Dwight D. Eisenhower, the last person anyone would suspect of being a leftist and a pacifist, was the first who dared to warn the American people of the dangers of what he called the “military-industrial complex.” Eisenhower was the former Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force in World War II, and later president of the United States. He made the statement in 1961, in his farewell address. He was not exaggerating.
In the United States, there is a military-industrial complex that influences political decisions to an extraordinary degree. For example, 53 percent of the budget – yes, you read right, 53 percent – goes for military spending, not including intelligence agencies. John McCain was a staunch supporter of that military-industrial complex, to the point that he set the country on the path to more than a few foreign adventures. His history as a war hero, tortured and imprisoned in Vietnam, helped him take on that role. However, his past is disturbing.
For example, when foreign intervention led to a civil war in Syria, McCain didn’t hesitate to travel to the battlefield and meet with so-called “moderate” rebel leaders. Significantly, just a few weeks after the meeting it became clear that one of the “moderates” was the caliph of ISIS, the notorious Islamic State. They made Syrian Christians the preferred targets of their killing, crucifixion, rape and torture. It should not come as a surprise that following such an incident, many started to suspect that the Syrian civil war did not arise from a popular outcry, but rather from an undercover operation which even the nuns who were living in the country denounced, and of which McCain was not unaware.
Nor was he unaware of the coup d’etat in Ukraine that in 2014 ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in order to put Ukrainian nationalists in power. To tell the truth, for years all it took was for McCain to show up somewhere in the world, and there would be fears that what would come next would be a dirty war against the established government. Of course, McCain was an enthusiastic practitioner of holding up the straw man of the Russian threat to justify an increase in military spending. You can be the judge of the need for that spending, given that Russian military spending in the whole world is less than a tenth of what the United States spends in Eastern Europe alone, where, incidentally, it has the help of allies like Spain.
If it had been up to McCain, NATO, once again violating the promises made to Mikhail Gorbachev by George H. W. Bush, would have had missiles in Ukraine and Georgia, a misstep that would have pushed the world closer to a thermonuclear conflict. Understandably, McCain clashed with Donald Trump, who was not yet subservient to the military-industrial complex. His viewpoints on domestic policies – in general, quite reasonable – are scarcely known outside the country. This is logical, since he was, above all, the champion of the invisible power that Eisenhower warned against. Lindsay Graham, his partner in the Senate and in the Republican Party, will no doubt step up soon to take his place.