Bruce Gagnon Interview: An Objective Look at U.S. Foreign Policy

John Rachel, CounterPunch, August 23, 2022 — Events continue to unfold at a quickening pace. Facing an alarming escalation in tensions around the world, we asked Bruce Gagnon for his most current thoughts.

Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, and was a co-founder of the Global Network when it was created in 1992. He was an early member of the Anti-Defense Lobby in the 1970s challenging the U.S. space program. Between 1983–1998, he was the State Coordinator of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice and has worked on space issues for 31 years. Bruce has addressed audiences in England, Germany, Mexico, Canada, France, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Japan, Australia, Scotland, Wales, Greece, India, Brazil, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic, South Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Nepal and throughout the U.S., including numerous college campuses. Bruce is a Vietnam-era veteran and began his organizing career by working for the United Farm Workers Union in Florida organizing fruit pickers. He is currently an active member of Veterans for Peace.

We focus 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. We are looking for paradigm-shift ideas for improving the prospects for peace. His responses below of are exactly as he provided.

Here is what Bruce 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.

A. The banksters in London and Wall Street are the essential movers and shakers of US-UK-NATO foreign policy. The CIA is their primary arm of control. Add to them the burgeoning global military industrial complex and the political ‘mis-leaders’ they generously contribute to. The corporate controlled mainstream media are also accessories to the present day crimes. Together they add up to a formidable crew of what I call ‘pirates’ who are stealing the national treasures throughout the western capitalist world and using them to supress and colonize others across the Global South and here at home.

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?

A. During the reign of George W. Bush in Washington, at the time of the US ‘shock and awe’ attack in Iraq, I was watching C-SPAN one evening. They introduced then Naval War College instructor Thomas Barnett (author of a book called ‘The Pentagon’s New Map’) and they announced that in the audience were hundreds of top-level Pentagon officers and CIA bigwigs. During his talk Barnett told the assembled that due to globalization of the world economy every nation would have a specific role to fill. In the US he said we won’t make ‘consumer products’ anymore because it was cheaper to send those jobs overseas. Our role in the US, Barnett said, would be ‘security export’. Thus it should be no surprise that the #1 industrial export product of the US today is weapons. When weapons are your #1 industrial export product, what is your ‘global marketing strategy’ for that product line?

Barnett (introduced as Rumsfeld’s ‘strategy guy’) also told the leading brass that the Pentagon would be endlessly fighting to take control of the ‘non-integrating gap’ around the globe – those parts of the world that were not submitting to the authority of corporate globalization. He instructed the audience to go and teach these ‘new concepts’ to those under their authority if they hoped to get promoted within the system in the years ahead.

For more than a year after this Barnett presentation I witnessed him being squired around Washington speaking to Republican and Democrat audiences on C-SPAN. It was evident to me that his ‘new doctrine’ was a bi-partisan plan. Since that time it has become quite clear that this is true as we now see the Democrats leading the proxy war on Russia – using Ukraine as the hammer in this dangerous and provocative attempt to force regime change in Moscow. Pelosi’s recent ill-fated trip to Taiwan also indicates the plan to force regime change in Beijing.

Imagine that Washington and its NATO allies, who limped out of Afghanistan after 20 years of brutal occupation there, are now planning for war with Russia and China. The absurdity is beyond imagination. It reveals much about their psychopathology.

As long as this reality persists then we will move from one war to another. Arundhati Roy says, “Once weapons were manufactured to fight wars. Now wars are manufactured to sell weapons”. She is right on the money….

The bad actors are largely inside of the western capitalist nations whose whole priority is global domination and profit – a continuation of hundreds of years of US-European colonialism. The neocon-led bi-partisan Washington elite have no conscience.

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?

