With tensions rising with multiple geopolitical rivals, the U.S. military-industrial complex is preparing itself for World War 3.
The Pentagon has concluded that it is a question of when, not if, an armed conflict with Russia and/or China begins. Now preparations are underway to ensure that the U.S. is ready for such a war, writes Patrick Martin for The World Socialist Website.
U.S. officials discuss plans for World War 3
On Tuesday there were three congressional hearings which showed how far advanced these preparations are. The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on cyberwarfare, a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee discussed the US aircraft carrier fleet and another talked about the modernization of U.S. nuclear weapons.
There were no discussion of the implications of World War 3, only plans for how the U.S. could prevail. As such, the idea of World War 3 is being normalized in the minds of policy planners.
Attendees discussed previous meetings and ideas, illustrating that the plans have been being drawn up over an extended period of time. Far from being a response to recent geopolitical events, they are part of a longstanding scheme.
Democrats and Republicans alike think war is inevitable
At each of the hearings a conflict between major world powers was discussed in a short time frame. War is predicted to occur in a matter of years rather than decades, and it will be with other nation-states rather than terrorist groups.
The hearings were devoted to working out which technologies, assets and human resources the U.S. needs to win such a war, and the acceptance of inevitable conflict was evident among Democrats as well as Republicans. Although the media reports that Washington is divided along party lines, on this issue politicians seem to agree: the U.S. is preparing for World War 3.
However there remain a number of problems for politicians to resolve. One issue is the declining economic power of the U.S. compared to its rivals, and the increasing divisions in U.S. society as the working class and the young become more isolated.
Societal divisions increasing as result of U.S. militarism
In discussions about aircraft carriers a top Navy admiral bemoaned the fact that the U.S. had only 11 colossal aircraft carriers rather than the 21 it really needs to confront the multiple challenges the country faces. However maintaining a fleet of such a size would bankrupt a country even with far more resources than the U.S.
Internal divisions were raised during the Senate hearing on cybersecurity. During the meeting retired Gen. Keith Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency and former head of the Pentagon’s CyberCommand, said that “insider attacks,” such as those carried out by Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, represented a serious threat.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia asked Alexander, “Should we treat him as a traitor?” in reference to Snowden. Alexander responded, “He should be treated as a traitor and tried as such.”
World War 3 a dangerous prospect for U.S. ruling elite
While individual whistleblowers like Snowden and Manning have grabbed the headlines, the attendees demonstrated that internal opposition has grown far larger than these two. The U.S. population is increasingly critical of military intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and across North Africa.
These same working people would be a major component in the U.S. war effort against another major world power such as China or Russia. Assuming that politicians could prevent such a war from deteriorating into a nuclear exchange, American citizens would have to mobilize both economic human capital to support the war effort.
Such a mobilization would involve a huge deterioration in living standards for many Americans, not to mention the fact that many young men would die in combat. As we have seen in past conflicts, these young men tend to be the children of the working class.
Now that the population is more aware of the U.S. role in conflicts around the world, people are becoming more vocal in their opposition to U.S. militarism. The Vietnam War marked the first time that conscription was met with serious public opposition and draft defiance, and since then the U.S. Army has been made up of volunteers. If World War 3 broke out it would inspire the restoration of the draft, provoking serious opposition from those families asked to bear the human cost of war.
Such widespread opposition to World War 3 would put the cohesion of U.S. society to the test, even though repressive police powers would probably be increased. The U.S. ruling elite must surely be worried that the political impact of World War 3 could bring the established system crashing down around their ears.