Once considered a ‘wild-card’ for the American ‘Deep-State’ or ‘Military-Industrial-Complex’ (MIC), Donald Trump is now dubbed as a puppet in its hands. The neo-cons hawkish and warmonger’s fear that Trump might become ‘America First’ isolationist, undermining the role and power of military establishment and damaging the profit of military contractors have evaporated in the thin air after he retracted from his promise to depart from the ‘interventionist-policy’ of the previous presidents, especially Barack Obama.
On the contrary, Trump has become the leading proponent of an enhanced and pro-active role of US military in various regions especially in the Middle East geopolitics. His decision to launch missile strike against the Syrian air base, send more US soldiers in Syria and undo nuclear deal with Iran is like music to MIC-sponsored hawkish and warmongers. Moreover, Trump administration provocative and belligerent posture towards North Korea, threatening to launch pre-emptive strikes on Pyongyang with nuclear-capable submarines, warships, and intercontinental ballistic missiles is indicative of the fact that MIC business would continue flourish. Elsewhere in South Asia, Trump administration dropped an 11-ton bomb (mother of all bombs) on eastern Afghanistan and sending more US marines back to Afghanistan’s volatile province, Helmand. So why instead of making good on his promise to depart from Obama’s interventionist’s policies, Trump is furthering his legacy?
In his recent interview with Latin American TeleSUR TV, the Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad has offered a more plausible answer to Trumps rather topsy-turvy. Assad argued that Trump is ‘not a truly independent political leader but merely a puppet of US corporations, military and intelligence, and who serves their interests’. He asserted that Trump pursues ‘no own policies’ but only executes the decisions made by the American-Deep-State or MIC. According to Assad it is ‘American-Deep-State’ (the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms manufacturers, oil companies, and financial institutions) which, by controlling US President and his administration, determines the course of US foreign policy.
Assad’s assertions resonate with the fears and concerns of President Eisenhower and Senator William Fulbright who, six decades ago, had warned the American public of the dangerous rise and power of MIC. In his farewell address to the nation in January 1961, President Eisenhower cautioned the American of the growing nexus between an immense military establishment and a large arms industry whose political, economic and even spiritual influence, he believed, had permeated in every city, every State house, and every office of the Federal government. Against this backdrop, Eisenhower particularly advised the American public to guard against the influence and ever growing power of MIC. He believed that ‘every gun that was made in US, every warship that was launched and every rocket that was fired signified in the final sense, ‘a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed’.
Irrespective of Eisenhower’s warning, the American public and their elected Congressmen failed, by and large, to prevent MIC’s influenced, or, perhaps, controlled Presidents and their administrations from instigating conflicts and wars in various regions. This is because MIC, prior to Eisenhower awakening, had permeated the electoral politics/system of the US, sponsoring and getting elected the ‘pro-MIC’ with ingenious minds like Robert S. McNamara, US Secretary of Defense who had served as the first non-Ford family member and have held the position of president at Ford Company. Playing as a front-man for MIC, McNamara personally oversaw thousands of nuclear weapons, billions of dollars in military spending, foreign arms sales and masterminded a number of military missions, especially the Bay of Pigs invasion. At President Lyndon Johnson behest, McNamara deliberately escalated war in Vietnam, approving the use of lavish firepower in the conduct of war which turned Vietnam into bombs dropping field, where stocks were depleted to warrant new orders. This enabled MIC sponsored warmongers to justify an exponential increase in the defense budget and as defense spending surged well over $600 million with Defense Department spending around $80 million a day on Vietnam War, the MIC began to swim in immense profits. This led none other than Henry Ford to confess that Ford Motor Co., along with other major US banks and corporations belonged to those classes of financiers who not only profited from wars but also used their influence to bring about wars for profit. The dirty and dangerous politics of American Deep State also prompted Senator William Fulbright to speak of MIC as ‘a direct threat to American democracy’.
Thus, Trump is not only a puppet but also a product of the American Deep State which effectively controls and dominates the political and electoral system in the US. Furthermore, the Deep-State has kept the ‘conscious’ and ‘free-judgement’ of peace and freedom loving American hostage to an environment of threats and insecurity. It does this by controlling the production and dissemination of knowledge, information and threat perception. Therefore, for the American Deep State rather than US, ‘the end justifies the means, no values, no morals at all, anything could happen.’
The writer is a Research Fellow in the CSSPR, University of Lahore