Category Archives: The Military Industrial Complex

U. S. & China are new Competitors in an old, obscure, but important island dispute

A tug of war between China and America in the Indian Ocean

Saltwire: Atlantic Canada News Service — Sept. 6, 2023

The Chagos islands, with Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean

Most of the international community regards the Chagos Islands as belonging to Mauritius, from which they were detached in 1965.
Henry Srebrnik, a professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island, provided the following opinion article.

Is the sun about to set on Britain’s control of the Chagos Islands? This archipelago of around 60 islands can be found halfway between East Africa and Southeast Asia. They are over 1,500 kilometres south of India, and even further from Mauritius, from which they were detached in 1965.

The Chagos group is currently governed by London as the British Indian Ocean Territory, but most of the international community regards it as belonging to Mauritius.

Also at stake is the future of the indigenous population, the Chagossians, who were expelled from their homes in the 1960s and 1970s. For decades, Britain has blocked them from returning to their islands. For what reason? And why has this become the centre of a power struggle between the United States and China?

Unlawful occupation Continue reading U. S. & China are new Competitors in an old, obscure, but important island dispute

You Could See It Coming — CNN: Army ABANDONS anti-extremism effort

Anybody remember this story?

DOD Stand-Down to Address Extremism in the Ranks

Today, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III signed a memo directing commanding officers and supervisors at all levels to select a date within the next 60 days to conduct a one-day “stand-down” to discuss extremism in the ranks with their personnel.

The Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1325.06, ” Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces” provides the core tenets to support such discussions. Leaders have the discretion to tailor discussions with their personnel as appropriate, but such discussions should include the importance of our oath of office; a description of impermissible behaviors; and procedures for reporting suspected, or actual, extremist behaviors in accordance with the DoDI.

The memo can be found here.

[NOTE: Austin sounded serious: after all, he spoke less than a month after the Jan. 6 coup attempt, when dozens of veterans and active duty military were in the invasion of the Capitol, leaving several dead and more than 150 wounded, disrupting the electoral count,  sending members of Congress running and hiding for their lives, and chants of “Hang Mike Pence!” echoing in the supposedly hallowed hallways.

But that was then.

This is now. Or more precisely, about a week ago, May 20, 2023]:

Continue reading You Could See It Coming — CNN: Army ABANDONS anti-extremism effort

Say Hello to The New “Antiwar” Movement: It’s Already Winning

Back in the day, the Vietnam years, resisters against the military draft could muster an occasional bit of whimsy. A favorite button was about beer.

But if truth is the first casualty of war, for many of us whimsy and a sense of humor were soon missing in action too. Draft resistance became a mass movement: marches, sit-ins, draft files turned into bonfires, show trials of high profile protesters. It was a gripping, sometimes heroic, often grim time, and as the war dragged on, not a lot of laughs. In 1970, a movie was released called Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came?” Billed as a comedy-drama; it was a total flop. Continue reading Say Hello to The New “Antiwar” Movement: It’s Already Winning

Alfred McCoy on the Rise of China

[NOTE: In 2008, Al McCoy was a main speaker at a conference on U. S. torture that I helped organize. Both his talk and his academic record marked him as a scholar to reckon with on matters of foreign policy and empire. This record drew me to this new analysis of the rapid shifts of power and empire, especially in the context of the Ukraine war.]

The Rise of China (and the Fall of the U.S.?)

Posted on

By Alfred McCoy, a historian and educator. He is the Fred Harvey Harrington Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and author of To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change. O published at TomDispatch.

From the ashes of a world war that killed 80 million people and reduced great cities to smoking rubble, America rose like a Titan of Greek legend, unharmed and armed with extraordinary military and economic power, to govern the globe.

Continue reading Alfred McCoy on the Rise of China

Sweden, Finland, NATO, Neutrals & Nukes: A Concise Analysis

[NOTE: These two short columns offer an admirable review of two key moments in the impact of Putin’s Ukraine invasion  on my own thinking.

When I imagined these countries as actual places (which, I admit, wasn’t often), my speculation was that they held to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” stance vis-a-vis the USSR/Russia on one side, and the West, which meant the US-NATO war machine on the other.

In a nuclear “exchange” between these two behemoths, northern Scandinavians, whatever their political notions, would likely go up in the planetary puff of smoke.

That idea was crude, tho probably not entirely wrong. But what about a big, but not-(yet)apocalyptic war, in which one behemoth invaded a nearby country, in a retro-style imperial power grab?

Such a scheme seemed unlikely, outlandish: it was so twentieth (or even nineteenth) century, totally antique.

But then, that’s the big war the Swedes and Finns suddenly faced.  

Even many experts weren’t expecting it. Gwynne Dyer wasn’t, and his doctorate is in military studies, and he’s been observing/reporting on militaries and wars for decades.

Nor were Dyer and Co. expecting what happened next: the powerful Ukrainian resistance — and the radical response in northern Scandinavia.

Not being any kind of expert, I wasn’t expecting any of this either.  But of the two, the leap out of 275 years of neutrality into NATO was the bigger shock to my thinking (doubtless this reflects my safe “social location”; it would have felt very different if I was in a Kyiv or Mariupol cellar, with Russian artillery shells falling all around).

Dyer reacted quickly. These two columns, from late last spring make all sort of sense of the Sweden/Finland move. They’re not “news” now, but they show how, almost overnight, both the rulers and citizens there woke up, with their world shaking, and realized they weren’t neutral anymore. It also explains much of why I woke up late last February, and found I wasn’t neutral either. I join with those who want Ukraine to be free.]Two Columns by Gwynne Dyer
Farewell Neutrality: Sweden and Finland

By Gwynne Dyer
16 May 2022

It’s easy to imagine Vladimir Putin coming into the shop marked ‘Sweden’, breaking some fine china accidentally on purpose, and growling: ‘Nice little shop you’ve got here. It would be a pity if something happened to it.’

But Sweden is not a pottery shop, Putin is not a Mafia capo, and what’s going on in the Baltic now is not a protection racket. Continue reading Sweden, Finland, NATO, Neutrals & Nukes: A Concise Analysis