Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
Donald Trump has reversed his national-security policies 180 degrees, and is now focusing it around conquering Russia, instead of around reducing the threat from jihadists. The reason for this drastic change is in order for him to be able to win the support of the U.S. aristocracy, who had overwhelmingly favored Hillary Clinton during the Presidential contest, and who (and whose ‘news’media) have been trying to portray Trump as “Putin’s fool” or even as “Putin’s Manchurian candidate” and thus as an illegitimate President or even traitor who is beholden to ‘America’s enemy’ (which to them is Russia) for Trump’s having won the U.S. Presidency — which they had tried to block from happening. (And, actually, even Republican billionaires generally preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump — and almost all of them hate Putin, who insists upon Russia’s independence, which the U.S. aristocracy call by all sorts of bad names, so that any American who even so much as merely questions the characterization of Russia as being an ‘enemy’ nation, is considered to be ‘unAmerican’, like in the days of communism and Joseph R. McCarthy, as if communism and the U.S.S.R. and its Warsaw Pact that mirrored America’s NATO military alliance, even existed today, which they obviously don’t. So: the U.S. Establishment’s portrayal of current international reality is so bizarre, it can be believed only by fools, but enough such fools exist so as to enable that Establishment to do horrific things, such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the 2011 invasion of Libya, just to name two examples, which got rid of two national leaders who were friendly toward Russia.)
After Trump ditched his National Security Advisor Mike Flynn (whom Obama had fired for not being sufficiently anti-Russian, but Trump then hired) and replaced him with the rabidly anti-Russian H.R. McMaster (whom the aristocracy’s people were recommending to Trump), Trump was expecting to be relieved from the aristocracy’s intensifying campaign to impeach him or otherwise replace him and make the President his clearly pro-aristocratic Vice President Mike Pence, but the overthrow-Trump campaign continued even after McMaster became installed replacing Flynn. Then, perhaps because the replacement of Flynn by McMaster failed to satisfy the aristocracy, Trump additionally ousted Stephen Bannon and simultaneously bombed Syrian government forces, and now the campaign to overthrow Trump seems finally to have subsided, at least a bit, at least for now.
Trump’s domestic enemies have been variously called “neoconservatives,” “Zionists,” “Democrats,” “liberals,” “Republicans,” and other such misleading categories, all of which ‘sides’ are now actually controlled by, and representing, only one side, the world’s roughly 2,000 billionaires (and this Forbes list doesn’t even include royalty, who are the topmost of all, such as the King of Saudi Arabia, whose net worth is in the trillions). These are the individuals who control all of the ‘news’ media that have significantly large audiences, and who also control Wall Street, and who also control the giant oil companies, and who also control the top 100 U.S. government contracting firms, the top 25 of which are shown, in the ranking of the “Top 100 Contractors of the U.S. federal government”, as being: 1: Lockheed Martin. 2: Boeing. 3: General Dynamics. 4: Raytheon. 5: Northrop Grumman. 6: McKesson. 7: United Technologies. 8: L-3. 9: Bechtel. 10: BAE. 11: Huntington Ingalls. 12: Humana. 13: SAIC. 14: Booz Allen Hamilton. 15: Healthnet. 16: Computer Sciences. 17: UnitedHealth. 18: Aecom. 19: Leidos. 20: Harris. 21: General Atomics. 22: Hewlett-Packard. 23: Battelle. 24: United Launch Alliance. 25 Los Alamos National Lab.
Those 25 firms are about 35% of the total, but they’re almost 100% ‘Defense’ Department suppliers, and so they show the extreme extent to which the extraordinary entity that President Dwight Eisenhower had called (only when he was leaving office — he had been too scared to say it while still in the White House) “the military-industrial complex”, has come to be the aristocracy that’s now joined-at-the-head to the behind-the-scenes U.S. government, and that uses, and is used by, that government (its politicians), in order to protect and increase their personal wealth.
