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Making Money on a New Cold War August 24, 2008

Posted by infidelkafirwatch in Uncategorized.
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The Russia-Georgia clash has generated heated anti-Moscow rhetoric from John McCain and U.S. neoconservatives about a new Cold War, a prospect that most people might see in a negative light but which many military contractors surely view as a financial plus.

One unstated reality about revived tensions between Washington and Moscow is that it will mean a bonanza in military spending – billions of additional dollars for anti-missile weapons systems, larger armies, construction of new bases in Eastern Europe, etc.

Indeed, the spending on Cold War II could dwarf what military contractors are now making on the “war on terror” – and the prospect of spending on both conflicts simultaneously should make arms industry executives drool.

Others who stand to profit grandly from a new East-West showdown include tough-talking politicians and their friends in Washington think tanks – like Heritage, AEI and CSIS – that have long fattened up on contributions from the defense industry and related corporations.

There would be losers, too, like taxpayers who would see more of their dollars go to “national security” and less to domestic needs, from repairs to the crumbling infrastructure to the costs of health care, education, the environment and Social Security.

But, in many ways, the exploitation of Cold War fears – to divert money away from domestic needs to the coffers of what Dwight Eisenhower dubbed “the military-industrial complex” – is nothing new.

Arguably, the original Cold War ended under Eisenhower’s former Vice President, Richard Nixon, who as President returned from Moscow in 1972 carrying a strategic agreement that he had reached with what was already a rapidly decaying Soviet Union.

“In Moscow, we witnessed the beginning of the end of that era which began in 1945,” Nixon said. “With this step, we have enhanced the security of both nations. We have begun to reduce the level of fear, by reducing the causes of fear, our two peoples, and for all the peoples of the world.”

Nixon unveiled a new era of realpolitik cooperation between Washington and Moscow that he called “détente.”

However, while reducing fears and lowering tensions might be good news for many people, it wasn’t welcomed by the corporations that profited from the fears and the tensions, nor by the intellectual hired guns who had built lucrative careers in politics, media and academia by exaggerating those fears and exacerbating those tensions.

Sabotaging Détente

So, Nixon’s era of “détente” was short-lived. After his ouster over the Watergate scandal in 1974, a new batch of Cold Warriors – some operating from conviction and others from expediency – returned to the old patterns of hyping threats and stoking paranoia.

In 1975, with President Gerald Ford confronting an internal Republican challenge from Ronald Reagan on the Right, many key figures associated with “détente” were purged, while hard-liners were given key jobs.

The so-called Halloween Massacre saw Henry Kissinger, the chief architect of détente, stripped of his post as national security adviser to be replaced by Gen. Brent Scowcroft; James Schlesinger was out as Defense Secretary while Donald Rumsfeld was in; CIA Director William Colby lost his job to George H.W. Bush; and Dick Cheney was promoted to Ford’s White House chief of staff.

Soon, alarming rumors began spreading around Washington about a new Soviet secret weapon, a nuclear-armed submarine that was undetectable to American technology. These Soviet subs could be lurking off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts ready to launch a nuclear attack without warning, a frightened public was told.  [read more]

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