Potomac, he’s never seen a US foreign intervention that he couldn’t embrace lock, stock and barrel.
Thus, he (and they) cheered on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the interventions in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and assorted others; and now is especially whooping it up for proxy war against Russia in Ukraine and hot war with China, if Washington is given half the excuse.
Indeed, McCaul is such an incorrigible interventionist that he see’s fit to prance around the Imperial City as co-chair of the "Congressional Caucus on Sudan and South Sudan"!
You can’t make this up. Both of these notional nations are among the "sh*thole" countries of the world that the Donald once fulminated about. Racked by civil war, poverty, famine, disease and ethnic strife, these two ostensible nations (divided in 2011) have GDPs of $34 billion and $1 billion, respectively, which together amount to the equivalent of 11 hours worth of US economic output.
South Sudan itself has a population of 10 million, with 6 million considered to be victims of famine by the UN, and a per capita income of $100.
And, no, we did not forget any zeros!
Its national income is just $100 per miserable soul in what has become truly one of the hell holes of the planet.
So why might the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, presumably charged with looking after the great issues of America’s homeland security, busy himself with advocating in the halls of Capitol Hill for this absolute cipher among the nations of the earth?
Alas, there happens to be a ready neocon explanation. There always is.
It so happens that the population of South Sudan’s neighbor and the home of its former countrymen, Sudan, is 97% Muslim and allegedly a refuge for various woebegone factions and tiny encampments of Islamic militants.
These wanna be "terrorists," in turn, are alleged to be a threat to the largely Christian population of South Sudan. That is, when the latter are not busy killing each other in what has been a brutal, decade-long civil war there between the Dinka ethnic group, led by a no count politician who is the country’s president and the Nuer ethnic group, led by another adventurer who is vice-president.
As it happened, the post-2011 political tensions between South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Riek Machar erupted into open violence a few years later, with the former announcing that the latter had attempted a coup. In turn, that triggered a widespread outbreak of civil war.
Soon, armed groups targeted civilians along ethnic lines, committed rape and mayhem, destroyed property, looted villages and recruited children into their ranks. At length, starvation and disease stalked the land.
And we do mean this was brutal. The UN’s estimated civilian death count amounts to 4% of the entire population, which on a US scale would be the equivalent of 13 million corpses.
Of course, none of this has the remotest bearing on the safety and liberty of the citizens of Portland ME or Portland OR or anywhere else from sea to shinning sea. But never mind. The "terrorists," whoever they are, must be stopped.
So right on cue, Rep. McCaul has gotten his undies bunched up in a knot owing to a few thousand woebegone Islamic militants domiciled deep in the heart of sub-Saharan Africa.
For crying out loud. It doesn’t get any more ludicrous than this. The predicate, apparently, is that "terrorists" marauding around even the most remote, desolate and godforsaken margins of the planet are an intolerable threat to national security and most be dealt with by the full force of Imperial Washington’s bountiful tool kit of diplomacy, economic aid, security assistance, arms sales, censure, sanctions and military interventions if need be.
But we say, not at all. Washington needn’t give a sh*t about the shenanigans in the Sudans or, for that matter, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Taiwan or most especially, not Russia’s doorstep in Ukraine.
All of this imperial intervention is a throwback to the false predicate of the cold war and the notion that the countries of the world are essentially little more than a long-line of dominoes waiting to be tipped-over into tyranny by any aggressor who shows up on the stage of history.
But it was never true about Soviet communism, which was destined to collapse under the weight of its own misbegotten command-and-control folly, and actually did just that in 1991. And its absolutely not even remotely true today.
None of the alleged domino-tripping "aggressors" on the present scene are a threat to America’s homeland security or to its triad nuclear deterrent. And none could mount the massive conventional force armada that would be required to traverse the great ocean moats that are America’s ultimate safeguard against hostile armies landing on the shores of New Jersey or California.
- Certainly not the late Islamic Caliphate with it armed Toyota pickups and captured US machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades that were once (and temporarily) strewn about the dusty, miserable stretches of the Upper Euphrates;
- Not Russia with a $1.8 trillion GDP compared to the $40 trillion economic expanse of the US and its NATO subalterns;
- Not the great $50 trillion debt Ponzi of China, which would collapse under its own weight even faster than did the Soviet Union were its leaders foolish enough to attack the 5,000 Walmart stores and Amazon warehouses in America on which its economy utterly depends.
Stated differently, the world doesn’t need Washington’s "leadership" or its hegemonic pretensions. The planet is not lurking with latter day Hitler’s and Stalin’s ready to spread tyranny far and wide among falling dominoes if given half the chance.
