by Andre Damon, published on the World Socialist Website, October 13, 2022
Less than one week after President Joe Biden warned that the US conflict with Russia could trigger a nuclear “Armageddon,” the White House published a National Security Strategy pledging to “win” American global hegemony through military violence.
The document pledged to expand the US military, “integrate” economic life with war-making, and “win the competition for the 21st century” in what it called the “decisive decade.”
Embracing in all fundamentals the 2018 National Security Strategy published by the fascist would-be dictator Donald Trump, Biden’s National Security Strategy affirms that the United States is locked in an existential conflict with Russia and, most of all, China.
“We are now in the early years of a decisive decade for America and the world,” declares Biden’s personal introduction to the document. “The terms of geopolitical competition between the major powers will be set.”
These opening remarks echo Biden’s declaration in March that the world is on the brink of a “new world order,” and that “we’ve got to lead it.”
Biden’s strategy, like Trump’s 2018 National Security Strategy, is violently nationalistic, declaring that the United States acts not in the interests of humanity or of its allies, but fundamentally to preserve its selfish interests. “Our strategy is rooted in our national interests,” Biden declares.
“Our military power continues to grow,” the document menaces, pledging to “Modernize and strengthen our military so it is equipped for the era of strategic competition.”
For these reasons, the document threatens, “nations are seeing once again why it’s never a good bet to bet against the United States of America.”
“Nuclear deterrence remains a top priority for the Nation,” and is “foundational” to the United States’ strategy, the document asserts.
War, Biden says in his introduction, will be a source of national rejuvenation: “[T]he United States has a tradition of transforming… foreign challenges into opportunities to spur… rejuvenation at home.”
The document sets forth the concept of “integrated deterrence,” developing key concepts in Trump’s 2018 strategy, which pledged that “long-term strategic competition requires the seamless integration of multiple elements of national power—diplomacy, information, economics, finance, intelligence, law enforcement, and military.”
Similarly, the new National Security Strategy declares, “We will leverage all elements of our national power to outcompete our strategic competitors”
It adds, “Our National Defense Strategy relies on integrated deterrence: the seamless combination of capabilities to convince potential adversaries that the costs of their hostile activities outweigh their benefits. It entails: Integration across domains, recognizing that our competitors’ strategies operate across military… and non-military (economic, technological, and information) domains—and we must too.”
In perhaps its most chilling passage, the White House’s fact sheet on the document declares that “The Biden-Harris Administration has broken down the dividing line between domestic and foreign policy.”
These concepts, pioneered under the Trump administration, which openly drew inspiration from the Third Reich, echo the infamous “total war” manifesto of Alfred Jodl, chief of the German High Command during World War II, which declared that “Only the singleness and unity of state, armed forces, and people can assure success in war.”
Noting the continuity with Trump’s fascist “America first” ideology, New York Times reporter David Sanger observed that “
The president took some unusual positions, especially for a Democrat.” He noted that “he took a dark view of the benefits of globalization, describing at length how it has fueled pandemics and disinformation and contributed to supply chain shortages.”
The central target of the United States is China. The document asserts,
“We will effectively compete with the People’s Republic of China, which is the only competitor with both the intent and, increasingly, the capability to reshape the international order.”
So single-minded is the focus on China that the war in Ukraine is not mentioned a single time in the White House’s fact sheet. Despite the Biden administration’s claims that the world would bloom like a garden were it not for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the strategy does not predicate the US military buildup and preparations for war on the actions of the Russian president.
Rather, the US struggle to “win” the 21st century is predicated on the fact that the “post-Cold War era is definitively over and a competition is underway between the major powers to shape what comes next.”
Even as the national security strategy set its sights on China, the US continued to massively escalate the war with Russia. Speaking at a meeting of the US-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin made clear that the US has instructed its Ukrainian proxy forces to continue their offensive through the winter.
“I expect that Ukraine will continue to do everything it can throughout the winter to regain its territory and to be effective on the battlefield, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they have what’s required to be effective,” Austin said.
Ahead of this week’s NATO summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made clear that the US and its allies will respond to Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons in the conflict with its own nuclear saber-rattling.
Stoltenberg announced, “Next week, NATO will hold its long-planned deterrence exercise, Steadfast Noon,” announcing his intention to launch a training mission for nuclear-capable bombers in Southern Europe.
Under conditions in which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on NATO to wage preemptive strikes on Russia, and Russia has threatened to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the NATO training exercise threatens to further escalate the war.
Viewing the present conflict within the context of Biden’s National Security Strategy, it is clear that the strategists of US imperialism see the war in Ukraine, horrific and bloody as it is, as just the opening skirmish of an even greater and more disastrous global conflict.
* Featured Image: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley (left) with President Joe Biden (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) [AP Photo/Steve Ruark]
Andre Damon is a writer and editor for the World Socialist Web Site specializing in geopolitics and economics.