The history of American nation Essay
Looking at the history of American nation, it becomes evident that the U. S. has continued to engage in war for the reasons that are different from the defense of our country and our free way of life. The true purpose of wars is to give rise to the military-industrial complex that will ensure vast benefits for those in power. There are three major arguments to prove the cause-and-effect relationship between U. S. engagement in wars and the resources accrued by those connected with the military-industrial complex.
First of all, this essay shows the linkage between war and growth of military-related industries; secondly, the relationship between key business figures in the military-industrial complex and political establishment is shown; thirdly, the degree of influence of the military-industrial over American foreign policy is demonstrated. Proof Reason # 1: While wars have had varying overall effects on the U. S. economy, they definitely fueled the development of the military-industrial complex.
Therefore, wartime production of the military-industrial complex has been soaring throughout the American history. America’s considerable involvement in major international conflicts started with the World War II. The U. S. got involved in the World War II only at the closing stages of the conflict, when the victory over fascism was secured by its European allies. U. S. entry in the World War II boosted the growth of the military-industrial complex, and that was one of the major reasons behind the decision to engage in it.
It can be argued that the U. S. entry into World War II actually ended the Great Depression. Large sums of defense spending pulled the US economy out of the Depression for the ample reason that such fields as defense and security are fairly labor-intensive. The necessity to manufacture war supplies had given rise to a powerful military-industrial complex. War machine demanded scientific innovations, so the war stimulated important research. The military-industrial complex came to play a significant role in the overall structure of the economy.
The situation is not without controversy with the Cold War and ‘proxy wars’ the two superpowers waged during that historical epoch. The evidence suggests that both superpowers are equally to blame for the degree of international tension characteristic of the international system in post-World War II era because of the arms race. The arms race offered numerous lucrative profiteering opportunities for everyone in the military and defense industry. While there was no direct necessity to engage in proxy wars, they were necessary to boost the development of the military-industrial complex.
For example, careful analysis of Cuban missile crisis clearly indicates that America could have avoided many dangerous escalations by acting more wisely and consistently. Kai Bird (2000) argues that the placement of the missiles on Cuba might have resulted in the World War III outbreak. The case with Vietnam is equally controversial. The conflict in Vietnam could have been avoided, but the representatives of the political establishment were afraid of loosing the Asian continent to communists and had to demonstrate that the U. S. possessed a superior military arsenal.
But the question whether the Vietnam War was an adequate response to communism in those times, is still open. Military response seemed more appealing for the economic reasons listed above. It is possible to conclude that the U. S. involvement in wars has served the purpose of developing its military-industrial complex. Reason # 2: The development of the military-industrial complex also ensures vast benefits for those in power. The fact that American interests are promoted by military means suggests that the links between the military-industrial complex and political elite have not been severed.
Robert Higgs (1995) suggests that starting with the years preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor the military industry has been so interconnected with American politics that the proper name of the phenomenon should be the military-industrial-congressional complex. Major companies involved in defense contracting, such as Lockheed, Litton, General Dynamics, Chrysler, and Grumman, often enjoy politicians’ preferential treatment and have their say in both foreign and national affairs. The situation has only aggravated in the recent years.
Foreign policy of the Bush administration is aimed at forcing the rest of the world not only into Western values, but also Western-type economic relations by military means. Michael Moore (2004) in Fahrenheit 911 suggested that personal and business connections between the Bush family, his surroundings, and the military-industrial complex influenced the development of the U. S. foreign policy. As George McGovern (2003, para. 3) states, ‘[t]he invasion of Iraq and other costly wars now being planned in secret are fattening the ever-growing military-industrial complex.
’ Such an approach has little to do with establishing democracy and free market, as it has been claimed before the war. Reason # 3: It is quite self-evident that the complex’s raison d’etre is the production of arms and equipment for subsequent use in military operations. Together with personal links and preferential treatment, the rise of the military-industrial complex influences the ideological underpinnings of the American foreign policy. Thomas Friedman, one of the influential thinkers on American policy, writes the following:
‘The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist – McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15’ (Solomon, 2007, para. 4). This is the dominant mindset in the foreign policy establishment dictated by the links with the military-industrial complex. For this reason, nowadays the primary direction of the U. S. foreign policy supposes unilateral and offensive action for the purpose of keeping weapon production high under the plausible pretence of strengthening world democracy and liberty. After analyzing U. S.
unilateralism and the Gulf War, the operations in the SFRY and Afghanistan, it becomes evident that these policies only served the goal of enrichment of those associated with the military-industrial complex. U. S. current involvement in Iraq is perhaps the most conspicuous example of American unilateral use of force without a direct threat to its population. U. S. foreign policy rhetoric cannot hide the real agenda behind any military involvement. The attack on Iraq was positioned as a preemptive action in order to secure the U. S. citizens from possible threats Iraq posed.
However, there was no evidence of WMDs or plans of an attack on the U. S. found before or during the operation. Thus, the American policy foreign and ideology behind it are shaped by the links between the political establishment and military-industrial complex. Refutation Speaking about the World War II, American involvement in this major international conflict was legitimized by the reasons of defending its national security (after the Pearl Harbor, there were no doubts as to the existence of the direct threat to American citizery) and its values against the horrors of fascism.
As for the Cold War, there was a threat to American values and social organization posed by the threat of communism. The proponents of the Vietnam War considered involvement to be a better option than staying aside. Current U. S. foreign policy is justified by the imminent threat of global terrorism. 9/11 attacks prove the necessity of preemptive action as a method of enhancing homeland security. Development of the military-industrial complex is an adequate response to the threats that have been posed by competing ideology or is posed by global terrorism.
Conclusion: Taking into account all the aforementioned evidence, it is possible to conclude that the U. S. does not engage in wars merely for the reasons of protecting its citizens and values. There has been a hidden agenda, the development of the military-industrial complex, behind any major military involvement of the U. S. government throughout the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century.
Bird, K. The Color of Truth. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. Higgs, R.World War II and the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex. The Independent. May 1, 1995. November 5, 2007.
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