To the contrary, the totalitarian excrescences which emerged in the 1930s, along with the Great Depression which gave them faint plausibility, were a once in 10,000 years aberration. They arose from the madness of WWI, Woodrow Wilson’s destructive intervention to make the world safe for democracy and the absolute folly of the vindictive peace imposed on Germany by the victors at Versailles.
Indeed, it is more than fair to say that Woodrow Wilson’s foolish declaration of War in April 1917 – when for all practical purposes the Great War had ended in stalemate, exhaustion and bankruptcy among all the original belligerents – changed the course of history and decidedly for the worse.
That is to say, a peace of the exhausted would not have opened the door to Lenin’s storming of the Winter Palace in Czarist Russia. Nor would it have enabled the rise of Hitler in 1920’s Germany on the back of an abandoned army of disgruntled veterans and the revanchist fires ignited by the loss of millions of Germans and related territories to Poland, France and Czechoslovakia at Versailles.
Needless to say, the truth that Hitler and Stalin were nigh to unrepeatable aberrations of history and that the nations of the world are not dominoes perennially fixing to "fall" invalidates the entire GOP/Washington foreign policy framework. Namely, that America is the "indispensable nation," that is must lead through "strength" (whatever that means) and that the business of Washington is to mind everyone else’s business across the length and breadth of the planet.
Indeed, Chairman McCaul’s own website claims exactly that.
In his capacity as the committee’s chairman, McCaul is committed to ensuring we promote America’s leadership on the global stage. In his view, it is essential the United States bolsters international engagement with our allies, counters the aggressive policies of our adversaries, and advances the common interests of nations in defense of stability and democracy around the globe. He will continue to use his national security expertise to work to counter threats facing the United States, especially the increasing threat we face from nation state actors such as China, Iran, Russia, North Korea, among others.
Nothing could be more diametrically opposed to the non-interventionist posture that small government republicans in the Robert Taft tradition once adhered to than the clap-trap contained on McCaul’s website. And there is no way that the nation’s runaway public debt will ever be contained unless the defense budget is cut by 50% or more, and Washington retirees to minding the public’s business within these homeland shores, not the business of the 195 odd nations which stretch to the four corners of the planet.
But McCaul, along with most of the GOP ranks on Capitol Hill, is infected with the hegemony disease. Like Speaker McCarthy and countless other senior Republicans, the man is 60 years old and has been on the public teat most of his adult life, including being a Member of the House since 2004.
He actually thinks, therefore, that his job is to peddle the indispensable nation gospel and to support the bipartisan War Party in its global interventions and adventures – -all the way to, well, the "sh*tholes" known as Sudan and South Sudan.
Not surprisingly, a lame-brain who doesn’t even get the joke about Sudan is putty in the hands of the Washington War machine when it comes to larger, dangerous adventures like the current insane proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.
Here is what McCaul had to say about the latter during an appearance on the Sunday talk shows this past weekend. It is truly a word salad of dangerous idiocy and stunning historical ignorance.
As to the latter, even establishment historians know what the Munich conference between Hitler and Chamberlain was about. To wit, the return of several millions of uprooted Germans in the Sudetenland, who had been seconded to the artificial state of Czechoslovakia at Versailles.
That’s ironic of, of course, because that’s exactly what today’s civil war in the Ukraine is about. The Russian speaking populations of the Donbas and the Black Sea rim were historically citizens of "Novorossiya" (New Russia). It was the bastard son of Wilson’s crusade to make the world safe for democracy, Vladimir Lenin, who put them in Ukraine in 1922 in order to better manage his Soviet tyranny.
I’m working on a bill I’ve introduced to get- we’re getting key Democrats on board. It would be an assistance package of lethal aid to Ukraine. That’s important. But what’s also important is the message of deterrence.
We need joint exercises in Poland, the Baltic states, Romania, Bulgaria to show Putin that we’re serious. Right now. He doesn’t see we’re serious and that’s why the buildup is taking place. I think this all started, MARGARET, with Afghanistan and the unconditional surrender to the Taliban when he saw weakness, weakness invites aggression.
We saw that with Chamberlain and Hitler. You know, Reagan talked about peace through strength. And right now, whether- and-and the thing is, this is not just about Ukraine. It’s about China. It’s about President Xi and Taiwan. It’s about the Ayatollah and the bomb. It’s about North Korea that just fired off two missiles, they said, were, you know, these, you know, these hypersonic weapons. I think this has broader global ramifications. We’re seen as weak right now be-because of President Biden, his-his comments about a limited- a limited invasion was somehow acceptable, and that NATO was divided. I think one thing he said was true is that NATO is divided, and that’s- Putin’s goal is to divide and weaken NATO. He’s accomplished some of that.
As we said, don’t expect much from the GOP’s new majority. Their leaders are part and parcel of the problem.
David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back, and the recently released Great Money Bubble: Protect Yourself From The Coming Inflation Storm. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.