America’s military gets a mission statement fit for an Empire!

Summary: 2018 was a coming out party for the American Empire! It began with a new mission statement for the military, and ended with our elites showing their fealty to the Deep State. Get angry. Resolve to fight in 2019 to reclaim America.

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The massive Department of Defense website clearly stated DoD’s mission. This was on their website during the time of presidents ObamaBush, and Clinton, according to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

“The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.”

The Task and Purpose website reported that on the January 2 or 3, 2018, DoD changed their mission statement, without notice. “Deter war” is gone; “sustain American influence abroad” was added. Now it is a mission statement fit for an Empire.

“The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide a lethal Joint Force to defend the security of our country and sustain American influence abroad.”

They do not mention what “influence abroad” means, or how it benefits America. In HorizonFebruary 1942 Orwell made a powerful observation about imperial Britain. It also describes our America.

“It is notable that Kipling does not seem to realize, any more than the average soldier or colonial administrator, that an empire is primarily a money-making concern. …{It} is a fact that Kipling’s ‘message’ {about the glories of Empire} was one that the big public did not want, and, indeed, has never accepted. The mass of the people, in the nineties as now, were anti-militarist, bored by the Empire, …”

The American people always have had an isolationist viewpoint, liking the pageantry of empire but unwilling to support foreign wars with their money and blood – excerpt after provocations and when stoked by propaganda. As we have seen with our post-9/11 wars. They were supported by the public at the start, support faded as the war ran on.

Of course, the public’s lack of support makes no difference. As we see in the reaction to Trump’s logical partial withdrawal from Syria, the wars’ advocates remain powerful. Leaders of both major parties, journalists, and geopolitical experts of all flavors – all are cheerleaders (as seen in their hysterical reaction to Trump’s logical pullback from Syria). If we do not run America’s political machinery, then others will do so.

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers
Available at Amazon.

Now for the bad news

None of this appears in the Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy – all fourteen pages (nor is it on the new DoD website). Our new strategy is madness – the rapid pursuit of bankruptcy. Fourteen pages of “goals” – with no regard for cost, or weighing of costs vs. benefits. It is a megalomaniac’s To Do list.

This is the traditional way empires fall. See Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Over-extension of geopolitical reach and excessive investment in military power combines with underinvestment in domestic infrastructure and R&D. He called it “imperial overstretch.” It is a commonplace of history. America is on the grim path followed by so many previous hegemonic states.

But we can still step off this road to decay. Most Americans know this is folly, but our apathy is our greatest  foe.

See the introduction to the book. Paul Kennedy is a professor of history at Harvard (see Wikipedia).

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See these posts about George Orwell and about the American Empire

Books about our mad empire

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn (2017).

American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy by Andrew Bacevich (2002).

A People's History of American Empire
Available at Amazon.
American Empire by Andrew Bacevich
Available at Amazon.

42 thoughts on “America’s military gets a mission statement fit for an Empire!”

  1. Larry Kummer, Editor

    “In great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies. To them this amusement compensates the small difference between the taxes which they pay on account of the war, and those which they had been accustomed to pay in time of peace. They are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory, from a longer continuance of the war.”

    — Adam Smith in chapter III of The Wealth of Nations.

    1. War is an endorphin thing. It is the greatest of all sports. War stirs those animal spirits, it provides purpose, it raises testosterone levels. It is addictive as hell, and we are hooked, heavy as lead. That’s why there’s such wrenching discomfort in the media with a pullback for a minor operation in Syria. With Afghanistan I see some reports that this war is going to end whether we like it or not. My take, is that we’re going to see intense feelings of anger and frustration and confusion if this comes. People may not even know what that source is, but my view is that this discomfort will be symptoms of their bodies physically reacting to defeat in war.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        “War is an endorphin thing.”

        Only a microscopic fraction of Americans have experienced combat in our WOT.

        “It is addictive as hell, and we are hooked, heavy as lead.”

        After the first rush, fueled by propaganda, our foreign wars are unpopular with the American public.

  2. The first Iraq war was an example of the US providing leadership and paying for a righteous war with blood and money not for financial gain, but from principle. Those who stood to gain from it was France and Russia, exploiting the Food for Oil UN program. The US otoh lost influence.
    No nation willingly send their young and their best to die on foreign soil without a good reason. Paired with the isolationism of the US is the idealism of its people – thinking they are actually going to turn Iraq into a much better place, and willing to risk the blood of thousands of their own to do so. The rest of the world, China, Russia and the EU are a lot more cynical than that.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “The first Iraq war was an example of the US providing leadership and paying for a righteous war”

      The US invasion of Iraq was done on the basis of faked intelligence and government lies. That you believe otherwise at this late date is sad.

