Interventions. The Arms Race

John Scales Avery, “UKRAINE AND THE DANGER OF NUCLEAR WAR,” 14 March 2014, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

… During the period from 1945 to the present, the US interfered, militarily or covertly, in the internal affairs of a large number of nations: China, 1945-49; Italy, 1947-48; Greece, 1947-49; Philippines, 1946-53; South Korea, 1945-53; Albania, 1949-53; Germany, 1950s; Iran, 1953; Guatemala, 1953-1990s; Middle East, 1956-58; Indonesia, 1957-58; British Guiana/Guyana, 1953-64; Vietnam, 1950-73; Cambodia, 1955-73; The Congo/Zaire, 1960-65; Brazil, 1961-64; Dominican Republic, 1963-66; Cuba, 1959-present; Indonesia, 1965; Chile, 1964-73; Greece, 1964-74; East Timor, 1975-present; Nicaragua, 1978-89; Grenada, 1979-84; Libya, 1981-89; Panama, 1989; Iraq, 1990-present; Afghanistan 1979-92; El Salvador, 1980-92; Haiti, 1987-94; Yugoslavia, 1999; and Afghanistan, 2001-present, Syria, 2013-present. Egypt, 2013-present. Most of these interventions were explained to the American people as being necessary to combat communism (or more recently, terrorism), but an underlying motive was undoubtedly the desire to put in place governments and laws that would be favorable to the economic interests of the US and its allies.

For the sake of balance, we should remember that during the Cold War period, the Soviet Union and China also intervened in the internal affairs of many countries, for example in Korea in 1950-53, Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and so on; another very long list. These Cold War interventions were also unjustifiable, like those mentioned above. Nothing can justify military or covert interference by superpowers in the internal affairs of smaller countries, since people have a
right to live under governments of their own choosing even if those governments are not optimal. …

Finally, we must remember the role of the arms race in the origin of World War I, and ask what parallels we can find in today’s world. England was the first nation to complete the first stages of the Industrial Revolution. Industrialism and colonialism are linked, and consequently England obtained an extensive colonial empire. In Germany, the Industrial Revolution occurred somewhat later. However, by the late 19th century, Germany had surpassed England in steel production, and, particularly at the huge Krupp plants in Essen, Germany was turning to weapons production. The Germans felt frustrated because by that time there were fewer opportunities for the acquisition of colonies.

According to the historian David Stevensen (1954 – ), writing on the causes of World War I, “A self-reinforcing cycle of heightened military preparedness… was an essential element in the conjuncture that led to disaster… The armaments race… was a necessary precondition for the outbreak of hostilities.”

Today, the seemingly endless conflicts that threaten to destroy our beautiful world are driven by what has been called “The Devil’s Dynamo”. In many of the larger nations of the world a military-industrial complex seems to have enormous power. Each year the world spends roughly 1,700,000,000.000 US dollars on armaments, almost 2 trillion. This vast river of money, almost too large to be imagined, pours into the pockets of weapons manufacturers, and is used by them to control governments. This is the reason for the seemingly endless cycle of threats to peace with which the ordinary people of the world are confronted. Constant threats are needed to justify the diversion of such enormous quantities of money from urgently needed social projects into the bottomless pit of war. …

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