Rule of generals | Farrukh Saleem


Where’s Trump and where are his campaign promises? There’s been a coup in America. US generals have taken over America’s foreign policy and there’s been a complete militarisation of the foreign policy. Donald Trump’s election promise was that “America First will be the major and overriding theme” of his administration. On Nato, Donald Trump’s campaign slogan was: “Number one, Nato was obsolete, because it was designed many, many years”.

Those were Donald Trump’s promises and slogans. Now six ground facts. First, on April 7, the US launched attack on Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles. Second, on April 9, the US ordered the USS Carl Vinson, Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, to sail to the Korean Peninsula. Third, on April 13, the US dropped a 30-feet, 21,000 lbs ‘Mother of All Bombs’ on Afghanistan. Fourth, on April 13, the first US troops arrived in Poland as part of “Nato’s international initiative to secure Europe’s borders with Russia amid recent escalations between the West and Moscow”. Fifth, on April 16, the US sent F-35 stealth fighters to the UK to “reassure Europe against Russian aggression”. Sixth, the US, under Donald Trump, has “bombed Yemen more in the past week than President Obama bombed in a year”.

Lo and behold, Trump hasn’t met a general he didn’t fall in love with. America’s foreign policy has now been taken over by America’s generals from America’s diplomats. For the record, Trump has “assembled the most-military-heavy foreign policy team in memory, if not in American history…”

James Norman Mattis, the 26th US secretary of defence, is a retired US Marine Crops general. US National Security Adviser Herbert Raymond McMaster is a serving lieutenant-general in the US Army. John Francis Kelly, the 5th US Secretary of Homeland Security, is a retired US Marine Corps general.

Mike Pompeo, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), served as a cavalry officer in the Fourth Infantry Division. Joseph Keith Kellogg, the Chief of Staff of the US National Security Council, is a retired lieutenant-general of the US Army. Stephen Kevin Bannon, the White House chief strategist, served as a lieutenant (O-3) in the US Navy.

Just have a look at budget figures. The Pentagon’s budget stands at $523 billion while the Department of State stands at $37 billion. Yes, the Pentagon’s budget is 14 times that of the Department of State’s budget. Yes, Rex Wayne Tillerson, the 69th US Secretary of State, now stands almost completely marginalised – almost out of the policy loop.

Yes, the Department of State is cutting 2,300 US diplomats and civil servants. Yes, the US Army is adding 26,000 active-duty troops. Yes, Trump is boosting the Pentagon’s budget to $574 billion (plus $65 billion for the overseas contingency operations): 70 F-35s – the single engine, single seat, all-weather stealth multi-role fighters – 14 F/A-18 Super Hornet jets, 15 KC-46 aerial refuelling tankers and a 350-ship navy.

According to The Nation, America’s oldest continuously published weekly magazine, “The military now runs US foreign policy”. And “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.