The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism

Ismael Hossein-zadeh

This wide-ranging, interdisciplinary analysis blends history, economics, and politics to challenge most of the revailing accounts of the rise of U.S. militarism. While acknowledging the contributory role of some of the most widely-cited culprits (big oil, neoconservative ideology, the Zionist lobby, and President Bush’s world outlook), this
study explores the bigger, but largely submerged, picture: the political economy of war and militarism. The study is unique not only for its thorough examination of the economics of military spending, but also for its careful analysis of a series of closely related topics (petroleum, geopolitics, imperialism, terrorism, religious fundamentalism,
the war in Iraq, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict) that may appear as digressions but, in fact, help shed more light on the main investigation.
Introduction 1
1. The Military-Industrial Giant: An Empire in Itself 15
2. Imperial Militarisms: Past and Present 40
3. The Rise of U.S. Militarism 56
─ Designing a “Benign” Empire: How the U.S. Imperial Power Supplanted British
─ The Theory and the Praxis of “Benign Imperialism”
─ Decline of “Benign Imperialism” and the Rise of Military Imperialism: Domestic-
Foreign Interactions
4. Inventing “Threats to Our National Interests” 111
─ “Communist Threat” and Remilitarization after World War II
─ The End of the Cold War, Demand for “Peace Dividends,” and the “Threat of
Rogue States”
─ 9/11 Attacks and the “War on Terrorism”—Opportunity for Increased Militarism
5. Militant Islam, Terrorism, and “Clash of Civilizations” 146
─ Early Responses to the Challenges of the Modern World
─ Socio-Historical Contours of Islam
─ Whatever Happened to the Once-Popular U.S. in the Muslim World?
─ Summary
6. Behind the Invasion of Iraq 187
A. Minor or Secondary Factors behind the War
─ The Role of Domestic Politics
─ The Role of the Cabal of Neoconservatives
─ The Role of Oil
B. Major or Primary Factors behind the War
─ The Role of the Military-Industrial Complex
─ The Role of Militant Zionism
─ The Demise of the Soviet Union, the Convergence of Interests on War, and the
Unholy Alliance
─ World War IV
─ Defining the President’s Mission
C. Summary
7. Waste, Inefficiency and the Spoils of Military Spending 276
─ Military spending, Waste, and Inefficiency
─ The “Revolving Door” Syndrome and the Spoils of Military Spending
─ Merchants of Death and Destruction
8. The Political Economy of U.S. Military Spending 311
─ The Magnitude of the Pentagon Budget
─ Military Spending as Economic Stimulus
─ Weak/Dubious Arguments against Military Spending: Military Buildup “Crowds
Out” Non-military Private Sector Investment
─ Military Spending Crowds out the Public, not Private, Sector Spending: a
Regulatory Mechanism to Reverse the New Deal
─ Military Spending as a Redistributive Mechanism of National Resources in Favor
of the Wealthy
─ Defending Military Spending on Extra-Economic, Imperialistic Grounds: Military
Imperialism vs. Free Trade Imperialism
9. Limits of U.S. Militarism 379
References 394
Index 406

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