Bill Bonner – Bill Bonner’s Diary (United States) –
Stockman served as Reagan’s budget director until he quit in protest of the administration’s spiraling federal budget deficits. And now he’s blowing the whistle on the Deep State’s efforts to co-opt President Trump.
Q&A With David Stockman
Chris Lowe (CL): President Trump promised to keep the U.S. out of pointless foreign adventures. Then he ordered a missile strike on a Syrian government air force base. What did you make of that?
David Stockman (DS): Here’s the newsflash on the Tomahawks. We fired 59. Thirty-six were duds that landed in the desert somewhere. Twenty-three hit the air force base. Not one hit the runway. The Syrian air force was launching bombing sorties from the runway the next day. Not a single operable plane was taken out. What we did hit were three “butler buildings,” otherwise known as hangars, and a graveyard for inoperable planes.
This was a random, crazy decision. Where did it come from? Two days… no thorough investigation possible… and plenty of circumstantial reasons to think the chemical weapons attack was a false flag operation. The obvious conclusion is that President Trump has been taken hostage by the Deep State.
Remember, one of the fundamental propositions of the president’s campaign was that regime change doesn’t work. So the question is: Who appointed Donald Trump to be the global spanker-in-chief for any dictator or world leader who misbehaves?
And if we want to be spanker-in-chief, why don’t we take a look at the president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was in the Oval Office a few weeks ago? Mr. Sisi has had thousands of his political opponents murdered since he illegally took power in a coup several years ago.
Also, where are these standards when it comes to the horrendous civil war in Yemen? We are arming the Saudis – who are backing the ousted Yemeni government – with every kind of destructive device, bomb, missile, and drone in our arsenal. They wouldn’t have the firepower they do without all these U.S.-supplied munitions.
So far, there have been 10,000 civilian casualties – 4,000 men, women, and children killed and another 6,000 injured. Many of them from cluster bombs supplied by U.S. firm Textron to the Saudi government. If you want to be the spanker-in-chief, bring in King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and give him a whack or two.
CL: So why, after just 77 days in the Oval Office, did Trump, the “America First” candidate, turn into Trump, the global policeman?
DS: The Deep State – or the Warfare State… or the military-industrial-Congressional-surveillance complex… or whatever you want to call it – has gotten so massive, it envelops everything that enters the Imperial City, the White House, and the Oval Office.
I call it the “trillion-dollar monster.” Take the $600 billion that’s admitted to in the defense budget… and add another $50 billion for “security assistance” and “foreign aid”… another $70 billion that goes to Homeland Security… and another $180 billion for veterans. Then add the $75 billion we spend on the 17 agencies of the intelligence community… and the carry cost for all this debt, which is about $20 billion… and you’ve got a trillion-dollar monster.
Now, if there was some kind of existential threat to the future of our society and our democracy… some horrible, immense, powerful, terminal threat to our existence… it might justify this huge spend. But the U.S. has no serious industrial, technological, or military threat.
CL: That’s not the way a lot of folks see it.
DS: You’re right. It’s not. But let’s just tick off what is out there…
First, obviously, is Russia. You know that’s a joke. If the Russians were going to land on the shores of New Jersey, they would need vast power-projection capability – aircraft carriers and the capacity to land troops.
None of that is even remotely possible. The Russians have got one 50-year-old, smoke-belching aircraft carrier on duty in the Eastern Mediterranean. It probably couldn’t get out of the Strait of Gibraltar if it had to. So how could Russia threaten the security or the safety of anybody in the U.S.?
It couldn’t, unless you believe that Vladimir Putin – the ultimate chess player, the Cool Hand Luke of the global scene today – is foolish enough to risk nuclear retaliation by attacking us and have Russia turned into a parking lot.
We have enough nuclear deterrent on our Trident submarines alone. And we’ve had it ever since 1980. Not to mention that the entire Russian economy is not even as big as that of New York City – $1.6 trillion for the New York metro area and just $1.3 trillion for Russia. Russia is mainly a huge hydrocarbon field with a few nickel mines, 100 million acres of wheat, and an aging workforce that has a great fondness for vodka and other distractions.
Then there’s China… Do you really stay up at night worrying that China is going to send some missiles, or a fleet of aircraft, over the Pacific to bomb the 4,000 Walmart stores in the U.S.?
Its economy would collapse within six months without the bloated global system of exports. That’s what the whole “Red Ponzi” is based on. If the Chinese want to build sand castles in the South China Sea, more power to them. But they aren’t a threat to us.
And finally, ISIS… It’s something I dealt with in my latest book, Trumped! During the campaign, the president talked a lot about terrorists lurking behind every bush. So I checked it out. It turns out that between 9/11 and that last unfortunate incident by the lone wolves in San Bernardino, which was in December 2015, 420 Americans were killed by lightning. And six were killed by terrorist acts outside of military bases.
But for the Warfare State to keep itself alive, it needs these false narratives. Because if there isn’t a foreign enemy… if there isn’t an imminent threat… if there isn’t danger lurking around every corner… then, over time, it becomes hard to justify all of the funding.
CL: Is the Warfare State unstoppable? Or is there a silver lining here somewhere?
DS: If there’s a silver lining in the capture of President Trump by the Deep State, it’s that maybe it will help revive an antiwar coalition Congress. Like the one that started in 1968 when noninterventionists such as Republican Senator George Aiken from Vermont and doves from the Democratic Party came together… stood up to President Johnson… and stopped the war in Vietnam.
CL: Are there any signs that this is happening?
DS: I would particularly commend Rand Paul for his leadership in the Senate. I consider Rand – just like his father, Ron Paul – to be one of the great patriots of America. He is one of the few in power willing to defend the Constitution and a more peaceful, noninterventionist foreign policy.
It’s a glimmer of hope. But frankly, the Warfare State… or the Deep State… or whatever you want to call it… is suffocating Washington. The war machine is bankrupting us… and draining the fiscal and economic resources of America.
The hour is getting late. But maybe, there’s still a chance to turn it around. And maybe inadvertently, Donald Trump gave us that opportunity when he ordered his missile strike on Syria.
A Closing Thought
As Bill warned in the May issue of The Bill Bonner Letter…
Wars, especially nuclear wars, are win-lose deals. Arms makers and financiers sometimes win. Almost everyone else usually loses. Wars destroy capital. If you think a war is coming, you don’t want to own the kind of capital wars destroy.
So make sure you own some gold.
The Warfare State is bankrupting America… speeding up the demise of the U.S. empire… and bringing the monetary catastrophe Bill has been predicting ever closer.
Gold is the best insurance against that.