Civilian control of the military has been a central tenet of democratic governance. The trenchant warning from retiring President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the dangers to democracy from a permanent “military-industrial complex” is the most memorable presidential farewell warning in our history. The civil-military gap has widened over the years, starting with the controversy over the Vietnam War in the 1970s; the Goldwater-Nichols Act in the 1980s; and the Global War on Terror in the wake of the attacks in New York City and Washington in 2001. Our bloated defense budget, which accounts for more than one trillion dollars when all departments of government are included and two-thirds of discretionary spending, contributes to the belief that only a professional military class can manage the sophisticated technology of the Pentagon.
Read more on CounterPunch
Recent News and Latest Book
What Russian Folklore Can Tell Us About Russia
Russian history is largely the history of war, as Russia found itself engaged in military confrontation between the 13th and 20th centuries. For most of its history, Russia anticipated confrontation on its long border with China in the East; with the legacy of the Mongols on its “sensitive southern frontier,” and with the Western invaders—Napoleon and Hitler. Putin and his ilk come by their paranoia, xenophobia, and siege mentality quite naturally.
U.S. Intelligence Boasting Intensifies Russian-American Proxy War
York Times’s international affairs columnist Thomas Friedman is arguably the most influential editorial writer in the country. Last week, his editorial aptly warned the Biden administration of the “huge unintended consequences” of its unplanned and impromptu remarks regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin and the savagery of his tactics in Ukraine. Friedman reprised the World War II slogan, “Loose lips sink ships.”