The Logic of Militarism

The Washington Post published an opinion piece today that epitomizes the logic of militaristic imperialism. Check out this excerpt:

These are words. They’re scary words. If China invades Taiwan, these words argue, our daily lives—here! in the United States!—would be dire-ified! Scary as they are, though, the words don’t really say anything.

Each sentence, taken individually, is a massive leap of logic. How, exactly, would America’s position in the Asian-Pacific region be “gravely weakened”? The authors don’t say. No hows are included in this argument—which is typical of this sort of neo-con argument, going back to the domino theory.

A great way to test grandiose claims like this is to turn them around. What if the argument appeared in China Daily, and read like this:

What if the U.S. invades Grenada? China’s geopolitical position in the Caribbean, and the perception of China’s allies in the Caribbean, would be grievously weakened. This would increase America’s global hegemony, which it would use to weaken our (Chinese) prosperity and mess up the everyday life of Chinese people. Therefore, China must defend Grenada!

Such an argument would rightly be dismissed as nonsense. China doesn’t have, nor should it have, any say over the Caribbean. If the U.S. invades Grenada, China would not be affected.

So it is with Taiwan.

(Missing here is the highly relevant fact that the U.S. legally considers Taiwan to be part of China. Under American law, China can’t “invade” its own territory.)

I’m pointing this out because this is exactly the kind of twisted logic used to justify invading Iraq, and Vietnam, and defending Ukraine. What if what if? This then that then this other thing—but if you take a beat to think about what’s actually being said, none of it makes sense.

Warmongers are like used-car salesmen. The sell comes hard and fast—to keep you from thinking.

4 Comments. Leave new

  • DaniilAdamov
    May 18, 2023 9:19 PM

    “How, exactly, would America’s position in the Asian-Pacific region be “gravely weakened”?”

    Well, they would lose a base from which they could menace Chinese shipping and the coastline, as well as obvious bait they can use whenever they wish to provoke the Chinese government. But I guess they can’t very well say that, as it would sound vaguely improper.

  • alex_the_tired
    May 18, 2023 10:27 PM

    Note that what Ted calls militarism, and I don’t dispute the term, also applies to non-military applications. Look at Dianne Feinstein. Caught somewhere between Miss Haversham and Queen Xanxia, Feinstein shows a perfect example of the difference between how the dems and the Republicans wield power: the Republicans cheat at every turn, use the spirit of the law when it suits them and the letter when it suits them. They have mastered the art of being morally indignant while clutching a bible.

    The dems could take complete control in a single election cycle. Seriously. 70-seat Senate, a 75% majority in the House. They could geld the entirety of the Republican first bench. The reason they don’t? (Scooch closer, children.) Because none of the dems in power care one bit about the people who vote for them.

    If you beat your spouse, humiliated them, spat on them, hit them, slapped them. And they kept coming back for more? How long before you wouldn’t even do it all in anger but just because it was easy? That’s the militantism that informs the democrats at the dnc, in the Senate, and in the House. Sure, there’s a few exceptions, but no one listens to them. They’re like the person in the next apartment screaming through the tissue paper walls, “Keep it down, you two!”

    • DaniilAdamov
      May 18, 2023 11:00 PM

      I’m not sure that the Republicans care about the people who vote for them any more than do Democrats. I do think they are more genuinely interested in the active use of power, while Democrats seem to be content with money and status.

      • alex_the_tired
        May 19, 2023 10:12 PM

        I’ll agree to that. But I think that’s more symptomatic than causative. The dems love the money and the status (false though it is) as “heroes” to the working class and the poor. Just like so many people love to talk about saving the environment while idling the car for 20 minutes on cold mornings so they don’t get into a cold driver’s seat.

        The dems could have REAL status, status that would last for generations. “These were the dems who got universal healthcare passed. These were the dems would put abortion into the constitution, sent CEOs to prison for decades. They got things done.” Why would anyone want the weak tea of “inspired millions of ________” Spare me. I’ve never seen a small child, dying by inches from leukemia or some other horrible thing gasping, “I wish I could see Nancy Pelosi’s swearing in. She’s my heroine. I wish Hillary Clinton would send me an autograph. Her shameless huckstering and influence peddling makes me want to grow up to be a soulless creature of power, too.”

        “Oh, honey. You won’t be growing up. Because healthcare for the middle class is evil socialism. Now let’s pray to Jesus. We can’t go to the church because you have to put money in the box to light a candle.”

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