Sunday, February 20, 2022

The official enemies racket

  An essential element in any national-security state is the need to keep the citizenry afraid. If people aren’t afraid, they won’t be so eager and willing to continue flooding large amounts of taxpayer largess into the coffers of the national-security establishment. Therefore, central to any national-security state is the need for official enemies, rivals, and opponents.

  Fear was used to justify the conversion of the U.S. government from a limited-government republic to a national-security state after World War II. At that time, the official enemy was “godless communism” and the Soviet Union, principally Russia. (Yes, the same Russia that is an official enemy today.)

  U.S. officials scared the American people to death with the notion that the Reds were coming to get them, take over America, and teach communism to their children in communist-controlled public schools. 

  Never mind that the Soviets had been America’s World War II partner and ally. And never mind that the Soviets had no military capability or financial capability of coming to America, invading the country, defeating the U.S., and occupying the nation. What mattered was that the American people be made to believe that they were in grave danger of having the Reds come and get them.

  Then came Red China. And North Korea. And North Vietnam. And Cuba. And Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. They all were used to keep Americans scared to death of godless communism and the Red Wave. That ensured ever-increasing power and money for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

  In 1963, President Kennedy effectively declared an end to this Cold War racket. He said America’s new policy was to establish peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union and the communist world. 

  It goes without saying that that did not sit well with the U.S. national-security establishment. By failing to appreciate the gravity of the supposed communist threat to America and the world, Kennedy had suddenly become a grave threat to national security. 

  Kennedy’s vision came to an end with his assassination a few months later. Lyndon Johnson reversed his policy and continued the Cold War racket of the national-security establishment. The tax-funded largess continued flowing into the national-security state troughs, from which an ever-growing number of Cold War bureaucrats and “defense” contractors were now feeding.

  In 1989, the Soviets unilaterally declared an end to the Cold War. That, too, did not sit well with the national-security establishment. They wanted the Cold War to continue into perpetuity given its effectiveness in keeping people afraid. Thus, they continued waging the Cold War against China, Cuba, and North Korea on the grounds that these official communist enemies continued posing a grave Red threat to America. That’s why there are sanctions, embargoes, and trade wars waged against these official enemies.

  But U.S. officials never let go of Russia as an official enemy. That’s what the old Cold War dinosaur NATO is all about. Its job was to gobble up former members of the Warsaw Pact and ultimately Ukraine in order to station U.S. missiles, tanks, and troops on Russia’s border. Today, while the “communist” moniker has been abandoned, Russia is still portrayed as an official enemy and an aggressive one at that.

  But today there are also many other official enemies, rivals, opponents, and boogeymen that have come into existence since the ostensible end of the Cold War: terrorism, Islam, Syria, Iran, Muslims, drug dealers, illegal immigrants, ISIS, the Taliban, and others. All of them are used to keep Americans in a state of constant consternation, fear, and dread that they are all coming to get us. 

  Meanwhile, not surprisingly, Congress continues to appropriate ever-increasing amounts of taxpayer largess to the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and their army of “defense” contractors who are supposedly keeping us safe from all these official enemies, rivals, and opponents. It’s one of the best political rackets in history. It’s just a question of whether the American people will ever wake up and recognize how they are being fleeced.

  About the author: Jacob G. Hornberger is the founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

  This article was published by The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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