A. When they talk about ‘national interests’ they are actually talking about the interests of the banksters. When they talk about ‘freedom’ they are talking about their freedom to steal the national wealth from nations with resources and the people around the world. Washington claims that Russia wants to re-create the former Soviet Union and take control of Europe. In 2022 Russia is spending $66 billion on their military. It is a defensive military to protect their vast border regions. The US this year is spending $800 billion plus. When you add up the hidden military spending in the other pots of gold – like the nuclear weapons spending inside the Department of Energy budget – the US total is around $1.2 trillion this year. They are robbing us blind and we keep handing over our hard-earned tax dollars. Why?

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?

A. Reject the neo-con arrogance, hypocrisy, ignorance, and unnatural sense of entitlement. You’d think they’d get embarrassed. Dripping with deceit, they never stop lying to the people.

(CIA controls the keys to this run-away freight train. Democracy was drowned when the CIA assassinated JFK. Every president since then is ‘selected’ by the ruling oligarchs.)

Washington has destroyed any last thin-threads of international respect it had

following its recent pirate escapades, aimed at Russia and China.

It’s time to shut these fools (and their ‘international’ lap dogs) down…. before

it’s too late.

  • We need to convert the military industrial complex (the war machine) to build public mass transit systems, tidal power systems, solar, wind power and the like – all of which would create more jobs than weapons manufacturing does.
  • We need to ban corporate funding of elections. We need to open up a multi-party system so that more voices can be heard by the voters.
  • We need to end the massive poverty that exists (which will be worsening in the near future) by taxing the rich and corporations. Stop the massive corporate subsides – welfare for the rich.
  • We need to close down the more than 800 US military bases around the world and cut the Pentagon budget by at least 80%. We only need a defensive military that protects our borders.
  • Do all these things and we might have a chance if we don’t first perish from a red-hot nuclear war or climate crisis.
  • We don’t have time to fool around. Folks need to get off their arses and speak out NOW.

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 our next concrete steps as political activists in working toward a peaceful future?

A. During WW II Italy’s leader Benito Mussolini defined ‘fascism’ as the wedding of corporations and government. That is what we have in Washington and in most of the EU nations today. Your question is right on – those in power don’t give a damn what the public thinks. Mr. Big (as I call them) wishes to return us to feudalism – neo-feudalism. They want to control everything and they don’t mind killing as many of us as necessary to accomplish their evil designs. Sadly far too many people, including political activists, dare to talk about this reality. They fear what others might think of them. Too many in the public just want to go along to get along. My mother used to tell me all the time that, ‘You can’t beat city hall’. In other words resign yourself to your coming fate. I reject that notion.

So our first step out of this quagmire is to recognize and acknowledge the writing on the wall. We are in a fix, we are in big trouble and we’d better wise up before it is too late. The neo-con ruling class wants to thin the global population and they intend to use every available means to do so – such as war$, starvation, lack of access to good health care, bio-logical weapons and the like.

We’ve all got to ask ourselves what is the #1 job of a human being on earth today? Make money, have a fancy house, car or job? No, I’d say our job as humans is to protect the planet and the future generations. Nothing could be more important than that.

We must all work as hard and consistently as possible to shut down our corrupt government. When our government no longer represents ‘We the people’ then we have an obligation to revolt. Why are people so compliant? Don’t they care about their children and grand-kids future? Do they have a right to just give up? I don’t think so.

We also must reach across political barriers and seek common ground with those who have differing views. One well-tested strategy used by the oligarchs is divide-and-conquer. Those in control want the people to be at each other’s throats. They want us to hate one another. Republican and Democrat are false constructs.

We humans are all related – just as we are related to the things that fly, swim, and crawl, the plants, the air, and the mountains. We are all part of this earth.

We have lost our spiritual connections to life. We must recover that precious connection. Otherwise we will remain lost in space.

• • •

We are grateful to Bruce Gagnon for sharing his valuable and thought-provoking views. The interview was arranged by John Rachel, Director of the Peace Dividend Project. The Peace Dividend strategy is not a meme or a bumper sticker. It is an end-to-end methodology for challenging the political establishment and removing from power those compromised individuals who work against the interests of the great majority of U.S. citizens. The only hope for our hyper-militarized nation is each and every one of us having a decisive voice in determining the future we want for ourselves and our children. 

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