They thrive on war, because war is the ultimate government-expense. (Aristocrats have, over the centuries, benefited from government expenses, because those expenses are extracted from the public, and become income to the aristocracy.) And, then, after a war is over, the entity who own the debt that the taxpayers will need to pay back, for all of those government-purchases, from all of those government contractors (basically the manufacturers of the machines for mass-killing) is whom? The megabanks had been lending to those weapons-makers, of course, so as to enable these manufacturers to ramp-up production. The money that was lent to make those weapons, comes back to these megabanks, with interest, charged to those weapons-makers, who profited from these weapons-sales. Thus, it’s not just those weapons-manufacturing firms but also the megabanks, that grow from wars. In addition, the government has issued bonds to pay to the weapons-makers to purchase those weapons. Those enormous debts, which had been paid to the weapons-makers, are now owed by taxpayers to the government to pay to the owners of those government bonds, which often are investment-firms, either the megabanks themselves, or clients of the megabanks. Ultimately, these debts often become assets on the mega-banks’ balance-sheets — and the same aristocratic families can (and often do) own or control both government contractors and megabanks, and sometimes also the investment-firms. This is the safe way, the low-risk way, for billionaires to become multi-billionaires. Virtually all of the risks of wars are borne by the general public, but all of the profits from wars go to the aristocrats. It’s a certain type of game, in which the billionaires are the players, and the public are the toys, which are played with; and, from which, multiple extractions are made, as the game is played. It’s like raising “game” (in the animal-sense) in order to shoot, and eat it.
Even the world’s biggest bookstore-owner, Jeff Bezos, became a major contractor to the ‘Defense’ Department, by providing cloud-based computing services to the war-machine, and then he arranged to purchase the world’s top neoconservative ‘news’paper, the Washington Post, to boost and to suppress the careers of whichever federal politicians have proven to be the most and the least cooperative with regard to expanding the budget for the only U.S. Cabinet Department that’s so corrupt it can’t even be audited: the ‘Defense’ Department. A mere retailer, such as Bezos, doesn’t generally have much clout, unless he either owns a ‘news’ medium (such as the Washington Post) or hires effective lobbyists. At that high a level, things are very interconnected, and a player needs to have agents in each crucial part of the power-machine. So, Bezos does. But, so, too, do other high-tech leaders, such as the billionaires at Alphabet Inc., formerly called “Google.” They were heavily involved in 2011 helping Hillary Clinton’s State Department draw up the plans to overthrow two heads-of-state that allied with Russia: Yanukovych in Ukraine, and Assad in Syria.
Of course, ownership of almost all large corporations is usually hidden by layers of ownership, and sometimes only one class of stock actually controls the company, while other classes of stock are purely passive investors in the given firm and they have no real control over it. But, regardless, anyone who is paying serious attention to textbook versions of economic theory (‘economic competition’) is thinking about a mere fantasy world, a fantasy-game, not the real-world game; not the real world, at all — and the aristocracy also gets to decide who writes those textbooks (the rules of the fantasy-game), to make sure they distract the public from what’s happening in the real world.
So, within that tiny society at the top of this planet’s power-pyramid, are being made the person-to-person deals that determine peace or war, life or death, for the general population, at any given time. These are the few people who will take their cut, no matter what. But, they need this cycle, of war, debt, and politics, to continue going ’round and ’round, in order to achieve what, for them, is “progress,” and to keep it going — ’round and ’round, like in centuries past, for themselves, and for their heirs. It’s a way of life; it is a tiny sub-culture, at the very top; and it remains remarkably constant, from decade to decade, and even from century to century. The illusion that the players care about the toys, is needed, in order to keep the game going, so that extractions can continue to be made from the toys, forever, and the aristocracy can thus become evermore bloated (“successful”), from this ‘progress’.
Here, at the following links, is a brief history of how this game has been proceeding, during recent decades, starting from current times, and going backward through the decades:
So: Trump has decided to do what he thinks he must do, in order to be able to stay in power. In order to stay in power, he must be a type of President that, in some crucial respects, is more like what Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were, than what he had promised his voters he would be. And the reason that this is so, is that this is what America’s aristocracy demands, in today’s American ‘democracy’.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.