U.S. Defense Document: ‘Defense Strategic Guidance’

Barack Obama’s Defense Department has released a memo (“Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense“) reiterating the strategy of the U.S. government. Particularly of interest is the continuing hostility towards Iran, and U.S. government threats and plans for forcible regime change in that country.

Under the heading of ‘Counter Terrorism and Irregular Warfare’, the memo says that:

“U.S. military forces must continue to hold al-Qa’’ida and its affiliates and adherents under constant pressure, wherever they may be.”

That is, the U.S. will continue to intervene in countries without their permission, including when permission is explicitly denied, even if those nations explicitly agree with U.S.’s claimed aims of the elimination of terrorism (which many do; and all implicitly do because, what people, after all, are interested in promoting terrorism within their countries?).

An instance of this is the U.S.’s 25-26 November 2011 incursion into Pakistan, against the wishes of the Pakistani government, and without their knowledge, which ended in a prolonged firefight which killed at least 24 Pakistani soldiers. The U.S. Department of Defense statement placed blame for their violation of Pakistan’s national sovereignty partly on the Pakistani government, saying that U.S. forces “acted in self defense and with appropriate force after being fired upon”. Yes, “self-defense” while they were in another country. No mention is made of the fact that the violation was launched from Afghanistan – another nation whose national sovereignty the U.S. violated in the incident – and has violated through occupation for over 10 years, three months.

The pretext of fighting al-Qa’ida – who by the most liberal of estimations has barely a few thousand members, and likely less than a few hundred – is used to launch invasions, occupations, and bombings (such as drone attacks) on nations all across the Middle East and Africa (such as Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Libya). U.S. claims that the government of Iran supports terrorism and commits it directly itself, is one such pretext it is using to build the case for a U.S. intervention in that country.

The document continues:

Achieving our core goal of disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al-Qa’’ida and preventing Afghanistan from ever being a safe haven again will be central to this effort.” (italics in original)

Like Iraq, the U.S. won’t completely leave Afghanistan. But the this document confirms that the pretexts which the U.S. government used to invade Iraq and Afghanistan will remain in place indefinitely - and will be expanded to other countries. The Obama government will continue to violate the national sovereignty of these nations, without their permission, at any time, for any reasons, under the cover of ‘fighting terrorists’. Note the phrase: “preventing Afghanistan from ever being a safe haven again” (italics in original). This effort will not be left up to Afghans to solve like any other national problem. Instead, the U.S. will intervene whenever it sees fit. That is, it will never give Afghanistan back control over its own affairs (that is the real reason the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the first place: to eliminate any remaining pretense that it is a sovereign nation). ”Fighting terrorists”, naturally, is not the real reason for the interventions, which revolve around the strategic positioning of the United States government in the region, including maintaining its control and access to its natural materials and position in relation to Africa and Asia – but one reason is all the U.S. needs to justify its interventions, and its the reason which has worked well for over a decade.

Under a heading titled ’Deter and Defeat Aggression’[sic], the memo reads:

Credible deterrence results from both the capabilities to deny an aggressor the prospect of achieving his objectives and from the complementary capability to impose unacceptable costs on the aggressor.” (italics in original)

An ‘aggressor nation’ (not the U.S.!!) is any nation whose interests conflict with those of American capitalists (the U.S. is “a nation with important interests in multiple regions” the memo frankly reads). Iran and China are listed explicitly. Ironically, while Chinese elites certainly benefit from the exploitation other nations just like the U.S. does (increasingly so in Africa for example), China does not attempt to challenge the U.S. militarily. So ‘aggression’ on the part of China, is decidedly never military aggression against the United States. Yet the memo claims it is. Similarly with Iran: Iran has not invaded another nation in several hundred years. This is in stark comparison to the U.S. which has hundreds of military bases all around the world, has overthrown dozens of governments over the past century, and is constantly promoting and waging imperial war all around the globe.

The U.S., as the imperial power, reserves the right of invasion, occupation, and forcible regime change:

“This includes being able to secure territory and populations and facilitate a transition to stable governance on a small scale for a limited period using standing forces and, if necessary, for an extended period with mobilized forces. Even when U.S. forces are committed to a large-scale operation in one region, they will be capable of denying the objectives of –– or imposing unacceptable costs on –– an opportunistic aggressor in a second region.” (italics in original)

“Stable government” (like Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s call for an “orderly transition” after the first stage of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011) means a government which will actively cooperatve with U.S. interests and aims. This includes after rebellions and revolts which oust U.S.-backed dictators; under such circumstances an ‘orderly transition’ means fast stabilisation back to conditions favourable to U.S. power (revolt, rebellion, and revolution by people themselves stands against the interests of the U.S. government and its capitalist overlords). It does not mean the promotion of peace and order in places where it would not be beneficial to the United States, such as along the U.S.-Mexican border which could be achieved through the legalisation of drugs, for instance. Nor does it mean in Palestine where peace could be achieved through cutting all aid to the apartheid state of Israel. U.S. elites aren’t interested in that kind of ‘order’. Order for elites to profit off of human suffering, not for working people to bring about democracy and equality.

Throughout the document the U.S. repeatedly makes references of this kind to Iran – whose government it wishes to overthrow.

This is, the memo claims, to counter “[s]tates such as China and Iran [that] will continue to pursue asymmetric means to counter [the U.S. government's] power projection capabilities”. “Assymetrical means” refers to nations that do not have a global network of military bases and forces (i.e.: all of them). So, for example, the violent and continual illegal actions of the CIA – which are always denied – does not make the U.S. a nation that uses asymmetrical warfare (though this is the definition of of it), while mere claims that the Iranian government supports terrorism gives Barack Obama’s government the cover for defining Iran as such a nation (evidence is never provided; and in any case, can never be trusted – consider the lies around Iraq for instance).

Under a section titled ’Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction’, the memo reads:

“U.S. forces conduct a range of activities aimed at preventing the proliferation and use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. These activities include implementing the Cooperative Threat Reduction (Nunn-Lugar) Program, and planning and operations to locate, monitor, track, interdict and secure WMD and WMD-related components and the means and facilities to make them. They also include an active whole-of-government effort to frustrate the ambitions of nations bent on developing WMD, to include preventing Iran’’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. In partnership with other elements of the U.S. Government, DoD will continue to invest in capabilities to detect, protect against, and respond to WMD use, should preventive measures fail.”

Like the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. is trying to build up support and cover for an intervention in Iran – or any other country which it claims has weapons of mass destruction. Left out of the equation is the fact that the largest stockpiler and proliferator of weapons of mass destruction – by far – is the United States government.

The memo goes on and on like this. It isn’t very long and it’s very revealing. You can read it here.

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