The military enjoys an extremely bad reputation among the left, liberals and pacifists. They are perceived as potential military dictators like Generalisimo Franco or the Greek colonels, the young officers in Turkey and the Pan-Arabs from Nasser to Attaturk to Ghaddafi or, as in Africa Ethiopia´s Mengistu Haile Miriam, Idi Amin or Mobutu or the Latin American gorillas from Pinochet to Videla or South Korean, Taiwanese, Burmese, Indonesian or South Vietnamese Cold War military dictators. Zia Ul Haq and Pakistan’s military dictators as a negative example in Muslim countries. Or the Soviet and Chinese military, which bloody massacred peaceful demonstrators during the Hungarian or CSSR crisis, in Tibet or at Tiananmen Square. In Germany of Prussian militarism, Hindenburg and Ludendorf come to mind, especially since the German Reichswehr also supported right-wing extremists such as Adolf Hitler. Only in Russia does the military enjoy high esteem under Putin. On the one hand as the winner of the Second World War, which is dubbed the Great Patriotic War, whereby the Afghan war has already been forgotten again, military churches are established, military parades are held on every anniversary and now Defense Minister Shoigu has also been nominated as the leading candidate of Putin’s party United Russia. 70 % of Russians have a high level of trust in the military as institution and Shoigu is being established as Putin’s potential successor.
In the USA, the US military while most of the popultion perceives it as holy institution and source of national stenghth nd as the utmost patriotic force, is perceived by liberal and the left as part of the deep state, which is thought to be part of the warmongering Military-Industrial Complex (MIC), which would initiate wars, earn money from them and even US General and US President Eisenhower warned against the hidden and dark power of the MIC. There is also the theory that wars are started when the economy is in recession as interested forces try to get an economic boom by armaments production and post-war reconstruction. However, the idea of war Keynesianism, according to which the armaments companies start wars and earn money from them, is questionable. Politicians still decide about war and peace and one cannot equate the fact that the arms industry earns money from wars with the fact that it also makes war decisions in Washington. This is more of a state monopoly capitalism theory and forgets the autonomy of the state and of the politicians who make the decisions. That does not rule out certain lobbying and attempts to exert influence, and if a war is decided, certain exploitation of the situation. Especially since most of the business is not done in arments production, but in civilian production and according to that sort of logic logic eternal peace should actually rule or, conversely, eternal war. In addition, the arms sector in the USA only accounts for 10% of GDP, as there are hardly any pure arms companies, but many even have significantly higher civilian production lines. And the vulgar Marxist idea of a capitalist crisis and therefore war is not correct either. The First World War came during a worldwide economic boom, while the Second World War came in the shadow of the world economic crisis of 1929. Therefore, the conceptual and automatic equation of politics and economics is wrong.
The theory that the military wanted wars persists, especially since in the post-war period US generals like Patton, Mc Arthur and Eisenhower resembled Roman Caesars and also ran for US presidential elections as Mc Arthur or in the case of Eisenhower became US presidents Patton was already noticed in the times of the Great Depression, when he shot down US veterans who were demonstrating in Washington when the US military was deployed inside. Patton was also said to have wanted to ally himself with the Wehrmacht and the SS at the end of the World WarII in order to immediately wage a 3rd World War against the Soviet Union. A car accident prevented this. Mc Arthur who wanted to use atomic bombs in North Korea against China was deposed by Truman. Mc Artthur´s decision could also have triggered a 3rd World War, especially since Mao was allied with Stalin at that time. After the Democrat Truman, who was considered to be “soft on communism”, Eisenhower then threatened the PR China with nuclear weapons in the Korean War, which, however, after the death of Stalin led to China agreeing to a ceasefire and ending the Korean War.
But after the end of the Korean War, a golden age of the American Way of LIfe began with rock’n roll and Eisenhower decided on highway and housing programs, the economy boomed, the USA under Ike did not wage wars, but entered the most peaceful and civil period in the annals of post-war history, despite Sputnik shock and Mc Carthy, until this began to change in the 1960s in Kennedy’s time.
Many also suspect a conspiracy involving the US military, the mafia, Cubans in exile, the CIA and even the Bush family behind the Kennedy assassination, as Oliver Stone in his film „JFK“. The motive: Kennedy was too soft on communism, thus first encouraged Khrushchev and promoted the Berlin and Cuban Missile Crisis, moreover he betrayed the Cubans in exile in the Bay of Pigs invasion, as he rejected Chiang Kaitschek´s plan to land on mainland and recapture China. Kennedy also allegedly did not want an increase in the US force in Vietnam. The confrontation between General Curtis Le May who was considering bombing Cuba and even proposed a pre-emptive strike against the Soviet Union and President Kennedy also became famous.
After the Vietnam War, the US military lost its reputation and it has only been slowly rebuilt since Reagan. The highlight was the won Gulf War in 1991, in which Norman Schwarzkopf was celebrated as a war hero in the USA. During the war in Yugoslavia, US General Wesley Clark made negative headlines when he tried to order NATO troops to take action against Russian troops in Yugoslavia, which was prevented by a refusal of orders by a British general. But since nothing happened, this was quickly forgotten. After the lost Iraq war and the withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is now also a hangover mood because of 20 years of never-ending wars and military deployments the West lost.
Nevertheless, an incident is now making headlines that highlights the role of the US military in a positive role – in the person of the Chief of Staff, US General Milley. Bob Woodward’s soon-to-be-published book „Peril“ reports how US Chief of Staff Mark Milley restricted Donald Trump’s access to nuclear weapons Donald Trump took hold. As reported by the Washington Post and the broadcaster CNN on Tuesday (September 14th, 2021), citing an as yet unpublished book by the renowned investigative journalist Bob Woodward and his co-author Robert Costa, Milley contacted his Chinese colleague Li Zuocheng and instructed commanders in charge, not to carry out a possible nuclear attack order from the then President without consulting him.
