Over the past two weeks, with next to no media coverage, the United States has moved substantially closer toward open military confrontation with both Russia and China, the second- and third-ranked nuclear powers in the world.
On October 3, the United States threatened, for the first time since the Cold War, to directly attack the Russian homeland. UN Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison accused the country of violating the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty by developing a nuclear cruise missile and said that Washington was preparing to “take out” the weapon with a US strike.
This statement came just three days after a Chinese warship set a collision course with a US destroyer carrying out a so-called “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea, forcing the American ship to maneuver to avoid a collision and the potentially deadliest military clash in the Pacific in decades.
Behind such hair-raising incidents, the United States is undertaking serious, long-term preparations to restructure the American economy to fight a major war with a “peer” adversary, entailing radical changes to American economic, social and political life.
This is the essential content of a 146-page document released by the Pentagon last Friday, titled “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States.” It makes it clear that Washington is preparing not just for isolated regional clashes, but rather for a massive, long-term war effort against Russia and China under conditions of potential national autarchy.
Martin employees work on the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter production line in Fort Worth, Texas (Source: Defense Contract Management Agency)
The document made clear that a major restructuring of the American economy will be necessary to reach the United States military’s stated goal of being prepared to “fight tonight” against a “peer adversary.” The United States must “retool” for “great-power competition,” the document declared.
“America’s manufacturing and defense industrial base,” observes the report, creates the “platform and systems” upon which “our Warfighter depends.” This complex encompasses not just the government, but the private sector, as well as “R&D organizations” and “academic institutions.” In other words, the entire economy and society.
It warns that “The erosion of American manufacturing over the last two decades… threatens to undermine the ability of U.S.