>Economics and Militarism

Previously, I have written about Smedley Butler. To his views, I now add three additional perspectives.

(1) Chair of Standard Oil in a 1946 speak before the National Foreign Trade Convention, as quoted in School of Assassins (Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, 2001), p. 64: “The goal of U.S. foreign policy was, he said, to insure the ‘safety and stability of our foreign investments.'”

(2) And on the next page of the book we find these quotes by George Kennan, whom Nelson-Pallmeyer calls “the most important U.S. foreign policy planner in the post-World War II period”:

We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population…. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so we have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.

We should cease talk about vague and…unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

(3) Finally, on page 124 he quotes from The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman, a leading journalist and prophet of globalization: “The globalization system cannot hold together…without an activist and generous American foreign policy.” “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist.”

These quotes help explain why the US needs so many bases around the world.

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