WASHINGTON — Some of the most powerful players in the military-industrial complex hope to earn big bucks under a possible Hillary Clinton presidency.
That’s the conclusion some analysts are drawing from a report, “Extending American Power: Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order,” published last month by the Center for a New American Security, a think tank dedicated to what it describes as “strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies.”
William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, suggested the CNAS report was intended as “a transition memo for Hillary Clinton” in the event that she’s elected in November. Its bipartisan panel of contributors include Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state to Europe who has ties to U.S.-backed unrest in Ukraine, and Michele Flournoy, co-founder of CNAS and a potential future choice for Clinton’s secretary of defense.
Writing on Wednesday for The Huffington Post, Hartung called the document “breathtaking in its scope” and suggested its advice was far from pragmatic or principled:
“[T]he core of the document is about the use and threat of use of military force. … Adopting the panel’s proposal could result in an increase in Pentagon spending of up to $1 trillion over the next decade. The report contains no similarly detailed recommendations for increasing spending on diplomacy, or economic assistance, or alternative energy, or rebuilding infrastructure, or disease prevention, or any number of other investments that have as much or more to do with keeping the world safe as would spending more on an already amply funded U.S. military.”
Among the report’s policy guidelines, it suggests the U.S. military boost its numbers in Europe, deepen its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict with Russia, and put more boots on the ground in both Iraq and Syria.
“This is the report’s fatal flaw – contrary to its claims, lavishing more money on the Pentagon will not make us safer,” Hartung wrong.
While the Center for International Policy, itself, traces its origins to liberal opposition to the Vietnam War, analysts across the political spectrum have questioned the conclusions of “Extending American Power.”
Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international relations, called the plan “a recipe for failure” in a May 26 editorial for Foreign Policy.
“Needless to say, this is neither a group nor a process likely to produce a deep or rigorous evaluation of recent U.S. foreign policy,” Walt wrote. “After all, the report’s signatories helped create many of the problems they now seek to fix, so you’d hardly expect them to cast a critical eye on their own handiwork.”
And on May 19, Daniel L. Davis, a military veteran and foreign policy analyst, called it “a neoconservative plan that will cripple U.S. interests,” writing: “[t]here is a near complete unwillingness to consider that when policies similar to the authors’ recommendations have been used in the past, the results have been abysmal failure.”
Dr. Ron Paul, the former Republican senator and presidential candidate, also criticized the authors’ history of promoting destabilizing foreign policy, in an appearance on the “Ron Paul Liberty Report” last week.
“Why aren’t people challenging the foreign policy?” Paul asked. “You can go down the list of where we’ve encountered problems and this is endorsing more of it.”
Paul was joined on the program by Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, who pointed to the sponsors of CNAS as a possible culprit. A list of major donors on the CNAS website includes key defense industry corporations like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing.
“These are the beltway bandits,” McAdams said. “These are the people who make trillions of dollars on war.”
CNAS has an annual budget of about $6 million, but McAdams noted that this pales in comparison to their potential earnings under the plan. “What they have delivered to Hillary is a plan to deliver a trillion extra dollars on the military over the next 10 years,” he said.
Paul stressed that the report shows that support for war cuts across party lines, saying, “It has nothing to do with partisanship and it has nothing to do with Republicans and Democrats.”
Instead, he suggested that the true crafters of American foreign policy are politicians, wealthy donors from Wall Street, and players in the military-industrial complex.
“The American people have to wake up to who controls things behind the scenes,” Paul said.
Watch “Hawks Hand Hillary A Foreign Policy Blueprint: Will She Bite?” from Ron Paul Liberty Report: