There is no greater threat to a war machine than an outbreak of peace. When your business is killing, you need a convincing foreign menace to drum up profits. Fortunately for the American war machine, if there isn't a threat to scare the public into acceptance of bigger "defense" budgets, they can always create one.
History's greatest war machine is the Pentagon and its military-industrial complex (Mikkie for short.) When the Cold War was declared over in 1989 (Team USA credited with a TKO), feeders off the DOD gravy train whined over minimal defense-spending cuts that, they insisted, made Americans vulnerable to attack. The problem was, a compelling enough bogeyman could not be found. Even Saddam Hussein couldn't cut it.
But cheer up cold warrior, we may have a new bogeyman. It's the dragon of the Orient, the evil Red Chinese empire, fresh off celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mao's Revolution (complete with a parade echoing Triumph of the Will.)
A Sino-American conflict ending the 20th century isn't a new idea: Hell, even Nostradamus saw it coming 400 years ago. China has 1.25 billion people and the world's second largest economy. It has the manpower and money to be a convincing officially sanctioned enemy. Still, given its status as a corporate darling and a "Most-Favored Nation," it could use some help in becoming a serious menace. Naturally, there are some folks eager to lend a helping hand. Most of the focus on aiding the Chinese military mojo has been aimed at our corrupt Commander-in-Chief, and with good reason. Major Clinton fundraisers Johnny Chung, Charlie Trie, and John Huang all had heavy ties to the People's Republic elite.
Among this cadre connected to Clinton are James Riady, Indonesian billionaire owner of the Lippo Group, which has numerous joint ventures with the Chinese government; General Ji Shengde, who as Chief of Chinese military intelligence gave $300,000 to the Democratic National Committee (DMC) in 1996; and Wang Jun, president of Polytechnologies Corporation -- the international arms-merchant and largest corporate structure owned by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) -- and chairman of the China International Trade and Investment Company (CITIC), a $23 billion financial titan that allegedly funneled hundreds of millions in bond market dollars to finance PLA operations.
Before his "donation," General Ji told Chung, "We really like your president." Little surprise there: The more Slick Willie got his palms greased with Chinese dough, the more he pushed their military and business interests. (In case you're wondering where semen-sniffing Ken Starr was on this issue during his supposed obsessive vendetta to destroy Clinton, one of his law firm's clients is a CITIC company.)
Treason is a word normally thrown with care, but the charge was hurled at Clinton regularly over all this. (Some even suggested Clinton's Chinese funding is proof he is a closet communist; this may be giving him too much credit, since it implies he has principles.) Leading the charge has been Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia, a "former" CIA analyst, according to his own biography.
But when the trail strays from Clinton and towards defense industry giants, Barr (who comes from a district heavily controlled by Lockheed Martin) and others clam up. The most blatant examples of Chinese maleficence are Hughes Electronics and Loral Space & Communications, among the top donors to both major political parties.
Soon after they made major contributions to the DNC, both were given waivers to do business in China. In 1993, C. Michael Armstrong (then Hughes chairman) was even named to the Export Council, where he pushed hard against trade controls protecting national security. Later, China took advantage of "security lapses" to obtain information on Hughes and Loral satellites. Incredibly, though they are the major culprits in supplying China with sensitive information, both are also the likely beneficiaries, thanks to renewed spending on newer technologies to "keep ahead." As for Mr. Armstrong, rather than being fingered as a traitor, he was rewarded with the CEO post at AT&T.
Are Chinese and American Mikkie officials conspiring to manufacture a state of war? Is there an attempt to build up the Chinese military (as there was with Saddam's army) for the benefit of both nations' defense industries? Is it all a cynical ploy straight out of Machiavelli?
If so, the Mikkies needed an event to trigger animosities, something like Pearl Harbor, The Maine, or The Lusitania. That event may have happened May 8, when a U.S.-led NATO attack in Yugoslavia bombed the Chinese embassy. At the time, NATO officials insisted it was an accident due to an "outdated map" of Belgrade. On October 17, the London Observer debunked this claim with an investigative report. According to the Observer, the embassy bombing was a deliberate retaliation against the Chinese for relaying Yugoslav military radio signals from within the embassy. Sources included "a flight controller operating in Naples, an intelligence officer monitoring Yugoslav radio traffic from Macedonia and a senior [NATO] headquarters officer in Brussels."
By any standard, the intentional bombing of an embassy is a serious act of aggression. In a world where wars have started over soccer matches, this is reasonable cause. The Observer report should be a major news story. However, aside from an October 22 Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) release, it has received little attention in the U.S. The minimal coverage that has appeared consists mainly of official denials. On October 18, The Washington Post printed a short news brief titled "NATO Denies Story on Embassy Bombing."
Time will tell if China and the U.S. duke it out. Maybe they won't: Real wars are bloody and unpopular with the public. This could turn instead into Cold War II, a chilly hostility that lingers and justifies international defense buildups. The chill could get worse. Recent U.S. plans to build a missile defense system have prompted the Kremlin to warn of "extremely dangerous consequences for the entire arms control process." Soon, the sickness of Cold War II could become contagious and spread further, to the ill of all unconnected to the war machine.
Robert Sterling is the editor of The Konformist (www.konformist.com), the Internet magazine dedicated to rebellion, konspiracy, & subversion. He is easily bribed.