The World Robert Kagan Made
(The American Conservative) -- Kelley Vlahos --
There are rules of proper etiquette in the Washington think tank culture, the most annoying of which is to suppress all emotion for a given topic in the interest of appearing aloof and dispassionate, ever-reaching for the inner Mr. Spock in some narcissistic attempt to look more scholarly than everyone else. Apparently another “must,” particularly in the national security think tank sphere, is never to invoke President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1961 speech in which he ominously gives name to the Military Industrial Complex (MIC).
As the 34th President said:Think tank maven Robert Kagan, who has been sloshing about at the military trough so long he wouldn’t know a MIC from a St. Paddy’s Day reveler, waved off a brief mention of the foreboding Eisenhower speech at a panel discussion of his new book and how national security issues are affecting the presidential election at the swanky neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on Thursday.
“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
“Among the many things I didn’t like about Eisenhower that speech was one of them — I don’t like that speech and I did not know what he was talking about,” Kagan flippantly retorted to a soft-spoken questioner who apparently hadn’t gotten the rule book that says there will be no uncomfortable questions that include the words (in no certain order or combination), “propaganda,” “military industrial complex,” or “Eisenhower.” Case closed. Next question?
Kagan, who hails from the aggressively establishment Brookings Institution, was on hand to collect think-tanky accolades for his new tome, not surprisingly entitled, The World America Made, which is about, in part, maintaining U.S hegemony, or as Kagan likes to calls it, “American World Power” throughout the globe. Kagan of course knows what Eisenhower was talking about, but to people in Washington’s NatSec hive, criticizing the MIC is like throwing mother’s milk out the kitchen window. The only way the U.S can exercise this global power Kagan is so breathlessly selling is to have the war machine running balls to the wall 24/7 — every institution, every technology, every human cog a symbol of power to be used and exported for both message and might. As Kagan wrote in his ponderous New Republic essay in January, “Preserving the present world order requires constant American leadership and constant American commitment.”
That Eisenhower. What a weenie...MORE...LINK