Woodward and Costa write in their book “Peril” that Milley was “certain that Trump was in serious mental decline after the election, with Trump now acting almost manic, yelling at civil servants and talking about his own alternate reality and lived out endlessly constructed electoral conspiracies ”. According to the reports, the book authors also say that Milley called Chinese General Li Zuocheng twice. In a first conversation on October 30th, a few days before the US presidential election, from which Joe Biden emerged victorious, he said to Li: “General Li, I want to assure you that the US government is stable and everything is in order and will be. (…) We will not attack you or undertake any military operations against you. “ Two months later, after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Milley reportedly called Li again. “We are one hundred percent stable. Everything is fine, ”he is said to have told his Chinese colleague. In order to convince Beijing, Milley even arranged for a US military exercise to be postponed.
In addition, according to the book, the chief of staff ordered his commanders responsible to first inform him if Trump wanted to use his authority to order a nuclear strike. Milley is said to have coordinated with the heads of the secret services CIA and NSA out of concern about possible irrational actions by Trump. Milley’s fear was based on his own observations of Trump’s erratic behavior. His concern was heightened by the January 6 storming of the Washington Capitol and the „extraordinary risk“ the situation posed to US national security, the authors write. The authors of the book also had a transcript of a phone call between Milley and the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, according to the reports. „You know he’s crazy,“ the US Democratic MP Milley is said to have said two days after the storming of the US Capitol. „If they couldn’t even stop him from attacking the Capitol, who knows what else he could do?“ According to the transcript, Milley replied that he “agreed on all points”. The Pentagon has so far declined to comment.
General Milley is quite an interesting character: he doesn’t see Russia as the main enemy, doesn’t think China will attack Taiwan in the near future, thinks the fight against ISIS with the Taliban is possible, spoke out against a military operation inside the USA and has apparently also restricted Trump’s access to nuclear weapons. The deep state this time in a positive and war-preventing guise. Which is good news in the case of Trump. But the question remains, how many Trump supporters there are in the US military, the 17 secret services and the police. In a state of emergency, that can be the decisive factor that makes the difference between democracy and dictatorship, between war and peace. Also whether General Seeckt’s dictum during the Kapp Putsch in the Weimar Republic would then apply to an state of emergency in the USA: „Troops do not shoot troops“.
Because the other side is already mobilizing. Trump’s former national security advisor, ex-general and Trump supporter Michael Flynn is collecting desperate Trump supporters in the US military and has already called for a military coup against Biden and the Democrats based on Burma’s model, where Aung San Suu Kyi would have falsified the elections and stolen the election. At the same time as the Trump supporters who want to march in front of Capitol Hill on September 18, Bolsonaro is planning something similar in Brazil and is also hoping for parts of the military, which he has adequately provided with posts in his government. The Trump fascists want to polarize further and take advantage of the dissatisfaction with the establishment Republicans and Democrats like Bush jr., Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Mc Cain or Clinton who sent them to the never ending Iraq and Afghanistan wars or supported them, the dissatisfaction with the chaotic and shameful evacuation, although Obama started the withdrawal from Iraq and Trump initiated the withdrawal from Afghanistan. while Biden is actually just the executor of Trump´s legacy. But remember that Germany’s right and its military invented the stab-in-the-back legend (Dolchstoßlegende) after the lost World War I, according to which Germany was not defeated militarily on the battlefield, but because of democratic politicians who ruined the home front and betrayed the military and the fatherland . Trump and his fanatical supporters will probably come up with a similar version.
And in Germany? The AfD has long been trying to win members and supporters in and from the Bundeswehr. Several former officers and now the former 3-star General Wundrack are now members of the AfD, especially in leading political positions. But things are brewing within the AfD. While Höcke sees the Bundeswehr as a pure US mercenary army and rejects NATO, the national conservative wing of the former Stahlhelm faction of former CDU / CSU members ala Gauland sees it differently. Junge has now resigned from the AfD, because he knows that Höcke’s Nazi wing will go directly to the AfD´s federal executive board after the elections, as Höcke has already requested a position for himself and then the national conservatives in this new Harzburg Front will no longer be able contain him, as Papen and Schleicher thought they could contain Hitler and then the national conservatives will only be windows dressing and a bait for voters. But Padzerski, Wundrack and others are still in the AfD despite ex-General Wittmann’s open letter to Wundrack. National conservatives hate the existing liberal-conservative republic more than the fascist Höcke and want to eliminate it and the „system parties“. While the national conservatives prefer an authoritarian dictatorship based on the Order Cell Bavaria (Ordnungszelle Bayern) ala Kahr model or illiberal democracy under Orban, Höcke is more in favor of an openly fascist dictatorship based on the Mussolini or Hitler model and they remain united in their new Harburg front in order to wipe out the liberal democracy and then fight out their respective model among themselves after the seizure of power.After the disaster in Afghanistan, the mood in the troops is likely to be on a zero point, which could create a dangerous anti-democratic breeding ground for the AfD, especially since the right-wing extremists in the KSK. Germany is not yet as polarized as the USA, but one should keep an eye on the development, especially since the AfD has already called for an „uprising of the generals“ and has already allowed Querdenken activists and rightwnged elemnets to enter the Bundestag, which was probably a test ala Trump’s storm on Capitol HIll in small format.