A Shinbone Star Vituperative Op-Ed

Two witless wonders, Peter Navarro with Donald Trump.

The economic protectionist Peter Navarro, currently the driving force behind U.S. foreign trade policy, said war is good business in a Tuesday New York Times op-ed deifying Donald Trump for keeping open a heavy weapons manufacturing plant in Lima, Ohio.

It was a publicity packet for Trump’s Wednesday visit to the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio.  Navarro stressed that President Barack Obama almost gave the facility the chop when he was trying to downsize the military-industrial complex our country can no longer afford.

“Fortunately, the Republican-led Congress rejected that move and appropriated enough funds to keep the factory in business — but the number of employees fell sharply, to just 75,” Navarro observed.

The US currently has about 3,500 mothballed M1 Abrams tanks in vast storage yards. The General Dynamics Lima plant was tasked with reconditioning them as needed to fulfill world-wide military commitments.

“Enter President Trump,” Navarro rejoiced, “with a far different view of the role of a strong military in both defending our homeland and revitalizing our manufacturing base.”

Captain Bone Spurs, America’s greatest chicken hawk, admittedly thinks sinking the country into $22 trillion in debt is good economics. How a noted economist does mystifies many of his colleagues.

Navarro is an assistant to the president and the director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy (OTMP) and Director of the White House National Trade Council, both Trump creations operating under the aegis of an executive order Trump issued on April 29, 2017.

Navarro, who currently has Trump’s ear, thinks selling American-made weapons at home and abroad is a key to keeping America working. “Both the workers and the war fighters of America will be the better for it,” he wrote.

New Russian and Chinese tanks are already competitive with the Abrams and the German Leopard 2A7+ and the latest Israeli Merkava IV are judged as superior to all existing M1 variants.

Navarro is the same guy who told Trump slapping tariffs on everyone trading with U.S. is a great way to make some side money while the country sinks into despair. His latest idea is to heavily tax foreign car imports.

What exactly is the threat the U.S. plans to counter with more tanks and armored vehicles? Currently 60,000 impoverished Central and South Americans are imprisoned in U.S. for profit detention camps for trying to steal into the U.S.A. All the other hotspots where the U.S. has troops are thousands of miles away in even poorer and more impoverished places without food, much less tanks. When their inhabitants are not being attacked they are busy breeding future enemies inseminated with hatred for all Americans.

Navarro’s nonsensical theories are hogwash. The U.S. sell lots of Abrams tanks to other countries knowing they are good enough for regional conflicts but not in duels between giants with relative military parity. The U.S. has turned to Israel to make our existing armor more survivable until the Defense Department comes up with Plan B.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Mark Miley said last April that, “The Bradley (Armored Personnel Carrier), the Abrams, and the Stryker (wheeled infantry carrier) were designed and came online many years ago. … but they are predominantly technology and ideas that come out of the sixties and seventies… .The Abrams, Bradley, and the Strykers, realistically, their lifespan is probably 10, maybe 15 years.”

All three armor systems are clients of Lima’s Joint Systems Manufacturing Center.

On the other end of the defense spectrum is the F-35 stealth fighter. The F-35 is the single most expensive weapons project in the history of the world. Nobody can afford it. The program is projected to cost over $1.5 trillion when it is fully operational, something builder Lockheed Martin’s own projections say is still a few years away.

Last December the Israeli Air Force declared its initial squadron of nine F-35 fighters ready for operational use, less than a year after the first two fifth-generation fighters were delivered to the country by the U.S. Air Force. The U.S. is still lagging behind.

Meanwhile Russian and Chinese technological advancements are eating away at the so-called invulnerability of the airplane. It is an example of the military-industrial complex at its best. Like the Abrams, Bradley and Stryker before it, the F-35 will be strikingly ordinary in a decade or less and it is programed to fly until 2070, the Pentagon claims.

Is endless war better than peace and preparing for war the next best thing? The only element missing from Navarro’s formula for seizing the American dream is a boogieman to be afraid of and Trump is always working to produce one.

Why is that? Short answer: No boogieman, no one to hate. No one to hate, no need for trillion dollar “defense” budgets that fuel the most offensive war machine ever created.

If Trump  does turn to overt belligerency, the Pentagon generals under interim Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will demand to be unleashed to bring some of America’s stern lessons in democracy to the suffering masses they intend to save. Shanahan is a former Boeing exec who thinks crashing new airliners is part of getting the kinks out.

Navarro went on to talk about economic security and how the Trump defense budget is helping to “create good manufacturing jobs with good wages in communities like Lima that “have fallen behind economically”. He failed to mention those high wages and increased jobs are being paid for with money Congress is very unhappy spending.

Trump’s 2020 budget provides for a five percent increase in defense spending, some to finance his border wall, while slashing funds for diplomacy by 23 percent. If approved – as unlikely as it is in Congress – military spending would increase to $750 billion for fiscal year 2020 starting in October 2019.

“In terms of national security… enabling the decisive defeat of the threats outlined in our National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy. A less obvious but no less important benefit comes from sharing these upgraded combat vehicle capacities with our allies and strategic partners through conventional arms sales,” Navarro claims.

His dubious comments underscore an axiom often heard in the halls of the Pentagon. “When you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” Trump’s newest favorite economist was given the opportunity to be convincing where the loudest voices in the country are heard and he blew it.

The best road to peace and security is one not leading to war.

 

 

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