    2. There may be another “aspect” of the first Iraqi war — no mere mortal can be sure of this, however:
      By signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a large number of cruise missiles became obsolete and instead of dismantling/destroying them, a slight modification and a “convenient lesson” to a former ally (time of war with Iran) solved that!

      Why would have the cynical Russkies help Syria then? And help they did!
      Compare that to the turning Libya, (formerly the country with highest standard of living in the whole of Africa, “into a much better place”…

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        Yes, Mike also caught that. I misunderstood your reference. Too many wars.

  3. Larry,

    That new DoD website is quite impressive, our taxes paid for that. Big Don’s grand vision is coming into view. Orbit that new Death Star weapon and he can handle it all from the oval office.
    Tweet away and zap terrorists at will while eating hamburgers and watching cable news. Weekends at Mar-a -Logo with the best first lady ever!
    Why did you say “partial withdraw” from Syria?

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “Why did you say “partial withdraw” from Syria?”

      Because we do not know what is planned. Why tell the proles? Will there still be US troops doing training? CIA officers running paramilitary forces? And bombing – there will probably still be US bombing.

      “Big Don’s grand vision is coming into view.”

      US military policy has been bipartisan since WWI. Calling this “Big Don’s vision” shows the tribalism that makes us so easy to rule.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      There is no record of how the mission statement changed. If Congress was consulted, there probably would have been some info released to the public – whether officially or by leak.

  4. Larry,

    “US military policy has been bipartisan since WWI. Calling this “Big Don’s vision” shows the tribalism that makes us so easy to rule.”

    The truth always hurts here.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      Are you referring to your original statement or to “Calling this ‘Big Don’s vision’ shows the tribalism that makes us so easy to rule.”

  5. priffe: “The first Iraq war …”

    Larry Kummer: “The US invasion of Iraq …”

    Two different wars.

    priffe: “… a righteous war …”

    I never understood the purpose of the Gulf War. At least it was a war with a specific, achievable goal. The hot war ended when Iraq was driven out of Kuwait. But it was sold as a righteous war by demonizing Saddam. That made it politically difficult to completely walk away. So there followed an endless cold war of sanctions and no fly zones that set the stage for the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq.

  6. Larry,

    “Are you referring to your original statement or to “Calling this ‘Big Don’s vision’ shows the tribalism that makes us so easy to rule.”

    Your comment, of course.

  7. Larry,

    “Thank you for the explanation!”

    I didn’t know it needed one. Don’t mind me, I’m just and old retired white guy with time to look around.

  8. So, which outcome do you expect?

    — Carnation Revolution and prompt abandonment of empire like Portugal? (This is my guess)
    — Peaceful dismantling of empire like Clement Atlee’s UK? (I wish)
    — Complete collapse into individual pieces, like the Austro-Hungarian empire or the USSR?
    — New Empire like the replacement of the Russian Empire with the USSR? (Seems unlikely)
    — Military defeat and total destruction leading to Dark Ages like Rome’s Empire?

    1. Nathanael
      I too wish for you “Guess” — however, there was nothing anywhere and anytime to compare with the MISIC (Military-Industrial-Security-Information-Complex/Cabal of the U.S.A.), so the Portuguese model is not applicable…
      Trump is not (nor is anyone else in the deep state running the affairs) Clement Atlee (by very far), so that’s out of question as well.
      The only viable outcome is the very last of yours, unfortunately. The complete demise of it all — economic, societal and military collapse is likely outcome. Sometimes I wish I were of my father’s generation, well dead and not caring any longer. OTOH, if we forego the “nuclear option,” the humanity may earn it’s name yet again! I surely would lend my (retired) hands toward better tomorrows!

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        As I have said before, you are reading too many silly doomsters. They are wrong with an amazing degree of consistency. Which makes people’s belief in their stories quite remarkable, except for emotional reasons.

    2. Larry Kummer, Editor


      We can only guess at such things. My guess (guess!) is that this will be like the end of Spain’s time as the first global hegemon. It was replaced by a multi-polar system. That is especially likely in the nuclear age, when direct conflict among great powers is suicidal. So the standard title match between great powers isn’t going to happen.

    3. IMO the Carnation Revolution had steam behind it because ordinary Portuguese were being drafted to fight it. The Pentagon learned from their mistake in Viet Nam and replaced a draftee army with a volunteer one. In any case we need to avoid what came after. I dunno if you’ve been to Portugal lately but it’s pretty sad.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        I know zip about developments in Portugal. What happened to Portugal to make it sad?

    4. Well, we used to have an empire spanning roughly half the globe but now it is just… poor. Almost no economic growth in the last 18 years, debt as a % of GDP is high, massive austerity as a result of the bailouts, and the whole country seems completely run down.

