Events continue to unfold at a quickening pace. Facing an alarming escalation in tensions around the world, we asked Garland Nixon for his current thoughts. We focus here on the realities of the international power struggle unfolding in real time, specifically addressing the role of the U.S. in the tensions and its capacity to reduce them.
Garland Nixon is a veteran progressive radio and television talk show host, whose analysis and hard-hitting commentary targets U.S. foreign policy with a comprehensive focus on anti-imperialist movements worldwide. He spent over 20 years in law enforcement and retired holding the rank of Major. He then went on to teach criminal justice for several years before settling on full-time journalism. Garland has made numerous appearances on NPR, was a regular panelist on Fox News from 2010 through 2019. He is also an outspoken civil libertarian and First Amendment advocate.
We are looking for paradigm-shift ideas for improving the prospects for peace. Here is what Garland had to say.
Q. We hear a lot of terms and acronyms bandied about. ‘Deep State’ … ‘MIC’ … ‘FIRE sector’ … ‘ruling elite’ … ‘oligarchy’ … ‘neocons’. Who actually defines and sets America’s geopolitical priorities and determines our foreign policy? Not “officially.” Not constitutionally. But de facto.
GN: The foreign policy of the United States is set by an ideology. The various named groups are set in place to support the ideology rather than the other way around. A powerful cabal of corporate owners and leaders who maintain the legacy of this ideology push a coercive expansionist foreign policy which prioritizes cheap access to raw materials and the suppression of potential competitors.
Q. We’ve had decades of international tensions. Recent developments have seen a sharp escalation in the potential for a major war. The U.S. apparently cannot be at peace. “Threats” against the homeland are allegedly increasing in number and severity. The trajectory of our relations with the rest of the world appears to be more confrontations, more enemies, more crises, more wars.
Is the world really that full of aggressors, bad actors, ruthless opponents? Or is there something in our own policies and attitudes toward other countries which put us at odds with them, thus making war inevitable and peace impossible?
GN: The ruthless aggressive bad actors are centered around Capitol Hill. The maintenance of the U.S. empire demands enemies to justify a brutal colonial foreign policy. Additionally, the working class will not agree to the unethical policies of the U.S. empire unless they are properly propagandized and misled. The US leadership must constantly lie the American people into believing that their leaders are getting involved in military actions to bring peace and stability to the world and/or punish evil doers.
Q. Our leaders relentlessly talk about our “national interests” and our “national security”, warning that both are under constant assault. Yet, we spend more than the next nine countries combined on our military. Why does such colossal spending never seem to be enough?
GN: Because the spending is the point, not what it is being spent on. The massive spending that maintains a humongous world wide war machine is effectively a money laundering operation for the ruling class. The issues of national security and national interest are intentionally ill defined and left up to the imagination of the duped electorate. Whenever more spending is desired, new boogeymen are created.
Q. It’s evident that you, and the many individuals who follow you and support your work, believe that America’s direction in both the diplomatic sphere and in the current conflict zones represents exercise of government power gone awry. Can you paint for us in broad strokes the specific changes in our national priorities and policies you view as necessary for the U.S. to peacefully coexist with other nations, at the same time keeping us safe from malicious attacks on our security and rightful place in the world community?
GN: The US needs to focus on internal advancement in education and quality of life for average citizens. Rather than complain about the advancement of China and working to knee-cap Chinese technological improvements, the U.S. should work on partnering with major world powers for the improvement of humanity. The relative seclusion of the US mainland makes it difficult for others to launch malicious attacks. The U.S. should focus on a defensive military posture, expand its diplomatic corp, and drop all unilateral sanctions world wide.
Q. The general public, especially when it’s aware of the self-sabotaging results of our current foreign policies and military posturing, clearly wants less war and militarism, preferring more peaceful alternatives on the world stage and greater concentration on solving the problems at home. As peace activists, we are thus more in line with the majority of citizens on issues of war and peace, than those currently in power.
What happens if we determine that those shaping current U.S. policy don’t care what the citizenry thinks, are simply not listening to us? What if we conclude that our Congress, for example, is completely deaf to the voice of the people? What do we do? What are our options then? What are the next concrete steps for political activists working toward a peaceful future?
GN: I would argue that we should know these things by now. The U.S. government is fully decoupled from the electorate. This requires a combination of the political work on creating a third party coalition, refusing to support the current two party duopoly, and massive demonstrations and national strikes.