  9. Larry,
    I, for some crazy reason (may it be the Season?), can’t “cynicise” any longer. I truly wish our future will not include that what is broadly anticipated — a total melt-down. Please, come up with something positive — I wished/hoped you keep something good-for-all up your sleeve for the end of the year!

    BTW, I must again commend you for an excellent take on the state of affairs! This was one of “my time” best on Fabius Maximus. And I thank you for the references on the yesterday’s post.

    1. JaKo,

      “Please, come up with something positive — I wished/hoped you keep something good-for-all up your sleeve for the end of the year!”

      It is pretty depressing over here. The stack of books on legs has something to do with it, I think.

    2. Ron,

      You and I may have more in common than we thought we had.

      OTOH, Larry mentioned (for me too late to respond to, as my patience is a nonexistent entity) the Spain’s demise — true; however, there was no world stock exchange charged with Plutonium and total debt charged with Krypton-ium — if you get my drift… The stack of books are rarely all wrong — whether on legs or cast in stone may not make much difference.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        “however, there was no world stock exchange charged with Plutonium”

        The danger of atomic war peaked in 1963, and has slowly declined with each passing decade.

        “total debt charged with Krypton-ium ”

        Got to love the far-right fanatics, selling this doomster story since WWII. That they’re always wrong does not bother them, since it is an emotional story told to make them useful idiots for their leaders.

    3. Larry Kummer, Editor


      Doomsters always see nothing but doom. It is an emotional reaction. It’s pointless to talk with them. I’ve written thousands of posts debunking their dark fantasies. Time does so even more effectively. But they effortless manufacture new ones.

      Life is done by the rest of us. Let doomsters stew in their dark apathy. They are dead weight to humanity.

  10. “In great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies.”

    Read your own quote. This has nothing to do with being in the military. People away from the fronts, for example in the media, experience physical pleasure as a result of military action. It’s the same feeling you get when your sports team wins a game.With military expansion we experience pleasure, and with defeat that pleasure is taken away. The discomfort is a reaction to that pleasure being taken away.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        The “reply” button appears only on the first two comments in a thread (and are easy to miss). Further indents are unreadable on mobile devices.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      That is a quote from Adam Smith – from 1776. He is writing about beliefs of the upper class. What Marx called the bourgeoisie, the people with capital. Then, as now, the majority of people have a tiny net worth. Their role in our wars since 9/11 is to pay with the taxes and their blood (or that of their relatives and friends).

      As I said, there is little support in America for our foreign wars. Roughly half of Americans believe we have “mostly failed” in Afghanistan (per Pew Research), amazing considering the flow of happy talk in the news media. The major pollsters don’t ask if we should leave. The results might ruin the narrative.

      1. I love that quote, I think partly because I’m a video game programmer, and this is my job. Enjoyment is my business. For example, people pay real money to play war games. They click on the map, and they blow up the little tanks and take over territory on the map, there is enjoyment here. Enjoyment is also an aspect of war and politics and sports. If your party wins an election, if your army wins a battle, if your team wins a game, you feel enjoyment.

        Enjoyment isn’t a rational thing. If you ask someone a question in a poll about the Afghanistan war, and they say it’s being lost, they’re expressing a rational opinion that is completely valid, but that’s not necessarily related to their enjoyment. Enjoyment is a feeling that spontaneously comes on you without any rational intent. Whether you’re homeless or rich, it doesn’t really matter. If your team wins, you’re going to feel enjoyment.

        When you’re dealing with war, or say the party tribalism that you talk about, this is what you’re up against. You’re dealing with the conditioning that has come from their past enjoyment.

      2. Larry Kummer, Editor


        Most Americans are opposed to our wars.

        I’ve talked to hundreds of supporters. Few get the thrill you describe.

        Fear is a more powerful reason. However irrational – or stoked by propaganda – we have become a fearful society. It affects the war on crime, the lockdowns of grade schools (often for trivial reasons) that terrifying children, the “war on terror”, the climate crusade (many are pants-wettingly frightened), and so forth. It is who we are today.

      3. Larry Kummer, Editor


        America has a population of 326 million. You can find a community with almost every conceivable view on the internet. Such as Body Integrity Dysphoria. That you find such a group does mean that their belief is commonplace.

      4. There’s been a war, a victory, and both Hillary and the reporter are experience great joy. This is a soul changing experience. And people will chase it, to get that feeling of joy once more. Even if they don’t get it, the original memory of that past joy is still there.

        I agree fear also comes into it. I think there’s another instinct that comes into play too, I’m not sure what the word is for it, but it’s like a hoarding instinct. That we’ve hoarded all these client states and military bases, and they have become part of us. If we lose a client state, it’s a terrible feeling, like we’re losing a part of our body.

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